Significant Increase in Social Media Usage Under Covid-19: Here’s What That Means For Businesses
As the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Australia rises exponentially, many local businesses such as Myers, are closing their offices and outlets voluntarily to prevent further spread of this disease.
The uncertain outlook is doing Australians no favours, as only this week nearly 30 companies on the Australian stock exchange have withdrawn their profit forecasts – all because of the outbreak.
These developments have dealt a deadly blow to small businesses as the Australian economy comes to a halt and consumer behaviour changes radically. However, there is hope yet.
Although the lockdown is likely to slow down all business activity and social gatherings, it’s going to having a very different impact on social media usage in Australia and across the globe.
A Boost In Social Media Consumption
Last week Facebook in relation to the COVID-19 updates, released an article outlining the unprecedented increase in traffic across its platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) stating, “The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day,”. “Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home.”
We’ve already seen an increase in traffic with China – there was a marked increase in digital media consumption with social media, videos, and online gaming topping the reasons why people turn to the internet.
A spike in internet usage during the COVID-19 lockdown is made evident by the increase in traffic to websites and government sources. People quarantined in homes have time at their disposal, and with the lack of other options, many choose to spend it on social media.
So it’s no wonder that last month, Facebook reported that messaging was up by more than 50% on its platform – on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram combined. People are spending 70% more time across all these apps, while group calls are up 1,000% during last month alone.
Apart from socialization, entertainment, and fun, education and remote work have also been significant contributors to the increase in social media usage.
Conversations on social media not only offer people a way to respond collectively to the outbreak but also shape our reactions to it. As COVID-19 spreads across Australia, social media platforms are facilitating important conversations about the pandemic, while also allowing for the spread of misinformation and sensationalism across all demographics of users.
In addition to virtual conversations between families and friends, the coronavirus pandemic is also making users go to social media to find real-time news updates. There are concerns about these sites being a reliable source of information, but that hasn’t stopped people from accessing their Facebook and Twitter feeds in search of news because of their accessibility and ease of use.
But this unprecedented level of availability of information is a two-way sword – it can give people the tools they need to make better decisions or add to their anxiety and paranoia in this situation.
Impact of Coronavirus On Social Sites And Channels
Undoubtedly, Coronavirus has made social media more valuable than ever to users all over the world. But this rising interest isn’t doing anything for these websites, as advertisements and SMM are in free fall.
As businesses cut down on expenses to cope with the lockdown, marketing expenses are the first to go. For example, travel ad revenue is predicted to decline by 15% due to this pandemic.
And let’s not forget, advertising is one of the main revenue streams for digital platforms, content creators, and marketing agencies. Social media usage can hardly be monetized because businesses are no longer willing to spend on marketing, branding, or social activities.
That explains why Twitter’s revenue decreased in March, despite 23% more daily usage as people flocked to the site to keep track of global events related to Coronavirus.
Also, take Facebook, for example – CNBC reports suggest that Facebook’s revenue is likely to be hurt with the reduction in ad spent by the businesses.
As depressing as it may sound, it is not the end.
Since the lockdown has pushed people to tap into their digital resources and grow habitual of living online, there is a high chance digital activity will remain high even after the curfews, quarantines, and isolation are over.
As more Australians are confined to their homes, there is likely to be a surge in social media content creation as well. This is an excellent opportunity for marketers to connect with an audience that is hungry for content, entertainment, and services.
This indicates that companies that brave the storm and continue to be present on social media are likely to see an upward graph of their revenues despite the lockdown. So it’s not all bad news!
Quarantine, isolation, lockdown, and closed borders have left people with no alternative but to turn to social media.
As the Coronavirus pandemic impacts all countries across the globe and people go into self-imposed quarantine to avoid spreading the contagion, we must listen to the conversations happening on social media sites.
People are using these avenues to connect with loved ones, share information, and bide time while in self-isolation. This increased usage of social sites presents a golden opportunity for businesses to communicate with their audiences and forge relationships that might survive the pandemic and last a lifetime.
As people explore these digital options and tap into the potential of digitization, the use of social media is likely to increase after the pandemic than it was before the lockdown – which could also mean more opportunities for social media platforms and other online resources.
That’s why now is the time to be sensitive with your content – whether it’s a business page or a personal profile refrain from posting anything that minimizes the situation. Instead, be informative and use this opportunity to let your followers know what you are doing as an entrepreneur and as a business to deal with the situation.
As Coronavirus infections continue to grow, so will our need talk to each other and hold on to hope – and it’s all going to go down on social media.
Did we get it right? In January we posted our What to expect in 2020 Digital marketing No, I think most business started 2020 with great success and are now trying to work out the best path to re-align expectations and objectives to cope and excel through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
To be continued…
Can facebook and Instagram cope with the record breaking COVID-19 traffic?
A statement from facebook group: “The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day,”. “Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home.”
The facebook group (Facebook, Instagram and Whats App) have powerful data management facilities with complex algorithms to balance user loads.
To view the live number of Active Facebook users check out this link: https://www.internetlivestats.com/watch/facebook-users/
Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) increased or decreased consumer purchasing activity on social media?
Across the board social media & search advertising platforms (Google, Bing, Facebook, Tik Tok, Snapchat, etc…) have seen a decrease in advertising spend however, this seems to be isolated to businesses directly impacted by COVID-19. Generally medium – enterprise level organisations have maintained, or possibly increased their Ad-spend (depending on their industry), with small businesses and startups drastically reducing their Ad-spend (depending on their industry). It’s important to note that most businesses have reduced their operating expenses to as little as possible whilst maintaining essential services, such as marketing and sales operations.
How much has facebook usage increased with Covid-19?
Facebook reported that messaging was up by more than 50% on its platform – on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram combined. People are spending 70% more time across all these apps, while group calls are up 1,000% during last month alone.