Facebook Trends Update

Due to the considerable amount of work we do with Facebook for our clients, we are officially a Facebook Account Managed Agency, which gives a whole host of benefits day-to-day to our social media team; a dedicated account manager, product updates and Beta testing to name just a few.

During the UK ‘lockdown’ phase of COVID-19, we’re in a privileged position to sit-in on Facebook’s latest round-up of research on social media consumption which we’re able to take and impart the wisdom to our Clients and their work. Not just in social, but across the board.

This week, Facebook has given us three key trends they have seen over the last seven days…

THE FINANCIAL IMPACT OF COVID-19 IS POLARISED

As to be expected in this situation, some countries are financially more optimistic than others. The UK as a nation has felt this the most and is one of the most likely nations to decrease spend, whilst also being one of the least optimistic of the economic outlook.

Source: Facebook

Although, this story is not uniform across the country. The personal financial impact of this varies as the Global Web Index COVID-19 Tracker highlights:

  1. 41% feel that COVID-19 is having a small impact on personal finance
  2. 28% have noticed a big, or dramatic impact
  3. 18% are noticing no impact at all on their personal finances
  4. 12% of the country are still unsure of the impact

We could assume that the above is dictated by current working situations. Those who are on furlough or find themselves in different working circumstances will find a negative impact on their personal finances. However, those who are working from home may find themselves better off with some everyday expenditure such as commuting, and childcare on hold.

With this knowledge, it’s to be expected that Facebook research is seeing that there are different expenditure patterns emerging:

  1. 47% are saying they now have to be careful with money
  2. 45% are actively cutting back on spending
  3. 39% uncertainty with the economy is preventing them from making purchases
  4. 26% reported that COVID-19 is negatively impacting how they make ends meet

Whilst these figures are high, they need to be viewed in context. There is never more than 47% of the UK population who report to stripping back finances, suggesting that most of the UK are still actively looking to make a purchase.

As COVID-19 is being compared to the 2008 financial crisis, it’s fitting that this is taken into context. Currently, the personal sentiment is again polarised, with more people feeling more impacted AND, better off than 2008.

THE FINANCIALLY IMPACTED LEAN-IN THE MOST

In social, we often mention the term ‘lean-in content’ to describe how people consume content – they lean-in via phones / tablets / computers to view certain types of longer-form content. What we’re seeing is those who are financially impacted are spending more time on social media than ever before.

The Global Web Index research has flagged key areas in which social media users are currently seeking content from.

  1. 81% want tips on how to deal with the current situation
  2. 74% want to see how brands are responding to COVID-19
  3. 69% want funny videos to entertain
  4. 63% want promotions and offers
  5. 62% want some normality with selling non-essential products online

Overall, we’re seeing that people are watching more light-hearted content during this time and, more so than ever, looking for entertainment. It is also important to note, that the Facebook research found that 60% of respondents who said they were financially impacted were female, so content is likely to skew towards their interests.

There are also key areas that social audiences want to see in their newsfeeds, centred around a healthy lifestyle, keeping busy and financial advice – helping audiences look to the future and be more optimistic.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, we’re also finding that consumers are taking particular interest in what brands are doing to support the cause during this time. A new website named, didtheyhelp.com has been launched, referencing all brands and their activity in relation to COVID-19. Whilst this won’t be bedtime reading material for most, it shows that consumer sentiment for this is strong and those brands that take a stance will see the benefit of this in months to come.

What are our learnings from this?

  1. As a nation, we’re spending more time than ever before in front of screens and we want to be entertained. Social media is shedding the image of being ‘just another media space’ (it never was to us!) and becoming a space that is sociable at its core once again. It’s still the first and last place most of us look at during the day - can your Clients add to this?
  2. The UK (and the rest of the world!), are expecting COVID-19 to last for longer than we’d be prepared to think about, and the shockwaves are likely to impact us longer still. Uncertainty is the new certain, and how we work around this is the new ‘normal’ for brands. It could be time to re-think strategies.

  • NEW HABITS ARE BEING FORMED

As the old saying goes, it takes 30 days to make or break a habit...

Nope! We’re making our lives more digitally focussed day-by-day, at a rate never imagined pre-COVID-19. Some would probably nod to it being a ‘Digital Revolution’.

We’re seeing that younger demographics are having the biggest shift in digital behaviours, but older demographics are catching up with this and adopting quickly.

Across the board, news, social media and messaging services have all been where people are spending time. But, it’s interesting to see that telephone conversations are becoming more utilised according to the Global Web Index.

Accelerated adoption is where you’d expect, with 69% more online shopping than before COVID-19. Of course, this totally depends on the industry, but it is food for thought as we’re very likely to see these behaviours continue.

Global Web Index is reporting the below trends;

  1. 6.3% increase on home and garden purchases
  2. 3.3% more alcohol is being bought online
  3. 9.2% are treating themselves to items
  4. 7.2% of respondents want to send gifts to others
  5. 4.9% increase on chocolate
  6. 8.9% on household items

However, there are accelerated adoption in industries you wouldn’t expect. SSVG Media Group are reporting 77% of US health practitioners are now using digital forms to talk to patients as opposed to 95% of patient contact was face-to-face prior to the outbreak.

Zoopla has also reported a 215% increase in visitors viewing new-build home virtually.

With people having more time than ever before to look at various forms of content, there is a need for creativity at speed that is unprecedented. Content is becoming ‘old’ faster than ever before. Clothing companies are quickly bridging the gap on this, providing models with clothes to photograph themselves, rather than a large-scale shoot.

Keep an eye out for next week's update from the PR & Social team.