The emergence of COVID-19 and its worldwide spread has altered many facets of our daily lives and social lifestyles. Coronavirus is the first global pandemic widely documented and shared across social media and as such, we’ve begun to see COVID-19’s effect on social media consumption, user habits, behavior, and more.
From greatly augmenting the average time spent on social media to altering how we use and approach social media platforms, here are eight emerging statistics showing just how quickly COVID-19 is changing social.
In a worldwide online survey of internet users age 16 to 64 years old, Statista found that close to half of all internet users had increased their use of social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) just in the month of March.
In direct correlation, social media messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.) also saw a slightly greater uptick in use. As expected with shelter-in-place, quarantines and lockdowns, people are leaning on social media networks and their adjoining messaging capabilities to stay in touch and/or communicate during COVID-19.
The original social media network is experiencing a resurgence in popularity (after periods of decline) but also seeing its users significantly leverage the platform’s messaging capabilities. Amid COVID-19, messaging across Facebook has surged to the tune of 50% as people attempt to stay connected in an increasingly digital world.
TikTok demonstrated its global, viral, and addictive appeal amid the spread of COVID-19. The Byte Dance app received more downloads in Q1 2020 than any in history. Its focus on short, fun user-generated content is a hit for people hungry for fresh, unique social media content.
Like its parent company, Facebook, Instagram usage has also grown during COVID-19. Instagram users are taking to the platform’s live streaming function, IG Live, as brands and influencers share every day streaming content to appease audiences stuck at home.
Some Instagram influencers are amping up content (some as much as 50% more) in order to entertain, engage, and connect on new levels with their followers. In a recent COVID-19 agency guideline deck published in Business Insider, Mediakix shared that likes on sponsored posts on Instagram are up by 76%.
YouTube influencers are seeing a 30% spike on their channel viewership compared to March of last year. Across popular YouTube categories, fitness and health video views increased by 63%, while arts & culture videos saw a 29% increase in views. YouTube has long focused on community connectivity efforts. In response to the outbreak, it created a “With Me” playlist on its brand channel.
The popular #WithMe video format features users and influencers cooking, exercising, gardening, studying, and completing daily tasks. While these videos were trending pre-pandemic, they have shown greater traction during COVID-19, specifically to Gen Z users who “feel a need for connectedness.”
At the start of COVID-19, many brands and advertisers were unsure how to approach marketing during a global pandemic with many pausing their campaigns altogether. For the brands who have marketed during this time, many have seen positive results as audiences are spending more time online and perusing social media.
Marketing during a global crisis requires a different and new level of tact to ensure messaging does not appear tone-deaf and acknowledges the problems at large.
While there are three main ways influencers are responding to the pandemic, a new study shows 50% of influencers are creating more video content than before coronavirus. As a result, more and more brands are working with influencers to create entertaining content for their followers.
The opportunity for brands to use/re-purpose influencer content is especially appealing due to the lockdown obstacles brand channels face to produce original content.
Influencer-hosted IG Live Takeovers and Stories are also on the rise during quarantine, with a notable uptick in the fitness industry where brands are partnering with fitness gurus to share home-workout content.
As an industry better positioned to handle a worldwide lockdown, eSports has fared particularly well during the coronavirus outbreak. TIME reports that viewership on Twitch rose 31% in March. Twitch’s competitor YouTube Gaming, similarly saw its viewership increase by 15%.
This rise in viewership is not surprising to marketers who recognize gaming as an important way for people to stay connected. With a daily average user base of 15 million, Twitch has become an advertising outlet to both gaming and non-gaming brands. GUESS, Hershey’s, and KFC are just a few non-gaming brands who have launched influencer marketing campaigns on Twitch.