Knowledge of .ca Domain Among US Population 2016-02-02

market research

Why Did We Conduct This Study?

We conducted this survey to get a better handle on how US residents perceive the .ca domain extension. While in Canada this is commonly recognized as a Canadian-based website or company, we were curious to find out whether or not this was also understood amongst Americans.

These findings will become part of our ongoing investigation into whether Canadian ecommerce sites should focus on .com or .ca domains in their digital marketing efforts.

How Did We Perform the Study?

We used Google’s online Consumer Surveys platform to ask 1,500 US residents the question, “What does the .ca domain extension (eg. www.website.ca) mean to you?”

Respondents were asked to select one of the following two options, or enter their own response in an open text box:

A Canada based company/site
A California based company/site
All survey responses were collected over a 3-day period in September 2015.

What Did We Find Out?

The results of our survey produced some interesting findings, giving us insight into how Americans understand the meaning of the .ca domain extension, and what impact their location has on how they interpret the meaning of .ca.

.ca meaning for people in USA

32% of Americans believe that the .ca domain represents a California-based company/site.

Study shows those in US West 50% more likely to believe a .ca domain means California. Self…

55% of Californians believe a .ca domain indicates a California based web site.

So What?

Our findings reveal that for many Americans, it is not immediately clear that the .ca domain extension is associated with a Canadian website or company. It is especially interesting to note that the meaning of the .ca domain is less obvious for residents living on the west coast of the United States, in particular California, possibly indicating a self-absorption bias.

Understanding how US customers perceive Canadian-based websites is essential to us and how we will advise our clients in targeting their US audiences. This information, strongly indicates that a having a .ca domain is not always the ideal scenario for Canadian companies who are looking to attract and sell to customers south of the border.

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