COVID-19 is Massively Impacting Media Consumption & Behavior

Joe Mineo
April 1, 2020

With most people glued to their homes for the next 30 days (at least), we were curious to see how media consumption and behavior has evolved since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. Thanks to Comscore’s coronavirus insights page, we can easily break down how it has impacted the following areas. And we’ve got some recommendations for each of these fascinating findings.

TV Viewership

With less people commuting to work early in the morning, TV viewership gradually increased earlier in the day than normal, and people are sticking with TV longer throughout the day. The big four TV networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) have seen a 19% jump in viewership compared to the same week, and cable news networks have seen a 73% increase

Recommendation: If you’re a business that’s been thinking about activating on some TV, now’s your time. Unlike in the past where you’d have to contact each station to launch a campaign, there are services that can allow you to not only set and pivot data-driven schedules on a weekly basis, but partner with broader data providers to reach more people with less waste than ever before. At ChatterBlast, we can help you leverage those partnerships and develop a campaign to maximize your presence and impact on TV.

OTT Services

When it comes to streaming content on Over-The-Top (OTT) services and connected TV devices, we can start to see how releases like Tiger King have come to impact our lives:

From this chart, we can see how people with services like Netflix, Youtube and Hulu built into their TV’s on the left have a tendency to watch more Netflix and Youtube. On the right are the people that have either purchased devices like Amazon FireSticks or Roku streaming boxes, and they have a tendency to have a broader appetite for content. Although we don’t have access to sales data for these devices, I’m sure people have been splurging to catch onto the plethora of content rushing before us during the stay-at-home orders.

Recommendation: New to the OTT/CTV space? We’re happy to help you navigate audience and channel selection, as well as help you find a partnership that integrates well with your current efforts. In addition to linear TV services, we have access to a plethora of advanced TV options, which can operate on digital, linear, or a mixture of both.

Device Usage

Another stunning uptick has been in overall data usage by device, most notably with phones (up 53%) and smart speakers (up 44%). Year over year, people are turning more towards mobile to get information fast while they watch and consume video content, and further towards smart speakers, likely to listen to podcasts, news, music and other content throughout the day.

Recommendation: Mobile display and streaming audio work hand-in-hand for brand awareness. The streaming audio market is more ripe than ever before, with insanely low costs of entry and massive scale on a local level. Mobile display mirrors that scale, and provides users additional touchpoints to engage and familiarize themselves with your brand. We’re proud to offer solutions that can help bridge the gap as mobile & audio engagement continue to rise.

Social Media

Wondering how social media has been faring? Across all sites, there have been 11.9 billion site visits in the week of March 16-22 in the US, which was a 16% increase month over month. To give some perspective, 16% of 11.9 billion is 1.904 billion. According to the US population clock on the day this was written, our population is about 329.4 million… excluding everyone under 13, that would mean every person visited a social media site 6.15 times a day.

While that may seem pretty normal for some people, let’s give that stat some extra perspective. Across all non-weather news content, people made over 8 billion visits to news sites in the same week, which equates to 4.13 visits per user 13 years or older. This is a 45% increase month over month, and is especially highlighted with the top 40 news sites, which saw a 68% increase. Some other categories that saw noteworthy site visit growth were education (up 18% month-over-month) from students and teachers adjusting the classroom setting, investment services (43%) likely due to all the stock market fluctuation, and big box retail (up 11%) to satisfy our need for goods in a stay-at-home-friendly way.

Recommendation: As social reaches meteoric heights, cost of entry will never be lower than now. If you’re already on social and have tried social advertising in the past and maybe didn’t see a fit, we advise you to take another look and think about the scale and capacity social has to offer. Marrying social, display, audio and video into an effective cross-platform campaign with multiple partners may feel like a lot to take on, but that’s exactly why we’re here to help.

In December, most of us had never even heard of coronavirus or what a stay-at-home order meant, and by March 2020 we’ve become armchair heroes, saving the world by sitting inside, washing our hands and consuming as much content as possible on every channel, medium and device imaginable. Until our real life social lives can resume, our digital social lives are in full swing, poised for more and more growth as the crisis continues. Stay safe and keep watching!