Insights on social media in B.C.

The social media giant is still dominant: the majority of B.C. adults visit Facebook at least once a week.

A recent Insights West and 6S Marketing online poll surveyed 838 BC adults regarding their social media use and found that Facebook still leads the social media landscape by a significant margin.

Two-thirds of British Columbians (67 per cent) use Facebook at least once per week, and half (50 per cent) use it daily compared to only a fraction of that who use Twitter (13 per cent), Instagram (five per cent), Pinterest (four per cent) or LinkedIn (three per cent) on a daily basis.

However, despite Facebook’s dominance, other social networking sites are increasing in popularity. Nearly everyone has heard of Facebook (98 per cent) and Twitter (91 per cent), three-quarters have heard of LinkedIn (73 per cent) and over three-in-five are aware of Pinterest (64 per cent) and Instagram (61 per cent).

Awareness of photo sharing sites, Pinterest and Instagram, is significantly higher among younger British Columbians aged 18 to 40—over three-quarters of this group have heard of Pinterest (77 per cent) and Instagram (77 per cent), compared to only about half of those aged 40 and older (54 per cent Pinterest and 48 per cent Instagram). Women (70 per cent) are also significantly more likely to have heard of Pinterest than men are (59 per cent).

When it comes to social networking sites other than Facebook, Twitter is British Columbia’s second most-used social network. Fresh from celebrating its seven-year anniversary, Twitter receives weekly visits from one-fifth (21 per cent) of British Columbians, and daily visits from 13 per cent.

Half as many visit Pinterest (11 per cent), LinkedIn (nine per cent) and Instagram (nine per cent) at least weekly and fewer than five per cent use each of these daily.

With the exception of LinkedIn, use of all social networking sites is higher among the younger generation (18 to 29 year olds).

While Facebook is still the most popular social networking site among those aged 18 to 29 (88 per cent at least weekly, 76 per cent daily), this group is also experimenting with other social networks. The majority (60 per cent) have used Twitter, and over one-third (36 per cent) use it at least weekly.

Two-in-five have used Pinterest (41 per cent) and Instagram (37 per cent), with one-in-five using these sites at least weekly (17 per cent Pinterest and 22 per cent Instagram). Three-in-10 (30 per cent) have used Tumblr, with 10 per cent using it at least weekly.

“Facebook’s dominance continues unabated among British Columbian’s—especially those under the age of 30,” said Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “Although other social networking sites are gaining in popularity, they have a long way to go to compete with the Facebook powerhouse.”

Some reports have suggested that Facebook has peaked, or is in decline — but these results suggest otherwise. While the majority spend the same amount of time using Facebook as they did six months ago (54 per cent), a larger number are spending more time (24 per cent) compared to those spending less time (21 per cent).

Even among the younger generation (18-39 years of age), the same applies — only slightly fewer are using Facebook more (25 per cent) than are using Facebook less (28 per cent).

In fact, Facebook is the only social media platform where British Columbians are reporting positive momentum. More people report spending less time (18 per cent) on Twitter in the past six months than those who report more time (13 per cent).

“While people once thought social media was a trend, these statistics confirm it’s here to stay,” says 
Attitudes towards all social networking sites confirm usage trends — there is still a ton of positive sentiment around all social networking activities. About half (53 per cent) agree that “Facebook is the best way to communicate with others online” and that “I wouldn’t keep up with many of my acquaintances if it wasn’t for social networking sites” (57 per cent) and that they would feel “out of touch if they didn’t use social networking sites regularly” (43 per cent).

These attitudes are most prevalent among those under the age of 30, with agreement levels consistently 20 points higher or so among this demographic for each statement.

While some of those polled agree that Facebook has lost its edge among younger people, the vast majority disagree. Although most disagree that “Facebook is not cool anymore,” there is a large minority who agree with this (32 per cent), yet this number is consistent among those who are under the age of 30 (32 per cent).

Conversely, most disagree that “Facebook is for older people now” (67 per cent disagree, only 19 per cent agree), and this number does not vary by age.

6S is a Vancouver- and Toronto-based digital marketing firm. The column was submitted.


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