Photo Credit: Oliver Thomas Klein

9 Years Ago Social Media Marketing Barely Existed

Can you imagine a world with no Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook? That was the ghastly (digital marketing) world we lived in when we first opened Cucumber Marketing. Back in 2008 just under $1.6 billion was spent on online advertising (GroupM, 2009), now, in 2017, Canada is forecast to spend over $6 billion on online advertising (IAB, 2017). What a difference! Considering many of our favourite social media sites didn’t even exist 9 years ago, it is safe to say not much of a company’s marketing budget was spent on social media back then.

So what were people spending their marketing budget on 9 years ago?

Who isn’t guilty of checking their social media accounts several times a day? When we visited the Design and Content Conference in Vancouver this July, we heard that the majority of under 35s get their news from social media. Before social media, traditional news sources were much more widely used by marketers. We don’t just mean in the form or print ads, PR was, and still can be, a vital part of any marketing campaign. Creating a news-worthy press release to send to local and national press was a low-budget way of getting highly valuable space in print publications and sometimes also on radio and television.

What social media changes have we seen over the last 9 years?

One huge change is that most marketing agencies and large marketing departments now have an employee or whole team dedicated to just social media marketing. More specifically there are many new functionalities we have seen over the past 9 years. Here are what we believe to be some of the most impactful social media changes over the last 9 years.


Hootsuite, like Cucumber Marketing, was founded in 2008 in Vancouver. Over the years more and more marketing departments and agencies have began using this platform. If you haven’t checked out Hootsuite yet, it is a tool that allows you to schedule social media posts across multiple social media platforms at once.


Over 70% of adults in Canada now use Facebook. That is a statement not true of any other social media site, or potentially any other media platform (bar Google of course). Whoever you are looking to target, Facebook will be a way of reaching them. 9 years ago, Facebook was doing well but had nowhere near the number of users it does now. Facebook’s fasting growing demographic is the over 55s. 9 years ago, you would not have used Facebook to reach this demographic.


Trending On TwitterCan you imagine saying “we’re trending” 9 years ago? People would have thought you were a very obnoxious fashion diva. Now, any event, brand, political campaign or movie will have its own hashtag that they hope will be picked up by numerous people, ideally simultaneously. On Monday, September 25, 2017, #UBCM2017 was trending on Twitter in the Vancouver area. This means that such a number of people were using this hashtag, Twitter highlighted it as a trend for the day. Before Twitter and social media, this kind of public attention would purely be based on how many news sources wrote a piece on the event, and this likely wouldn’t be until the next day.


The idea of a mood board has been around for decades. Anyone remember creating one back in school? Before Pinterest a mood board was purely for school or planning but now it has become a great way for many brands to showcase their products or services. Let’s take weddings as an example. For a person planning a wedding 9 years ago, they would likely have spent a lot of time on the internet, researching products and also buying magazines to look for inspiration. Now, this could, almost exclusively, be done through Pinterest. From a marketing perspective this means for the budget conscious, it is possible to target these people in one place, Pinterest, rather than spread across advertising spots in numerous wedding magazines and websites.

Instagram stories

Video content has become far more prevalent in marketing in the last couple of years. Snapchat was the first to popularize basic video content as a form of social media but in 2016 Instagram added a similar video feature. The popularity of this has grown enormously and has helped Instagram users become more active. Far more people use Instagram daily than they did before Instagram stories existed.


The under 25s have always been a notoriously difficult demographic to reach. Marketers would scratch their heads to find “innovative” ways to reach the younger generation in the same way they could reach older demographics. Then came Snapchat. Snapchat instantly resonated with the under 25s. Over 45% of Snapchat users are under 24 and eMarketer has forecast that during 2017, Snapchat will have more users under 24 than Facebook and Instagram.

Over the years we have become experts at managing social media content and adverts. We put together our top tips for running social media accounts here. If you are looking for further help with your social media strategy, get in touch or pop by our Downtown Vancouver marketing agency office – we always have chocolate!