M2 Universal releases social media survey

What's touted as the most detailed study yet of the social media revolution reveals that Canadians are in the forefront of a phenomenon that's reached sufficient critical mass to challenge some traditional media.

Social media is becoming a more important part of media consumption for Internet users than some traditional media channels, according to a survey released yesterday by M2 Universal.

‘Video clips, blogs, podcasts, social networks and RSS are now all essential components of the online media diet,’ the Toronto-based media agency states, after analyzing the results of a survey of 1,500 Canadians. It was part of Universal McCann’s global social media survey, which was conducted with 17,000 respondents in 29 countries.

Especially in Canada, a key driver for the growth of social media has been the rise of social networks. Specifically:

• 59% of online Canadians have created profiles on social networks, which matches with the global average

• 52% have uploaded photos onto their social network profiles

• 38% have installed a widget or applications

• 20% have shared their videos

• Facebook is the largest social network in Canada with 54% weekly reach

But, while Canadians are on par with the global average for social networking activity, the survey says we lag behind the rest of the world in our blogging activity. While global readership of blogs is 73%, it’s only 65% among Canadian Internet users.

Just 23% of us have started our own blogs, compared to 35% globally. Most Canadian bloggers keep online diaries, blog about family and friends and discuss their favourite music. And we’re more than twice as likely to be discussing online games as our global counterparts.

Another key finding of the survey is that watching video online now rivals television viewing in terms of reach. In Canada:

• 78% of Internet users have watched video clips online

• 27% have uploaded videos to a video-sharing website

• 42% have uploaded photos to a photo-sharing website

• 29% have downloaded a podcast

• 18% have subscribed to an RSS feed

‘Social media has become a mass medium for many Internet users, and Canadians are part of the global growth’, says M2 Universal VP/director Peter Vaz. ‘There is enormous opportunity to connect with consumers using social media networks. With every wave of research, our Social Media Tracker is noting greater growth for blogging, video clips and social networks.’