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6 Reasons Your Canadian Business Needs To Go Digital

09/15/2013 11:45 EDT | Updated 11/15/2013 05:12 EST

Canadians are plugged in more now than than ever before. From how long we use the Internet, to our level of website engagement, to our appetite for online video, Canada is on top of the world when it comes to everything online. In it's 2013 Canada Digital Future in Focus report, comScore tracked Canada's digital trends, discovering web use, online video, digital advertising, mobile, social media and e-commerce are defining the current Canadian digital landscape.

When it comes to digital media consumption, "we're seeing an extremely high sophistication amongst Canadian users," said Bryan Segal, comScore Canada. "When you look at engagement and usage on a worldwide basis, you see how integral the internet and digital media is in the life of the average Canadian." This is great news for marketers and advertisers "because people are interacting with the content and the platforms, so brands have a new avenue to attach their messaging to."

1. Canadians love the Internet

We Canadians love our Internet! With the average user spending 41 hours per month online, Canada ranks second across the globe, second to the U.S. at 43 hours on average. Canada leads as far as overall monthly web pages viewed and average monthly visits per visitor.

2. Our appetite for online video continues to increase

Online video continues to be of increasing importance to the Canadian digital media landscape. Canada ranks a near second to the U.K. for overall online video consumption, with the average Canadian Internet user watching 291 videos per month spanning 25 hours. These numbers are only going to increase as delivery and content options for long-form and premium video programming also increase.

3. Top brands are putting the digital ad market to work for their businesses

The digital ad market is also proving to be increasing in importance in Canada, with 724 billion display ad impressions in 2012, up 17 per cent year-over-year. Social media sites nab the largest share of impressions (27 per cent), followed by entertainment (17 per cent), portals (14 per cent), news/information (8 per cent), and directories/resources (5 per cent). The top five advertisers in 2012 in terms of total Canadian display ad impressions are: Netflix, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, General Motors and Clearly Contacts. The good news for businesses of all sizes is that you don't need a TV-sized budget to gain great traction when it comes to digital advertising.

4. Social Media isn't going away anytime soon

Social Media players continue to increase their visitor base and engagement levels, while Facebook maintains a strong lead in the category. ComScore notes several to keep watching throughout this year including Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, as all continue to experience strong visitor growth rates.

5. Consumers use their mobile phones for multiple uses

The quick adoption of internet-enabled devices is contributing to a more fragmented digital media landscape. The Mobile market grew by 10 per cent in 2012, adding approximately two-million customers to reach just over 22 million. Smartphone owns 62 per cent of the market, up from 45 per cent last year. Google's Android has 40 per cent of Canada's smartphone market, followed by Apple (35 per cent), Blackberry (20 per cent), Microsoft (2 per cent) and Symbian (2 per cent). The percentage of smartphone users watching videos on their mobiles has also increased from 37 per cent from 16 per cent, while search is the fastest-growing mobile content category (57 per cent in 2012 versus 48 per cent in 2011).Big leaps for social media on smartphones as well, with 56 per cent more users (8.3 million) accessing a social networking site or blog on their phone compared to the previous year. Among those, 58 per cent said they visit social media sites with their smartphone almost every day and 25 per cent said at least once a week.

An increasing number of Canadians are also accessing online banking through their smartphones, with 33 per cent of smartphone users in 2012 accessing their accounts on their mobile device.

6. Canadians love spending money online

$22.3 billion is what e-commerce spending reached in Canada in 2012, up 10 per cent versus the year prior, with the number of transactions increasing by 17 per cent. Visits to retail websites were up 9 per cent, with Amazon, Apple, Kijiji, Best Buy and Walmart topping the list of most popular retail websites.

What all of this means is that Canadians are highly active on the Internet compared to the rest of the world, and the numbers just keep increasing. There's massive potential for businesses to reach consumers where they are most engaged...which is online. "The new media landscape presents marketers with more opportunities to connect and engage with consumers than ever before," Segal says. "The growing number of digital platforms and continued adoption of mobile devices has brought to fruition an evolved consumer and more complex digital ecosystem. Advertisers, agencies and publishers alike must have a holistic understanding of how these puzzle pieces fit together if they are to prosper."

Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency.

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