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Social Media Trends catalysed by COVID-19 That Will Continue to Boom

Social media became an escape from the turbulence of the world. Along with time spent on the platform, engagement also increased on certain platforms. On Instagram, the average engagement rate for brands increased by roughly 6% in 2020.

In this blog, we will explore the biggest impacts of the pandemic on social media and we will highlight the trends that we predict will continue to boom.

Impact of the Pandemic on Social Media

During the quarantine period, the average time spent on social media and the overall users worldwide increased.

Between 2019 to 2021, the amount of social media users worldwide increased by 11% — from roughly 3.4 billion in 2019 to 3.78 billion in 2021 according to Statistica.

As the lockdown was imposed, many people sought connections online. There was a 5% increase in global users from 2019 to 2020 alone.

The main reason that significantly impacted time spent on social media apps was simply that people were bored.

According to a study by Statista, people in the USA went from spending 56 minutes per day on social media in 2019 to 65 minutes in 2020 and 2021. Globally, people spent 145 minutes per day online on social media in 2020. (It's important to note: That number has decreased to 142 minutes per day in 2021, suggesting a slight decline in social media use as some of the world re-opened.)

Social media became an escape from the turbulence of the world. Along with time spent on the platform, engagement also increased on certain platforms. On Instagram, the average engagement rate for brands increased by roughly 6% in 2020.

Covid-19 also impacted video consumption.

Facebook Live became the most engaging format by far on the platform by early 2020 with a median of 31 interactions per post, which is double the median post interactions of regular video posts. Image was the next highest with 17 median post interactions. On Instagram, carousel was the most engaging type of format with 135 median post interactions. Carousel posts, which can contain both photos and videos, have consistently outperformed image and video. All organic interactions increased overall after the pandemic.

Currently, the most pushed format by Instagram is by a huge margin- Reels.

Now what we are seeing for the future are shoppable live streams on social platforms. Social media platforms have introduced live streaming and integrated shopping solutions to support new and emerging businesses that want to showcase products conveniently.

These capabilities now offer consumers a closer in-person experience without the need to step foot in the store. Once people started shopping online, they realised it was safe and convenient. Even though things have now gone back to normal, people have gotten used to the convenience of shopping online and are not willing to give that up.

If you aren't already using this feature, you should start live streaming on your business platform. Use trial and error to keep adjusting your strategy to evolve the program.

Influencer marketing 3.0

The pandemic really boosted the popularity of Influencer Marketing.

The influencer marketing industry went from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020 — a staggering 470% increase — and is expected to jump to $13.8 billion in 2021.

When the pandemic started, we noticed that brands were reluctant to put their faith in influencer marketing. This was because influencer marketing was a relatively newer form of advertising and hence riskier for brands to invest in, especially for companies struggling financially.

However, slowly the world got accustomed to seeing their favourite influencers posting branded content. This evolved into a new form of work that was now socially much more acceptable. Influencer campaigns increased by 37% between Q2 and Q3 of 2020 and rose by an additional 34% between Q3 and Q4.

And influencer marketing's popularity isn't slowing down. Sponsored content increased by almost 27% in 2021.

Paid Posts Reach 28.6% More People

According to Hubspot, the overall reach for brand pages on Facebook went down starting in mid-March 2020. However, brands that supported their posts by taking advantage of the lower ad costs saw a 28.6% increase in page reach from March 13-April 13 2020.

Metrics like CPC, CPM, and Ad Spend all significantly decreased overall in all industries across the world. This created an opportunity for established brands to leverage the lower costs of advertising to increase their reach and engagement. But for brands overall, it will be a positive sign when things return mostly to normal, and in the trends, the parts of the world that were affected by covid before the rest, like China and parts of East Asia, saw an earlier return to normal. While every brand recovered from this slump at their own pace, now we can see that most of the world has settled back into a familiar rhythm and yet been permanently altered.

Due to the pandemic, there was a decrease in CPM across all industries.

If brands can use it to take advantage of the increased social commerce capabilities on Instagram it could become even more important in the future.

A key point was that for the first time in a long time, people shifted from spending time on the main feed of Instagram to Facebook. It was not a huge change in terms of numbers, but it’s a gradual change that is noteworthy as it has been happening over the last couple of years even before the pandemic.

A very important change in ad objectives was the increase in reach on Facebook and Instagram. It was already a top-three objective on both platforms, but its reach increased by 13.5% on Facebook and 15.8% on Instagram. With ad spend lower across regions and industries, brands that do have the budget to spend could be seen by a larger audience and that seems to be what many have tried to achieve.

Organic posts have increased slightly across all regions since the start of 2020

Companies across the world started posting lesser paid content in 2020. It may or not be a direct result of the pandemic, but clearly the decrease in budgets is linked in some way to the pandemic. As a result, organic posts have increased slightly across the world since the start of the pandemic. We expect this trend to continue as many businesses search for cheaper alternatives to speak with their audiences. The reach for organic content has indeed gone down, which means that companies that can afford to pay for advertising will definitely have an advantage.

Considering the overall decrease in the cost of paid advertising, it’s an opportunity for brands in a good position to take advantage of the landscape with paid post promotion.

But for the brands that cannot afford to invest heavily in paid advertising, it's more important now than ever to have a solid organic marketing strategy.

COVID-19 restrictions increased the craving for community. As a result, new platforms are emerging.

We predict we'll see a rise in community leaders choosing to shift away from Facebook towards one of these newer platforms like Mighty, Circle, Clubhouse etc. to cater to the needs of their community members who've lost trust in Facebook.

Facebook Groups are still a popular option for creating a strong community, but in 2022, you'll see brands experiment with other community-building platforms. Just like Twitter introduced Twitter Spaces and Spotify introduced Greenroom, we will see other platforms trying to create community-building features.

Since 2021, social media is the #1 channel used in marketing. You must learn how to pivot with these trends to continue to see growth and success across platforms.

It can be a daunting task to gather all your prospects and conduct rigorous research while remembering to ask the right questions using the right approach, to achieve an accurate response. This is where we can help. Aeon Research specialises in customised consumer research, which assesses your specific business query.

Feel free to reach out to us and we can discuss how exactly we can help you!

AEON

Published On - May 05, 2022