Facebook Inc. is digging deeper than ever before into its Canadian user data to sell itself as a premiere advertising venue for marketers in this country.

With its user base in Canada topping 21 million people – about 60 per cent of our total adult population – Facebook has succeeded in becoming the most popular social media site in the nation.

According to one of Facebook’s top Canadian executives, however, “what we haven’t done a good job of is sharing our information about consumer behaviour with marketers.”

Josh Bloom made that declaration during his presentation at ICA’s FFWD Advertising and Marketing conference in Toronto. Eight years ago he was the first employee Facebook ever hired in Canada; today he’s the vertical strategy lead for retail at Facebook Canada.

Facebook Canada’s Josh Bloom presenting at FFWD Toronto. (Photo: FFWD)

Bloom broke down the Canadian results from Facebook IQ, an eight-nation study of how people – especially parents and millennials – use Facebook and its sister site, Instagram. Here, five of the key data points, plus Bloom’s advice on how Canadian marketers can use the insights to their advantage.

1. ‘Mommy marketing’ is all grown up.

Remember about 10 years ago when it was all about moms? Suddenly there were mom bloggers everywhere and TV shows like In The Motherhood and The Mom Show and Crash Test Mommy. Marketers woke up to the fact that moms comprise a massive consumer group that buys more than just laundry detergent.

Based on Facebook’s study, that approach won’t cut it anymore. That’s because “dads are taking more active roles in parenting” and other family responsibilities, Bloom said. Dads who use Facebook say they contribute to 69 per cent of all household duties. So aiming your marketing mostly at Mom means companies are missing a huge opportunity.

2. ‘Fakebook’ marketing doesn’t work.

We’ve all been barraged by status updates from parents constantly gushing on Facebook about how awesome it is to have kids. But Facebook’s data show the reality of parenting is a bit darker – and that parents actually respond better to marketing that doesn’t present a fake ideal of family life.

For example, Facebook data indicates moms are more likely than dads to post about the negative aspects of parenthood like tiredness, health concerns or getting up super early. What’s the takeaway for marketers?

“Not everything is shiny. So don’t be afraid to address this. Be real. Be empathetic. Help provide support,” Bloom suggested. “Try to offer things that are valuable. Tips and tricks go a long way to (helping) solve particular, relevant parenting challenges.”

3. Not all millennials are the same.

Facebook researchers broke millennials down into two main groups: those they dubbed “young millennials” aged 15 to 24 and so-called “mature millennials” aged 25 to 34.

After poring over Instagram data such as photo contents, hashtags and captions, the study concluded that mature millennials on the site are “looking for something to inspire them,” Bloom said. Young millennials, on the other hand, “just want to be entertained” on Instagram, he said.

Men like to share travel content on Instagram like this selfie by globetrotting photojournalist Max Avdeev.  (Photo: Instagram corporate)

4. Men and women really are #different.

Continuing with insights from Instagram, Bloom said female users favour hashtags featuring “more human elements” like #bestfriend. Male Instagram users tend to use hashtags about traveling somewhere or showing pride in their own city, like #Toronto.

Catering to those findings can help advertisers reach their targets more effectively, Bloom said. Case in point: when Heineken invited Canadian beer drinkers (80 per cent of whom are male) to post Instagram photos showing why they love their cities, it drove a 38 point lift in ad recall for the campaign.

5. Small mobile screens have big impact.

Research done for the Facebook study by SalesBrain found that viewers who watched video content on smartphones retained 82 per cent more information than those who consumed video on a TV.

Aside from retention, mobile makes sense for marketing because that’s where everyone is consuming and posting content, Bloom said. He noted that 56 per cent of parents have visited Facebook on their mobile device by 7 a.m., parents spend 1.3 times more time on Facebook mobile than non-parents and Canadians overall will spend almost 2.5 hours per day on mobile devices in 2016.

“Mobile is the centre of discovery today, so build your creative (campaigns) with mobile in mind,” Bloom advised.

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