The State of Social Media in Canada 2020: A New Survey Report From The Social Media Lab

A Canada-wide survey on social media adoption and use in Canada

TORONTO — In the era of COVID-19, social media has often been touted as an antidote to physical distancing. With so many Canadians stuck at home due to the pandemic, a new report gives an indication of just where they may be spending their time on social media.

The ‘State of Social Media in Canada 2020’ released today by the Social Media Lab, a research lab at Ted Rogers School of Management, provides a snapshot of social media adoption and use in Canada. The report, authored by the Lab’s co-directors Anatoliy Gruzd and Philip Mai, is an update to a survey released by the Social Media Lab in 2018.

“The survey shows an overwhelming majority of online Canadian adults (94%) have an account on at least one social media platform,” said Gruzd. “This makes it critical for policy makers and others to know what social media platforms Canadians are using to connect.”

The report includes new data about adoption and the use of Facebook, Instagram and other top Western-owned social media platforms. New for 2020, the report includes information about Canadian use of Chinese-owned social media platforms, messaging apps and blockchain-based social media sites. 

“We’ve seen social media habits change in recent years and new platforms have emerged,” said Mai. “The aim of the report is to address the lack of public data on social media adoption and use in Canada.”

The survey was conducted between April 9–17, 2020 and is based on a census-balanced online survey of 1,500 online Canadian adults (18+). 

Highlights from “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020” include:

  1. YouTube (+16%), Instagram (+8%), and LinkedIn (+7%) had the largest increase in the number of daily users, relatively to our data from 2017.
  2. Across all social media platforms, adoption tended to drop off with age. 
  3. Young people aged 18–24 are the largest adopters of social media (except for Facebook and LinkedIn).
  4. Social media is more popular with women than it is with men. Women have adopted Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok and messaging apps in higher proportions than men.
  5. Men have adopted YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr in higher proportions than women.
  6. Canadians in the highest household income group ($80,000+) are more likely to use LinkedIn, than those who earn less.
  7. While the number of online Canadians on TikTok is relatively small (15%), those who do use the platform visit it regularly (63% daily).
  8. Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in Canada; 83% of online Canadian adults report having a Facebook account, followed by messaging apps (65%), YouTube (64%) and Instagram (51%).
  9. Facebook also has the highest percentage of daily users (77%), followed by messaging apps (69%) and Instagram (69%).
  10. However, all is not rosy for Facebook. Facebook’s share of users aged 18-24, a key demographic for numerous markets, dropped 11% (from 95% in 2017 to 84% in 2020). But Facebook, as a company, made up for the loss with a 22% increase in Instagram users aged 18-24 (from 67% in 2017 to 89% in 2020).

The report’s authors are available for media interviews to discuss the findings and implications from this new report.

About the Social Media Lab

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Social Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory at Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University. The lab studies how social media is changing the way people and organizations communicate, share information, conduct business and form communities online, and how these changes impact society. The lab’s research seeks to advance the public’s understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of social media adoption.