How much do Canadians really ‘like’ social media, anyway? When it comes to ads… not very much

Yahoo Canada recently released a study detailing how consumers are influenced and make purchasing decisions in a world filled with social media and multiple online and offline communication channels.

Highlighted statistics:

• Advertising is the number one source for product discovery. For 43 percent of Canadians, advertising is how they first learn about a product or brand.

• The Internet is the primary source for information: 4 out of 5 consumers go online for more information about a product or brand. For more than half, the Internet is the first place they look.

• 59 percent of Canadians visit and trust a brand’s website for information, compared to 14 percent who visit its Facebook page, and 5 percent who use its Twitter page for the same purpose.

• Among Canadian shoppers, 39 percent view TV and print advertising as informative, 32 percent view online display ads as supplying valuable information, and 24 percent of consumers view social network ads as informative.

• In the last three months, two-thirds of Canadians sought out additional information after seeing an advertisement.

For brands, advertisers, and marketers, the results “provide compelling insights and recommendations on how to effectively engage with consumers in a digital world.” Based on the findings, “advertising’s greatest value stems from the authority of the channel on which it appears and the creative voice through which it speaks.”

For consumers, advertisements that “strategically and creatively align with the respected and trusted channels” are viewed as the most informative and authoritative. Consumers base their purchasing decisions on advertising and content found on trusted and well-respected sources, such as official company websites—but rank advice and recommendations from friends as the most trustworthy source. Social media pages and blogs are less influential forums.

“Today’s consumers have instant access to information and are more knowledgeable and empowered than ever before, making it impossible to tell a compelling story with a 2.5cm x 2.5cm thumbnail advertisement,” said Paula Presley, executive director of sales for Yahoo Canada.  “As the premier digital media company, only Yahoo! is able to deliver creative and innovative solutions that are grounded in science, art, and scale. Developing engaging and contextual campaigns across mobile, video, social, and local enables a brand to increase engagement and effectively reach its consumer.”

The study reinforces that brands should forego the one-size-fits-all approach, and instead look to work hand-in-hand with partners on innovative and creative solutions that engage audiences. The study highlights that the information and authority delivered through a brand’s website cannot be replaced with only social channels .