Comscore released Canada Digital Future in Focus 2013 a few weeks ago (other country-specific reports including for the U.S. and U.K.¬†are available). This report is another in a growing list of wake-up calls on the trend toward using mobile for search, web browsing, online services and mobile payments. That information coupled with other research suggest public affairs practitioners and campaign organizers (political, advocacy, etc…) need to think more seriously about the way they bake online and mobile into their activities for communication, outreach, engagement and conversion.

The report features a number of key points I feel have significance to public affairs.

The following highlights about Canadian online activity suggest there are ample opportunities for government, politicians, companies, organizations and campaigns to reach audiences and become part of the considered opinion. These are consistent with findings in Fleishman-Hillard’s 2010 Digital Influence Index which showed Canadians rely heavily on the Internet for research into current affairs and politics, more-so (at the time) than travel, entertainment and finance.

  • Leading the globe in average website visits (101) and page views (3,731) each month
  • Second in the globe for average hours spent online (41.3) per visitor each month
  • Second in the globe for average number of videos viewed (291) and hours per viewer (24.8) each month
  • Most active age group is 35-54
  • Evenly split between genders for consumer activities. My research shows public affairs and political participation skews male (typically 70% give-or-take)

On Canadian mobile habits, the report shows:

  • Smartphone use is up
  • Android phones lead with 40% of the market; iPhones sit at 35%. RIM, Microsoft and Symbian share 24%.
  • Video watching is up 21% over last year
  • Blog reading and social media activity is up 56% over last year

The increase in blog reading is great news for organizations (and individuals) who are effective at communicating in a human tone with readers. This suggests there are opportunities to present information for considered opinions. There’s also an argument to be made for video content which is well produced for digital eye contact. I don’t mean slick production. I mean meaningful production.

Comscore also notes Canadian social media use is up 3% over last year. Other notes on the Canadian social media trends:

  • Canadians prefer Facebook
  • Twitter has a slight edge over LinkedIn and Tumblr
  • Pinterest is gaining traction

Comscore’s 2013 Mobile Future in Focus report expands on the growing role (internationally) of mobile in c0mmunication, engagement and conversion. Perhaps I’ll expand on that in a future post.