Results from Two Recent Social Media Surveys: 6S Marketing and CNW Group/Leger Marketing

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Seems that social media surveys are all the rage these days. Two Canadian organizations have tried recently to find the current pulse of social media in Canada.

The first is 6S Marketing in Vancouver.  They wanted to investigate trends in Canadian social media usage. Their survey results reveal an overwhelming percentage of Canadians who have adopted social media for business and personal use and highlight the most popular forums and mediums for communication.

6S created and distributed the survey to a database of over 10,000 Canadians including members of the Vancouver Board of Trade, although 6S Marketing has not disclosed the specific numbers or demographics of who completed the surveys. The survey polled Canadians on the purpose of their social media use, as well as the popularity of the available sites and the effectiveness of using this medium.

Two weeks ago, they released the highlights from the 6S Marketing Social Media in Canada survey:

  • 70% of Canadians say they use social media.
  • Facebook is the most popular social networking site with 70% of people surveyed currently having an account.
  • 47% of Canadians use Twitter and the majority of users are 19 – 25 years of age.
  • Only 20% of people surveyed currently use MySpace.
  • YouTube & Flickr are the most popular social media sites with 38% & 29% (respectively) of people surveyed using the sites.
  • 42% of Canadians do not blog, while 58% do blog.
  • 74% of people who blog, do so for personal purposes, 57% blog for work and 35% blog for both.
  • 9% of people surveyed have hired an employee online and 22% have received a job offer online. 69% have done neither.
  • 61% of businesses said they track what people are saying about their brand online.

6S Marketing has also created a series of graphs based on the data that they are sharing under a Creative Commons license (so you'll have pretty pictures for your powerpoints).  For example, here's one that shows who manages social media accounts for the organization …

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The second social media survey was released just yesterday as a joint partnership between CNW Group and Leger Marketing.  Their "Social Media Reality Check" polled both Canadian consumers as well as Canadian PR practitioners looking for gaps and overlaps in PR practitioner perception and the consumer-reported reality.

More than 1,500 Canadian consumers were surveyed on issues ranging from how often they use online communications tools, to how social media has influenced their purchasing decisions. Over 600 PR Practitioners were asked how they thought consumer users would respond. In order to ensure the integrity of the research, only those consumers and PR practitioners who engage in social media were invited to participate.

Key Findings from the CNWGroup/Leger Marketing Social Media survey:

  • Social media is growing: 49% of consumer social media users and 62% of practitioners use social media at least once a day, consumer use grew by 48% year-over-year.
  • Social media is influencing purchase decision making: 61% of consumer social media users turn to social media when researching  purchases.
  • Social media is credible (to some of the audience): 31% of consumer social media users and 55% of practitioners agree that social media is more credible than advertising – a significant gap!
  • Social media for news and information is important: 63% of consumer social media users use social media to keep up-to-date on news and information; 40% are using it to engage with organizations in a dialogue.
  • Social media users are still loyal to the more popular tools: Facebook is the most popular social media space for consumer social media users (77%) followed by YouTube (65%) and MySpace (20%).
  • Social media has broadened its demographic:  42% of consumer social media users 45 years and older are likely to use online channels to research products, significantly more than younger users.
  • Social media has untapped opportunities for PR practitioners:  69% of PR practitioners feel they understand social media but could be using it more effectively; 70% of PR practitioners do not have a tool to monitor social media and only 29% know who their organization's key online influencers are.

CNW Group and Leger Marketing have published a summary of their results with some delightful charts.  For example, this one that illustrates the difference in credibility perception between consumers and practitioners (consumers are in orange and practitioners in grey).

Picture 1

They will be releasing the full results at a free webinar on April 29.

