Canadians are already known for being heavy Internet users, spending more time on the web than almost any other country in the world. But soon, we may be able to add another distinction to our online record – we’re some of the most devoted Twitter users in the world, according to new research from eMarketer Inc., a digital marketing research firm.

This year, the number of monthly active Twitter users in Canada is slated to jump by 28.8 per cent. By the end of 2014, Canada will be at 20.8 per cent penetration in the market, or 5.6 million monthly active users across the country – making us second only to the U.K., which has 27.3 per cent penetration.

A monthly active user is defined as someone who logs into his or her Twitter account via any device, at least once a month, according to eMarketer. The firm makes its forecasts by looking at trends in the economy, technology, and population, as well as trends in consumer behaviours. Data comes from research firms, government agencies, media, and company reports.

The increase in Twitter users in Canada. (Image: eMarketer).
The increase in Twitter users in Canada. (Image: eMarketer).

And while we have a smaller population, as well as a smaller Twitter user base compared to the U.S., we’ll still see a proportionally bigger increase in the number of people using Twitter. The number of monthly active Twitter users in the U.S. is slated to grow by 11.6 per cent.

Beyond the U.S., the jump in the number of Canadian Twitter users beats out the worldwide average. By the end of 2014, Twitter’s total user base will increase by 24.4 per cent to hit about 227.5 million, eMarketer estimates, with a lot of that growth coming from developing markets. (However, Twitter itself estimates it has 255 million monthly active users, though eMarketer says its estimates only count individual users – not users who manage more than one account for personal or business use).

So why are Canadians getting more involved with Twitter? There are a number of reasons, says Paul Briggs, eMarketer’s Canadian marketing analyst.

For one thing, Canadian consumers tend to be very “digitally inclined” anyway, making it less of a leap for them to embrace social networks, Briggs says. Plus, as much of Canada’s population lives in urban areas, and much of that population is active on Twitter, that tends to skew the numbers.

Another major reason is that Canadians are going full speed ahead with their smartphone adoption – and that might be due to the Canadian government’s recent rulings that wireless carriers shorten their service contracts from three years to two, freeing consumers to get new phones every two years, Briggs says.

But beyond that, Twitter is now playing a bigger role in consumers’ pop culture consciousness – and marketers are paying attention, he adds.

“I think Twitter set up Canadian operations in Canada about a year ago, and it’s grown its operations significantly. It’s working with advertisers more deeply to use Twitter as an advertising vehicle,” he says. “So we’re seeing greater investment from Twitter in Canada, and that’s also having a positive impact on the awareness of what Twitter can be for consumers in this country.”

As an example, he points to the recent Twitter activity around the NBA playoff games pitting the Toronto Raptors against the Brooklyn Nets, with #WeTheNorth becoming a huge hashtag among the social network’s users.

The number of monthly active Twitter users in Canada is slated to grow as high as 8.7 million by 2018, eMarketer predicts.

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