Posts Tagged ‘research’

"Comparing," by Here's Kate on Flickr

In my post on Monday, I wondered at this data point from Forrester’s Social Technographics research for Canada:

The study also found that 79% of Canadians take part in social media at least once a month, whether they’re checking Facebook, uploading a video to YouTube or posting ratings and comments on a blog.

My wondering:

Actually I’m not sure how meaningful it is to say that almost 80% “take part in social media,” since these days, anyone online is reading blog content — whether they realize it or not — and practically everyone online watches video from YouTube. But anyhow.

And cleaning up my email today, I was reminded of that recent Ipsos study which found that 82% of Canadians have Internet access at home. (I’d also forgotten that I had blogged about it here.)

Apples and oranges maybe, but I can’t help but be struck by the fact that 8 in 10 Canadians have some form of regular internet access and also participate in social media.


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New study from Ipsos pegs home Internet access among Canadians at 82%, a 6% increase from the second quarter of 2008. Frankly I am surprised that it is that low, given the importance of being able to get online. The digital divide lives. I wonder how this compares internationally?

Anyhow, here’s an interesting tidbit on the ways we use to access the Internet:

Dial-up access is in the last stages of use as only 8% of Internet-enabled Canadians access the Internet through this method, while about eight in ten are using some form of high speed access. Interestingly, there has also been a rise in the last 18 months of an ‘other’ category – widely suspected to be Mobile Broadband Sticks, Netbooks and Smartphone users.

via Internet Access in Canada Reaches All Time High.

So if dial-up is at 8% and broadband use at about 80%, this means that access via smartphone/netbook/Internet stick must be over 10%. In Canada, it looks like mobile internet access has surpassed dial-up.

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Phew, back from vacation and re-acquainting myself with my office. Came across this as I was tidying up some papers.

It’s a slide from a presentation that I attended back in June. Phoenix SPI was summarizing research it has done for the Government of Canada on opportunities and challenges around Web 2.0.

Slide from presentation by Phoenix SPI

Where Do We Go From Here?

So basically, think first before charging into web 2.0. Ask some basic questions – does it make sense to invest in this? will it lead to better results?

Because that last bullet is a kicker — “web 2.0 should supplement, not replace traditional communications and service delivery channels.” At this point, using web 2.0 means creating more work for ourselves.

For those of you with GCpedia access, the full presentation and report can be had here:


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Last August, I posted on the growth of the Internet as a key source for news, based on research being undertaken by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in the United States.

This morning, I was pointed to updated research from Pew, released just before Xmas (hat tip eMarketer).

Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

This graph vividly demonstrates the dramatic growth of Internet news. That jump from ’07 to ’08 is really stunning.

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I’ve been looking at why people bother to visit government websites.

Interestingly, in the case of the federal government in Canada at least, one of the main reasons they visit is to obtain publications. This really appeals to the publisher in me — I used to manage publishing projects – the paper kind, and I still regularly advise on publishing and production. It also serves as a good reminder that web comms doesn’t exist in isolation. Yes there is life outside the interwebs — these days I sometimes forget…

I’ve mentioned this particular research before, and I’m turning to it again. It was a sweeping study released last spring that looks at Canadians’ internet use and expectactions for the GoC’s web presence. Here’s the bit from the phone survey that shows what users tend to do on GoC websites.

Going online to order a publication is #2 in this list

24% of respondents visited GC sites to obtain information, a form or a publication (click image to see full size)

OK, so about 1/4 of telephone respondents recalled going to GoC sites to get a form or a publication – this was more common even than looking for government jobs.

I would have liked to see a bit more fine grained info here – “obtained a publication” could just as easily refer to downloading a PDF as it could to ordering a print copy. But the mechanics of posting PDFs for download is totally different than what’s involved with maintaining an order fulfillment webapp (not to mention bricks and mortar part – warehousing print pubs and doing the pick-and-pack and all that).

But in the online portion of the survey, even more respondents – like 3/4 of them – went to GoC sites to get forms or publications. I imagine that the online respondents would be more web savvy and interested in using their computers to get government info and transact their business with us, so it’s kinda cute that lots of them were interested in old-school content formats like pubs… or maybe that just points to how outmoded government thinking is when it comes to creating and distributing content.


74% of respondents visited GC sites to obtain information, a form or a publication (click image to see full size)

Anyhow, what all this says to me is that government websites must make it easy for visitors to get at publications and forms. I might be biased, but I’d argue for making a “publications” link very prominent in your site’s nav template. And then make your catalogue easy to work with — will blog more about this next week.

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Spotted in Sunday’s G&M:

Maggie Fox on how hard it is to do market research on Facebook:

“I don’t want to know who, I just want to know what. I don’t need to take it down to the level of what Joe Blow says, I want to know what people are talking about generally. It is almost impossible to extract data from Facebook around who’s talking about what and whether it’s a favourable or negative conversation without doing it manually,” Ms. Fox said.

The marketer in me feels her pain. The research is painstaking! Who’s got the time or the money to have some poor sod sit there flipping through FB profiles and pages…. But the Facebook user in me figgers that “the trouble with Facebook” from a marketing point of view is probably a good thing.

The problem is that there are others less reputable than the Social Media Group who do in fact want to take it down to the level of what Joe Blow Peter Smith says, where he clicks, who his contacts are and what data he’s entering online. Phishing, spamming and all that naughty stuff. Let’s build a widget that secretly scapes all my profile data right?

If it weren’t for these types (and some of them work for companies that I buy crap from, I can just feel it when I go through my inbox or snail mail), I’d be all cool with letting Maggie & her gang collect more data.

In a perfect world, right?

Aside: that quote seems a bit slipshod the more I look at it — at first she says I don’t want to know who, but then she mentions that she would in fact like to know who‘s talking about what — hoping she was misquoted …

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Well doesn’t that sound like a statement of the obvious.

Note to self: keep this in yer back pocket for responding to people who don’t believe that the Internet is an important source for news.

Pew Research Center

Source: Pew Research Center's Biennial News Consumption Survey

Lookit that – online news, at 37%, is running pretty much in the same league as the traditional sources, whether cable TV, radio or the paper. And the growth trend for online news consumption is quite stunning – the 2010 edition of this survey will be quite interesting I think.

I know, I know – These numbers are American. But my bet is that Canadian numbers would be similar.

There’s tons more gory detail in the full report.

(h/t iketches)

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