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7 thoughts on “Results from Two Recent Social Media Surveys: 6S Marketing and CNW Group/Leger Marketing

  1. Bob LeDrew

    I call bullshit on the 6s survey. Why? I’m gonna quote some of their findings:
    “* Facebook is the most popular social networking site with 70% of people surveyed currently having an account.”
    In December of 08, Maggie Fox posted stats from Facebook saying 32% of Canada has a FB account (http://socialmediagroup.com/2008/12/29/december-facebook-statistics-canada/)
    * 47% of Canadians use Twitter and the majority of users are 19 – 25 years of age.
    16.75 million Canadian twitterers? And more than half between 19-25? No. Way.
    “* 42% of Canadians do not blog, while 58% do blog.
    * 74% of people who blog, do so for personal purposes, 57% blog for work and 35% blog for both.”
    20 million Canadian blogs. Um-hm. Universal McCann published data in 2008 that said there were 26.4 million in the US, and 184 million worldwide. So one of every 7 bloggers is Canadian? Don’t think so.
    “* 61% of businesses said they track what people are saying about their brand online.”
    They might say that, but that sounds like CRAP to me.

  2. James Koole

    I’m with Bob – this sounds like total BS. 58% of Canadians blog? 47% of Canadians on Twitter? I’d have a hard time believing that 47% of Canadians even know what Twitter is.

  3. Bob LeDrew

    Not to beat the 61% of businesses tracking online rep dead horse, but thanks to the twitterverse I got pointed to a story about a Marketing Sherpa report that says “25 percent of companies polled said they don’t monitor social media commentary at all. 31 percent monitor, but don’t respond.” Story doesn’t talk about the other 44%.

  4. Kate Trgovac

    Thanks Bob and James for your comments!
    I think there is a real and definite risk in using the medium to promote a survey about the medium. Often when we do things online (email, websites, etc), we’re already speaking to a rarefied audience – then to ask about cutting edge technologies in that medium – seems that you’re always going to skew the results.
    It would be like if Shaw (my cable provider) sent me a message on my PVR inbox asking if I use a PVR.
    I’m a bit more confident in the CNW survey mainly because I find the distinction between consumers and practitioners to be very useful and demonstrates to me that they are thinking ahead about how the medium affects the results.

  5. John Blown

    Hi Bob, James,
    Thank you for your comments.
    I agree that the polling was not a random sampling of the population.
    We used a variety of methods to encourage people to fill out the form. We felt that many people who are interested in Social Media would be more likely to fill out the survey as well.
    So we will not deny there were some challenges with getting a random sample of respondents.
    We provided the results of the survey and the number we received, so we are not trying to lead anyone astray, however, we should probably discuss the limits of the survey in more detail.
    Unfortunately we do not have a team of people available to phone and survey people, and hence had to use the Internet to poll people. As you mentioned this has certain limitations, but still provides some interesting data.
    We were trying not to promote the survey too much through social media sources as this would skew the results even further.
    In the future we will review our strategy, but i don’t forsee we will be able to get a true random sample like Ipsos Reid or other large stat companies, as we just don’t have the budget for it. We will try our best at it, and try to get a more representative sample in the future.
    Thanks again for your comments.
    John

  6. maggiefox

    Interesting discussion – and John, it seems that the issue is your language. Extrapolating that there are 20 million blogs or that the numbers apply to all Canadian based on a very limited number of self-selected survey respondents is just bad math. However, qualifying everything with the line “…of survey respondents” would have been fine, IMHO.

  7. Sam

    Embarrassingly bad effort that shouldn’t have been reported. These dubious methodologies and “results” weaken overall confidence in surveys.
    The numbers provided by 6S Marketing were clearly fantastical extrapolations based on surveys of the “heavily aware” (47% of Canadians use Twitter? 58% of Canadians blog? Hahahahah. Please.), so why were the numbers not at least questioned by the reporter before being posted as is?
    C’mon, don’t be a shill. Show some journalistic rigor and help the industry weed out quackery like this.
    Reports like these are exactly why client-side marketers can so easily dismiss/disbelieve agency efforts to promote social media spend.
    Tsk tsk.

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