Coupled with coronavirus induced self-quarantines, nationwide closures of bars, restaurants and public venues have inevitably led to an uptick in social media consumption, particularly on Instagram and TikTok. Tracking user behavior, Obvious.ly examined 260 of its own campaigns including over 7.5 million Instagram posts and saw a 76 percent increase in daily accumulated likes on #ad posts over the last two weeks. Q1 Instagram campaign impressions also increased 22 percent over Q4.
The company also analyzed data from 2,152 TikTok influencers and saw engagement jump by over 27 percent on average from February to March.
eMarketer predicts the pandemic is also likely to boost digital media consumption across the board including over-the-top video and online gaming, with the biggest growth in usage and time spent going to subscription based video on demand (SVOD).
Pew Research Center found that over half (55 percent) of US adults got news from social media often or sometimes in 2019, up from 47 percent in 2018. As anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic grows, many will turn to social media not only to consume news updates, but also to connect with friends and family.
With the US in its first week of widespread school closures and the White House calling for millions of people to home-school their children wherever possible, social media apps favored by Gen Z and millennial such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram will continue to see increased user behavior. As a result of the suspended NBA season, many professional players are also filling their time by creating TikTok content.
In response to deep fake videos and misinformation about coronavirus, YouTube said it would demonetize creators’ videos that mentioned coronavirus as part of its “sensitive events” policy. However, the platform made a U-turn when YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted recently that, “To better support the sharing of information we’re enabling ads for content on the virus for a limited number of channels, expanding to more soon.”
Perhaps the platform had a change of heart because many employees are already working under telecommuting policies and people across generations are practicing social distancing—a winning combination for more screen time and social media scrolling, which could benefit YouTube’s views.YouTube said in a blog post that it’s taking new measures to remove videos that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits. It says automated systems will help with some of the content removal process normally done by human reviewers.