Social media usage soars during Coronavirus crisis

Friday, April 17, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I’m hitting my daily time limit on social media more often than I ever did before lockdown.

There has been a shift in consumer behaviour, with more people spending time online and particularly on social media. In the UK and US, Gen Z, Gen X and baby boomers are spending more time checking social media due to concerns around COVID-19. Whereas others are using social media as escapism and distraction from what is going on in the world. Almost every social media platform has recorded a growth in usage:

  • Facebook – Gen Z, Gen X and baby boomers are spending on average 23% more time.

  • Twitter – has recorded a 45% increase in their curated events page usage and a 30% increase in Direct Message usage.

  • LinkedIn – has recorded 55% more conversational activity between existing connections in recent weeks. 

  • Pinterest – has seen a 44% YoY increase in Pinners engaging with shopping Pins on the platform.

  • YouTube – traffic to the YouTube website is up on average by 15%.

  • TikTok – their global downloads for March 16-22 were up by 12% from the previous week.

  • WhatsApp – has seen a 40% increase in usage due to COVID-19.

  • Snapchat – has seen a 50% increase in video calls and time spent playing with Lenses us up 25%. Interestingly, Snap has witnessed an increase in engagement on its ads with a 36% increase in install volume for app ads and a 19% increase in swipe-up rate overall.

These increases have seen social platforms race to add new features and improve their platforms to benefit users, for example, Instagram Live videos can now be viewed on the web, making it much easier to follow Instagram Live workouts. As well as benefiting users, platforms have been adding new resources and features to assist businesses during this period from Snaps’ dedicate COVID-19 support centre to YouTube’s Video Builder being made available to more businesses.

These changes may not carry on when we’re back to normal, so act with caution if you’re thinking of trying out a new social platform, assess whether it’s right for your audience and whether it could have longevity. But overall, the increase in usage gives brands an opportunity to engage with their audience and continue to build brand awareness. 

According to the IAB, 24% of brands have paused all advertising activity, and Facebook has reported that a huge 89% of their advertisers have taken action with their budgets.  Therefore there are currently fewer advertisers on social media, which gives brands a greater chance of reach, lower costs, less competition and more potential to grow. 

Not only is there less competition and higher usage, but costs to advertise are also low. According to Statista, Worldwide CPC on Facebook have decreased by 18% (March vs Jan 2020) and CPM is 56% lower in March compared to November 2019. For many brands, we would recommend focusing on awareness over sales at the moment, which is perfect if you’ve had to cut back budgets as not only are CPCs and CPMs down, brand awareness is generally a lower cost objective too. According to Katar only 8% of people don’t want brands to carry on advertising, that’s a huge 92% that are happy to be advertised to! 

Facebook has released a useful guide on how to adapt your measurement strategy for COVID-19 impact, which you can find here