Marketing research agency Nielsen reports that social media saw an enormous 50X rise between January and March 2020 in India during Covid-19 phase. The study notes that the social media buzz took speed from 0.4 million in January to 1.6 million in February to an overwhelming 20.3 million through March 24! The figures seemingly kept pace with the rise in corona virus cases from one in January to over 500 in March! That is how the panic spread on social media and served as an accurate barometer of public sentiment.
“Each time PM Modi addressed the nation to make announcements such as Janata Curfew and 21-day total lockdown in March, social media volume noted a jump. Celebrities, cricketers and politicians urging people to follow the lockdown and five-minute gratitude showing on Janata Curfew day were other instances,” points out Prasun Basu, South Asia Zone President of Nielsen Global Connect in his briefing to news persons, as quoted by Smita Balram in Covid-19 Impact: Social media activity in the country grew 50X in early March, says Nielsen.
Apparently, when compelled to stay at home, Indians were super active in surfing the web, reading, contributing and influencing the social media platforms. Social media bells started ringing in the middle of January with the report of the first corona virus outbreak in Wuhan. Pandemic updates trailed by campaigns such as Karo Namaste, hand sanitiser use, masks and ‘Safe Hands Challenge’ also triggered off a social media frenzy that peaked during the lockdown extension announced in March.
The volume of content sharing over social media doubled in the same period as pantry preparations, social distancing and quarantining became the new normal. A decline in store visits and a shoot in online shopping contributed majorly to this explosion of traffic.
In tandem with this audience behaviour, the buyer market has changed dramatically. GlobalWebIndex’s Strategic Insights Analyst, Olivia Valentine studied the variations in consumer behaviour on web as a response to the world pandemic in terms of understanding the social media’s role and ‘where – how’ brands can get involved in this conversation.
As social distancing measures continue to disrupt everyday lives globally, consumers are looking for paths to connect and make sense of what’s going on. Marketers expect to zero in on the blank hours to be occupied each day and everyone is keen to spend more on social media, during this interim.
A focused research carried out by GlobalWebIndex in March and April – 2020 through 17 markets explored the impact of COVID-19 on buyers and how they are they responding. Here are a few survey pointers –
Why social media marketing is important?
Consumers are on a scroll! The pandemic has clearly put it out there – the power of social media to connect people, when any other form of communication is not allowed. Nearly one in every two customers globally agrees that he or she has been spending longer durations on social media since the COVID-19 outbreak. Noteworthy how in-built, social media already was in consumer’s pre-pandemic routine and psyche!
Why use social media for business?
The additional scrolling hours are undoubtedly an opportunity for brands. Now they have more time on hand to stir an effect. A good time to showcase empathy with a proactive, unique and heartfelt comeback. Though this is an obvious thing to do, during times of high emotion, brands need to remember that only the most precise messages and posts will resonate. Brands that do it right would be the ones that would be remembered and would stand out in the clutter.
When the survey asked respondents if brands should go on advertising as usual,one in every two respondents agreed, but a whopping 82% said brands should be running ad campaigns to show how they’re reaching out to consumers, during their time of need. Lots of brands are using social media feeds to display this. Lidl UK is a good example of a brand showing its support for its shoppers; by posting reassuring updates, also vowing to feed frontline staff, and working to help the needy.
Marketing doesn’t always need to be serious. Many people are on a lookout for entertaining content; some may want to see funny content, memes and or even how-to videos. The social media marketing services can fill in the gap created by social distancing by creating socially-relevant content for their clients’ brands.
Online in Action
A section of the GlobalWebIndex showcases how buyers have now adapted to new shopping habits and shifted from offline to online shopping.
Figure source – Apr 17 How Social Media Marketing Will Emerge Post-COVID-19 by Ignite Social Media.
The survey results clear establish why social media marketing is important and why use social media for business purposes. It also establishes how businesses should use social media marketing services in a socially-responsive manner, during this period.
These days, it’s cheaper to advertise online
Noting another significant change in the consumption of social media, Neil Patel in How to Adapt Your Marketing During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) says, “The latest trend we are seeing is that paid ads are becoming cheaper.” He explains how this change is panning out the auction. They require SMBs to rise up the cost per click (CPC) for advertisements. Right now, there are a fewer businesses who want to advertise hence less competition has resulted in lowered cost per click (CPC) and this will come down further. In other words, there is increase in web traffic but less ad rates, so it’s become cheaper for brands to advertise online. No wonder, the likes of Netflix and YouTube are streaming more content to more audience, in order to make up for less earning from each content unit.
Paid advertisement promises more ROI
On an average, globally it has been witnessed that paid advertisements are bringing in a higher ROI as compared to the scene before Coronavirus. Have a look –
On this trend, Neil Patel observes, “Our clients, in general, have seen their ROI go up from 31% to 53%. That’s a 71% increase in ROI.”
Therefore, marketers advice here is up your spend on paid ads as the ad rates there have crashed rock-bottom; a trend not seen in ages!