Every year, comScore releases their “Digital Future In Focus” report to offer some insight into how Canadians spend their time on the Internet. The 2014 edition can be found here and I recommend it as required reading for anyone who wanted to better understand how Canadians behave in the digital space and what the wider trends say about where the future is headed.
Unfortunately, comScore is one of the few sources researching the online behaviour of Canadians. There is no equivalent in this country to the excellent Pew Research Center’s Internet And American Life Project, which dives deeply into the online habits of Americans, including many subjects that are of extreme relevance to those in the digital advocacy and online space.
For now, we have the annual comScore report. You can download or read the entire report here, but here are the key findings I pulled out of the report that I think politically minded individuals will find most interesting:
- Canadians remain some of the most highly engaged Internet users, spending 34.6 hours per month online, compared to the global average of 24.2 hours;
- Canadians are shifting away from desktops (down 17%) and moving towards accessing the Internet via mobile device
- Social Media sites account for more than 1 out of every 3 online display ads delivered in Canada
- Canadians continue to love online video, watching far more than their American counterparts
- General news is the top category for video consumption (38.5%), just behind streaming regular TV (38.4%)
- Smartphone penetration has gone up 13 points, from 62% to 75%
- Android phones are used my 44% of users, while iPads are most common for tablets (55%)(
Here are some takeaways from these stats for those in the digital advocacy space:
- Find them online: While political types still pour money into radio and TV, comScore once again shows increased growth in the amount of time Canadians spend on the Internet.
- Optimize for mobile: You online assets and content will be accessed increasing by mobile device. Those assets must be properly viewable on all devices, sizes and formats.
- Use video to tell the story: The preferred method of consuming content online (especially news and public affairs) is via video. Make sure your content has a video component wherever possible.
In any advocacy campaign, it is important to know not only who your audience is, but where to find them. The report form comScore offers some broad trends to start your search.