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 greatly, industries are experiencing downturn. Many local businesses such as Myer, are closing their outlets voluntarily to prevent further spread of this disease. The uncertain outlook is doing Australians no favours. Only recently, nearly 30 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) have withdrawn their profit forecasts. All this, because of the Covid-19 outbreak. These changes have costed small businesses as the Australian economy declines and consumer behaviour changes radically. 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

In relation to the Covid-19 updates, Facebook released an article outlining the increase in traffic across its platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp). Faceook stated “The usage growth from Covid-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are seeing new records in usage almost every day. Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging now that most of our employees are working from home.”

We’ve already seen an increase in traffic with China. Reports show an increase in digital consumption with social media, videos, and online gaming topping the charts on the internet. An increase in traffic to websites and government sources has significantly contributed to overall increase in internet usage during this pandemic . People quarantined in homes have time at their disposal, and many choose to spend it on social media. Facebook reported that messaging was up by more than 50% on its platforms (Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp) as a result. People are spending 70% more time across all these apps, while group calls are up 1,000% during last month alone.

Social Media for News and Entertainment

Apart from socialization and entertainment, education and remote work have also been contributed to the increase in social media usage. Conversations on social media offer people a way to respond collectively to the outbreak, shaping our reactions to it. As Covid-19 spreads across Australia, social media platforms are having important talks about the pandemic. Conversely, they also allow for the spread of false information across all types of users.

In addition to virtual conversations between families and friends, the pandemic has users relying on social media for real-time news updates. Thus, there are concerns about these sites being a reliable source of information. However, that hasn’t stopped people from accessing their Facebook and Twitter feeds for news because of their easy access. This high availability of information is a double-edged sword. It can either give people the tools to make better decisions, or add to anxiety in this situation.

Impact of Coronavirus On Social Sites And Channels

Coronavirus has made social media more valuable than ever to users all over the world. However, this rising interest isn’t doing anything for these websites. Decreasing advertisements and Social Media Marketing (SMM) have contributed to this. As businesses cut costs to cope with the lockdown, marketing expenses are the first to go. For example, the pandemic has caused forecasters to expect a 15% decline in travel ad revenue.

Moreover, advertising is one of the main revenue streams for digital platforms, content creators, and marketing agencies. Social media usage can hardly be monetized. This is because businesses are no longer willing to spend on marketing, branding, or social activities. This explains why Twitter’s revenue decreased in March, despite 23% more daily usage. Even though people flocked to the site to keep track of global events related to Coronavirus, it wasn’t enough. Taking Facebook for example – CNBC reports suggest that Facebook’s revenue is likely to decrease with a reduction in ad costs spent by the businesses.

A Glimmer of Hope…

The lockdown has pushed people to tap into their digital resources and grow habitual of living online. However, there is a high chance that digital activity will remain high even after the curfews and isolation are over. An online boom is expected – 62% Italians expect more use of digital media in the educational sector. Similarly, 57% of them would like to use digital services in their businesses.

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 craving content, entertainment, and services. This indicates that companies that continue to be present on social media can expect an increase in revenues despite the lockdown. So it’s not all bad news!

In Conclusion

Isolation, lockdown, and closed borders have left people with no choice but to turn to social media. The Coronavirus pandemic is impacting countries across the globe, with people entering self-imposed quarantine to avoid spreading the contagion. At the same time, we must listen to what is 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 engage with their audiences. Forging strong relationships that might survive the pandemic could be ideal.

As people explore these digital option, the use of social media is likely to increase after the pandemic ends. This could mean more opportunities for social media platforms and other online resources. Therefore, now is the time to be sensitive with your content. Whether it’s a business page or a personal profile; don’t post anything that undermines the situation. Instead, be informative and use this opportunity to let your followers know what you are doing as a business to deal with the situation.

Did we get it right? In January we posted our What to expect in 2020 Digital marketing. We believe that most business started 2020 with great success. Now, companies across industries are trying to work out the best path to re-align objectives to cope and excel through this situation together.

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:

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). Small businesses and startups are drastically reducing their Ad-spend (depending on their industry). 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.

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