publication date: May 15, 2012
author/source: Catherine Pearson
What's your neighbour doing on social media? Which donors
and advocates prefer using their mobile device to communicate with your
charity? What's the best channel to reach that demographic subgroup you'd like
As the use of social media and mobile technology explodes,
it's not surprising that Canadians' behaviour varies widely. Canadian
demographic research company Environics
has partnered with Delvinia
(creators of AskingCanadiansTM
) and five other leaders in digital media to flesh
out its understanding of consumers across multiple media.
EA's proprietary PRIZMC2
Canadians into 66 lifestyle types based on their lifestyles and values. Linking
that database to their partners' digital services helps EA define the behaviour
of online users by lifestyle segments. And they've discovered that reality
is different from many preconceived notions about social media usage.
For instance, there are striking differences between those
who produce social media content (writing blogs, tweeting, updating their status
on Facebook and uploading YouTube videos) and those who read, follow and watch.
Social media producers tend to be urban, ethnic and of
varied ages. They belong to clusters such as Rooms with a View (young, ethnic
singles in urban high-rises), Old World Style (multi-ethnic, middle-aged urban
families) and Electric Avenues (young, middle-class urban singles and couples).
They typically live in Canada's largest and most diverse cities, such as
Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. And they include not only young, hip urbanites,
but wealthy Chinese families and immigrants of all ages living in urban
Social media followers, though, are more likely to be an
older mix of families, empty nests and mature households in segments such as
Furs & Philanthropy (upscale, middle-aged and older families), Grey Pride
(lower-middle-class, suburban apartment-dwelling seniors) and Petites Banlieues
(working-class, Québec town couples and families).
What's surprising is that the content providers are not the
affluent, well-educated Canadians who usually embrace new technology and
personify the traditional power brokers. Those elite users tend to be older
suburbanites with established families who visit websites to keep abreast of
new trends and marketplace developments, but rarely participate in online
discussions. In the social media revolution, education and wealth no longer
confer power-user status.
Canadian connections through social media
It's also a myth that newcomers to Canada use social media
mostly for staying in touch with friends and family "back home." While social
media helps recent immigrants keep their international phone bills low, that's
only part of the story.
When EA analysts looked at the social media behaviour of
active clusters like Urban Spice and Newcomers Rising, they found strong
participation in LinkedIn and Foursquare, a web and mobile application that
allows users to connect with friends and update their locations. Such habits
show that newcomers are using social media not just to keep in touch with
relatives abroad, but to get ahead in their careers and become more
acculturated to their new homeland.
No landline, but you
can still reach them
Mobile users vary greatly as well. Some of the biggest users
of social media content belong to the same lifestyle types as mobile technology
fans. They're more likely to own an iPad, check their mobile phone constantly,
and willingly share mobile information with trusted retailers, especially in
exchange for a discount.
The PRIZM clusters most likely to have cancelled their
landlines are happy to receive marketing messages over smartphones. The
Delvinia survey shows these fully mobile consumers are more likely than average
Canadians to take a picture of a QR code with their smartphone and send it to a
company, or send text messages to a company in exchange for a coupon. And many
of these landline dropouts are volunteering information on their habits and
preferences over their mobile phones, giving new media-smart marketers a
treasure trove of data.
Delvinia analysts note that there has been a significant
increase in nearly every mobile behaviour category in the last year. "These
devices are not just responding to our behaviours, but changing our behaviour
and connecting us more deeply to one another in real time," says Delvinia CEO Adam Froman
. For marketers who
struggled to connect with their audiences through digital media, these new
tools are worth liking and tweeting about.
Catherine Pearson is
VP and practice leader in charge of the finance, insurance, travel and telco
sectors, at Environics Analytics. This material is excerpted from an article
about the work of Environics Analytics that first appeared in Direct Marketing
magazine. Used with permission.