Finding Your Audience In A Changing Demographic

July 28th, 2022 | Darren McAlmont, Digital Marketing Specialist, Association of Canadian Advertisers

Image with target audience in the center.Marketers know how important targeting is, but as if the uncertainties of the past two and a half years and the uncertainties that still loom weren’t enough, marketers must now contend with changing demographics. The pandemic has not only disrupted our behaviour, but the audiences marketers used to target have also changed, and they will continue to undergo change in the coming years.

As marketers, we need to constantly stay abreast with who the population is so that we can make good decisions about the stories we want to tell, but more importantly, how we are going to reach the people we want to tell the stories to.

In a recent presentation to members of the Association of Canadian Advertisers, Rupen Seoni, Chief Revenue Officer at Environics Analytics, discussed some interesting trends that have occurred and are projected to occur in the Canadian population.

High Growth at Older Ages but Declines at Some Ages

Drawing on data collected from the 2021 census in Canada, we observe massive double-digit growth rates among the 60+ age groups, which is driven by aging Baby Boomers and increasing lifespans. On the other hand, the growth rate of the Gen X population or those between the ages of 45 and 55, dropped by over 10%. What does this mean? Well, if your marketing plans are set to target some of the younger seniors in the next 5-10 years, you must consider that there will be fewer of them in the years to come than there is now.

Geography Matters

Canada’s national average percentage of people over the age of 65 rests at 19%. However, the average varies from city to city, so in some places like Trois Rivières and Saguenay where the average for the 65+ demographic is around 25%, other places like Calgary and Edmonton are only 13.5%. This is crucial information for marketers to consider when thinking about the messages they will be sending out to this demographic, because the size of the population is different in geographic areas across the country.

Marketing to Transgender and Non-Binary

For the first time ever, Canada’s recent census attempted to capture the number of persons who identify as transgender or non-binary over 15 years old, and the national average is 0.33%. This number is likely under counted for many reasons, including those who may not have felt comfortable disclosing this information or the person who supplied the information on behalf of the household did not know the gender identity of all the people in the household. Either way, something important for marketers to consider is that nearly 1% of the population who identifies as transgender or non-binary falls in the 15-30 age group.

New to Canada

If your target audience are those new to Canada, you might be interested in learning about the five countries that take the top spots. These countries include: India (with over 30% of all new immigrants); China (7.5%); Philippines (~5%); Nigeria (4%), and France (3%). Ontario becomes home to 49% of new immigrants, while British Columbia and the Prairies welcome 34%, followed by Quebec with 12%, and Atlantic Canada with 5%. Other countries that round out the top 10 of new immigrants to Canada are: United States of America, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, and Republic of Korea.

So who is your audience and how can you better target them? Environics Analytics has a tool on their website that helps you to explore and learn more about the population in a geographic area. By simply inputting a postal code on their website, you can learn more about what lifestyle interests the population has, their incomes, or their media consumption habits.

Remember, your marketing plans should always invest time into researching and learning about your demographic because the more you learn about the trends in your demographic, the more you will be equipped to make smarter targeting decisions and executions against those trends.


Darren McAlmontDarren McAlmont, Digital Marketing Specialist, Association of Canadian Advertisers

Darren is an award-winning writer who focuses his work primarily on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. His writings have often trended on social media and have been picked up and shared by respected figures doing meaningful DE&I work.