We’re Online More Than Ever – And It Shows

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

We’ve officially adapted to life with COVID-19.

People, businesses, and brands have shifted their online and offline behaviours. Online, this means that there’s a slew of trends from challenges to offbeat content to news consumption on social media. It also resulted in greater transparency between brands and their followers because of activism-related events, including supporting frontline workers fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests.

Hoostuite noted: “Brands that demonstrate a positive impact on people’s lives grow 2.5 times more than brands with a low impact, have happier employees (9 in 10 employees would take a pay cut to have more meaningful work), and outperform the stock market by 134%.”

The Global Web Index, a market research SaaS (Software as a service) that provides audience insight to publishers, media agencies and marketers around the world, observed that this correlated with a rise in news consumption – Latin America (51%) followed by Middle East and Africa (43%) and Europe (41%) – among other insights.

Source: Social Flagship Report Q3 2020/ Global Web Index

What does this mean?

While news consumption has increased, another strong observation is that we’ve begun putting the ‘social’ back in social media. People and organisations focus on creating, consuming, and interacting with a diverse range of entertainment-first content, especially videos.

We Are Social, a globally acclaimed digital marketing agency, has shared some interesting statistics: 65% of Gen Z and 61% of millennials have said that social media has helped them feel less lonely during the pandemic since real life contact is limited or not viable; 42% of social media users polled have said there’s less pressure to portray unrealistic lifestyles, which has resulted in more positive behaviours and perceptions; and, interestingly, 46% of male social media users say they have been more open on their public social channels about the struggles they are facing, compared to 31% of women.

Which platforms are ‘winning’?

Despite its constant brush with controversy, Facebook is keeping its top spot as the global social platform of choice (2.6B active users) followed closely by YouTube (2B active users). TikTok, darling du jour of consumers, digital marketers, and news outlets ranks 7th – just after Instagram (1B active users) – with 800M active users. However, it is expected to surpass that by the end of the year, thanks to a growing number of users jumping onto the platform.

Source: Statistica

How is online behaviour changing?

At first glance (below), it may seem that social media usage is growing (below), however, as we enter the final months of 2020, there are growing signs of ‘consumption fatigue’ so brands and creators have to work smarter to stay on top of people’s minds, grow and maintain their presence.

Source: Social Flagship Report Q3 2020/ Global Web Index

How can we end 2020 strong?

Digital marketers and creators need to shift and maintain the posting of creative and light-hearted content where relevant. One way to do that is by using social media listening tools to stay aware of what conversations are occurring and how they can join them.

Another way is to join TikTok. Yes, they have 800M users vs heavyweights like Facebook (2.6B users) but the platform’s popularity is currently meteoric, despite current negative press around its ban in the USA and India as well as growing concerns about its privacy issues, so it makes sense to join if you’re on it already. Among recent joiners are luxury designers like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Dior are flocking to TikTok to reach new shoppers. One example of a brand doing well is The Washington Post whose content fits the platform perfectly, despite being a serious news organisation.

However, if Generation Z isn’t your target audience, TikTok may not be relevant to your brand right now—69% of TikTok users are 16-24 years old, and 60% reside in China, according to Hootsuite.

Finally, people are consuming videos more than ever – from 15 second clips to longer form videos to livestreams, webinars, and more. Ideally, different content types should be created for each platform. However, one video can be re-purposed across platforms to raise awareness and interest – matching each platform’s style and requirements, of course – in order to drive people to view the full video in a specific location, whether on a brand’s website or social media platform of preference.

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