When Engaging Canadian Consumers Online, Marketers Must Use the Right Tools

When Engaging Canadian Consumers Online, Marketers Must Use the Right Tools

Canadians, much like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, are busy adjusting their shopping and buying habits as new channels and technologies emerge. As they explore, they’re developing preferences about which products they prefer to buy and research online—preferences that will shape which types of online marketing outreach will resonate with them the most.

For respondents in a recent Nielsen/Interactive Advertising Bureau Canada study, much of that preference is driven by the cost of any given purchase. In fact, the findings showed some marked differences between online research and purchasing behavior for relatively low-cost CPG products versus products and services that come with higher price tags, such as those in the auto and financial arenas.

Study respondents said they visited branded company websites most frequently when making both new and repeat automotive and financial purchases. Twenty-two percent of new consumers and 16% of repeat consumers visited branded automotive and financial company websites to aid in their research and to make a purchase. Search engines were the second-most common online method that both new consumers (17%) and repeat consumers (11%) used. Interestingly, new (2%) and repeat consumers (2%) say geo-location marketing and retailer text messages are the least influential marketing tactics.

Not surprisingly, Canadian consumers currently do less research before making relatively inexpensive CPG purchases. Canadian consumers still rely most on search engines (9% for new purchases and 6% for repeat) and branded company websites (9% for new purchases and 8% for repeat) to get the information or the products they seek. Here, geo-location marketing is even less influential among both new (1%) and repeat consumers (1%).

When it comes to the bigger decisions like where to buy a car or a financial service or product, new (20%) and repeat (16%) Canadian consumers prefer to use the web to ask a professional for a recommendation. Online advice from friends and colleagues came in a close second, with 19% for new customers and 13% for repeat customers. Free samples and coupons seem to be the least influential, with just 3% among new customers and 2% among repeat customers.

What about Offline?

When it comes to offline CPG purchasing decision influencers, in-store flyers and circulars take the lead, with 43% among new customers and 41% among repeat customers. Unlike in the online realm, free samples are effective among Canadians, coming in second with 40% among new consumers and 37% among repeat customers. Corporate sponsorship entities seem to sway only 3% of both new and repeat customers.

If marketers want to reach Canadian consumers, it’s not enough to merely post content online. Marketers can improve the effectiveness of their efforts if they develop and implement strategies that align with consumer shopping habits and preferences.


The insights in this article were derived from the English-language 2014 IAB Canada/Nielsen Survey.