Blog Post

The Impact of Coronavirus on Social Media [Part 1]

04/10/2020 - Sierra Ducey

If you’re an iPhone user like me, you probably receive those weekly messages “Your screentime was up/down x% this week.” Any normal week, I don’t think twice about these messages, removing the notification from my lock screen. However, as we all know, the last few weeks have been anything but normal. So, when I saw that my screentime was up over 100% from last week, (after recovering from the initial embarrassment I felt toward using my phone that much) I actually did want to look further into what I’m doing on my phone for these hours – yes, hours – on end.

Here’s what I found. Some of my screen-time was spent talking on the phone, texting, checking my email and using Slack; a lot of my time was spent on social media; and – surprisingly very little time was spent streaming shows or movies.

To justify my increased screen-time, I turned to some recent consumer surveys. I learned that I’m not the only one consuming massive amounts of social content during this time of quarantine.

In March, Statista released a survey asking if consumers would use social media more if forced to stay at home during the outbreak. 62.3% of respondents said they would use Facebook more, 43.1% reported they would use Instagram more, about 33% said they would use Twitter and Pinterest more and a little more than 25% said they would use Snapchat more. And, a month later, the survey results seem to pose true as platforms are releasing traffic and usage updates.

  • Twitter announced that daily active users jumped 23% to 164 million quarter-to-date, messaging.
  • Instagram and Facebook soared by over 50 percent (more on the troublesome side of this in the Facebook post coming soon).
  • Snapchat saw a 50 % increase in video calls.
  • Pinterest saw “…an all-time high activity, with more searches and saves of Pins on the platform than any other weekend, ever,” said a company spokesperson.
  • Reddit, while they wouldn’t release specific numbers, has seen a significant increase in direct traffic to the site.
  • TikTok, the new kid on the block, was seeing huge growth in app downloads prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but the app saw an 18% week-on-week uplift in downloads in the United States the week of March 16.

Each of these social media platforms is facing unique challenges related to usage and experiences changes in consumer behavior due to the coronavirus, however, nearly all of them are seeing upticks.

The takeaway for marketers? Lean into this surge of social media consumption and to meet consumers where they are, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or some other social platform. If you aren’t yet investing in social to connect with and inspire consumers, now is a good time to start. If you are investing in social, take advantage of lower CPMs to double down and get more bang for your buck. During the week of March 10, our Facebook campaigns (across a variety of verticals and tactics) saw CPM’s decrease by more than $5.

We’re in a quick-moving environment with changes happening every day. Throughout the next few blog posts, I’ll be outlining key tactics to incorporate in your social media buys that are proving successful and any updates that platforms are rolling out during the coronavirus outbreak. Stay tuned for more…

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