COVID 19 on one hand has forced the world to be socially distant while on the other hand, it has brought them digitally closer - with 49% of the global population using one or multiple social media platforms. As half of the world becomes active on social media, it is interesting to understand and analyze their demographics and trends –
- Comparing April YoY active social media users have increased by 8.7%, with 99% users using mobiles for access
- Spending more time on social media is the second most popular activity after watching shows and films on OTT platforms
- Social media usage increased majorly in 16-34 years old age groups with females leading the pack
- Philippines, Brazil, India, South Africa and China’s social media usage was above the worldwide average usage of 47%
Source: Statista.com, Thenextweb.com
Let’s now touch upon the top social media platforms from the advertiser’s perspective for the month of April’20. As expected, Facebook is the undisputed leader, with women fore fronting on most of the platforms. What surprised me was the entry of Saudi Arabia amongst the top 5 nations for Snapchat and Twitter. This seems like they have opened the doors and are ready to embrace the digital world.
% of Male Ad Audience
% of Female Ad Audience
Top 5 Countries
Most used Device
India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico
USA, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia
USA, India, China, Brazil, UK
USA, India, France, UK, Saudi Arabia
USA, Japan, Russia, UK, Saudi Arabia
USA, Germany, France, UK, Canada
Source: Social Bakers,Thenextweb.com
Even though the usage has increased, social ad spending is expected to remain low in Q2, also impacting the revenue share. The below table shows the impact on social media revenue for US markets with Ad revenue growth rate decreasing for the majority of social media platforms.
US Market Trends
Ad Rev Increase YoY
Ad Revenue Growth Rate YoY
Though nothing can compensate for the losses (physical, emotional and economical) due to this catastrophe, it is indeed a blessing in disguise for the social media advertising industry. Despite the growth rates looking negative at the moment, the pandemic has given the industry the push it always required. The sheer number of people, the lock-downs due to COVID 19, has brought on the digital platforms is overwhelming. Today half the world is aware of the tools and their usage. And they are here to stay…and for good. This pool, or rather ocean of people, if addressed correctly will take the digital industry to its highest elevations in the second half of the year.
However, as the traffic on social platforms increases, Benjamin Adams, Performance Marketing Manager-Social, Micron, advises the ad industry tread cautiously,” Whether that is staying up to date with the news, connecting with friends and family, or just simply passing time during quarantine, users are spending more time on mobile apps in general. Given the increase in social media usage, brands can leverage social media advertising to reach consumers at a higher frequency than normal as well as reach users who don’t normally spend time on social media”.
Adams further adds, “The pandemic has also made online purchases more mainstream as the ability to go to physical locations has been reduced. While the ability to reach consumers on social media has become easier, brands should be careful to not advertise in a manner that can be construed as exploitative. Extra care should be put into reviewing creatives to ensure brands are not perceived as taking advantage of a global pandemic for monetary gain.”
The global pandemic has changed the way consumers behave and buy online. Only time will tell if this will be a permanent change, however, as consumers find it easier and easier to purchase products online, this trend could become a new normal. Brands that haven’t attempted to fulfill orders through e-commerce should certainly use this opportunity to sell more products online.
We must utilize this time very resourcefully and leverage the learnings from this period to create better opportunities in the future. After all they rightly say, “Data is the new oil.” And we must be both well prepared and equipped to make the most of it.