Digital Influence Index identifies Canadians as social media savvy but cautious about information found online
Study by Fleishman-Hillard Study
Consumers across the globe are embracing the Internet as a primary source of information, but Canadians are unique in their use of digital and social media. The 2010 Digital Influence Index, released in Canada by Fleishman-Hillard in conjunction with Harris Interactive, reveals that Canadians have high online engagement but a lower level of trust in the Internet.
The study also measures several key aspects of consumers' use of the Internet, from media consumption patterns, to the degree of adoption of various digital behaviours, to involvement in social networking. Now in its second year, the Index has expanded to include 48 per cent of the global online population, spanning the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Canada.
"Canadian consumers are comfortable yet cautious when it comes to using the Internet," said David Bradfield, senior partner and global chair of Fleishman-Hillard's digital practice. "We lead the world in social networking and call the Internet our most influential source of information. There's a gap though. While consumers migrate online, marketers aren't making the move to digital fast enough. They need to realign their marketing and communication programs or risk irrelevance in the consumers' mind."
The Digital Influence Index reveals the following key insights that set Canadian consumers apart from the rest of the world:
- Internet Most Influential Medium: The Internet is the most important and influential form of media consumed by Canadians. Compared to the 37 per cent of Canadian consumers who say that newspapers are important to their lives, 52 per cent say that the Internet is most important.
- Canadians are Sociable: Sixty-nine per cent of Canadian consumers have a Facebook account, compared with the 47 per cent average across the seven countries. Though Canadians embrace social media, they are cautious about its use and how much they reveal about themselves.
- Canadians Seek Accuracy: In Canada, consumers are more likely to identify and follow a couple of trustworthy sources for the most accurate information on the Internet.
- Cautiously Trusting: Canadians are most likely to seek advice from others when making a decision and value conversations with friends, families and co-workers when it comes to decision-making.
- Twitter Know-how: Consumers in Canada are the most knowledgeable of microblogs but have low levels of trust in companies that microblog.
- Pay to Play Doesn't Pay-off: Consumers call into question the truthfulness of an article written by a blogger if the blogger was given a free sample or was paid by a company.
- Adopting Mobile Behaviours: Canada has a relatively low level of adopting many mobile digital behaviours compared with other mature markets (U.S., U.K, France, Germany and Japan).
- Where to From Here: Although the Internet is already considered an influential medium, only 24 per cent of Canadians believe that it will have a greater influence on their decisions in the next two years.
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from some of the sector experts at Fleishman-Hillard Canada.About the Digital Influence Index
The Digital Influence Index is a joint venture between Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive. The project was designed and led by Fleishman-Hillard's digital research group, a team within the agency's network focused on providing research that supports the digital transformation of communications. Analysis and insight development was conducted in partnership with Harris Interactive.
The fieldwork for this study was also conducted by Harris Interactive through a comprehensive, 15-minute online survey among a representative sample of 4,243 Internet users in China, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
This work took place between December 2009 and January 2010. Respondents to the survey were recruited from the various panels managed by Harris Interactive across the markets surveyed.
The data was weighted to online population targets, including those based on age, gender, education, region and Internet usage. Further weighting was applied to the analysis of the combined results to reflect the online population sizes in each country.
The Digital Influence Index was constructed by factoring in both consumption of a medium and the importance consumers attach to that consumption. Respondents were allowed to give various media a score out of 100 for the amount of time they spend on them and then rate how important this time is to their decisions. Consumption and importance were each scored out of 100 to produce a percentage score for each and a total score out of 200. This latter score is halved to produce a combined percentage score that sums up the influence of the medium.About Fleishman-Hillard
Fleishman-Hillard Inc., one of the world's leading strategic communications firms, has built its reputation on creating integrated solutions that deliver what its clients value most: meaningful, positive and measurable impact on the performance of their organizations. The firm is widely recognized for excellent client service and a strong company culture founded on teamwork, integrity and personal commitment. Based in St. Louis, the firm operates throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America through its 80 owned offices. For more information, visit the Fleishman-Hillard website at www.fleishmanhillard.com
.About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com