Lockdown – Data series

Over the coming weeks we will be bringing a series of content that shows data from around the digital world to hopefully inform you of what you can do and what the opportunities are as a business. #lockdownlearnings

We have seen plenty of heartwarming scenes online over the past weeks of people, communities, countries and the world coming together to offer support to each other during the current global pandemic. Maybe we took connectivity for granted before but our current tech offering has really helped unite people. I for one am so thankful for the technology we have at our fingertips whether that be Houseparty, social media or the range of business Saas solutions that allow us to stay safe but continue to connect with colleagues and customers. 

Data & user behaviour 

People are staying at home and have plenty of time to consume content. We’re even seeing that the times people are consuming digital content is spread across the day. As most would expect, the worldwide pandemic has had an effect on brands’ social media strategy and performance. This can be seen in a variety of areas, including a lower demand for paid ads on Facebook, the increased performance of organic content, and perhaps a hidden opportunity for brands that do have some budget to spend and increase their reach because of the lower costs of ads on Facebook.

Because people have been forced into social distancing at home, they have more time to consume social media content and as a result, the supply is trending up. That has also created new possible opportunities for smart marketers to create engaging content.

Ads Are Cheaper Now: CPM Has Decreased

Similar to cost per click, there’s been a decrease in CPM across the board of all industries that we analysed. For Brands overall, the most recent figure ($0.810) is less than half of the previous seven-month high in late November 2019 ($1.883).

Cost per Click Is Now Lower as Well

Not surprisingly, the Facebook CPC has decreased, making the cost to advertise much lower for nearly every industry that we analysed.

For brands overall, the previous low was $0.110 right after the new year. Most recently that decreased by 19%, down to $0.089. And looking at some specific industries, Ecommerce decreased by 22% over the last two months ($0.099 to $0.077) while Retail Food has decreased 33% since the new year (currently $0.068).

The lowest ad costs have traditionally been after the new year, and because of this situation, that trend has continued into spring. That means there’s a possible opportunity for brands that have the budget to make their message go to a wider audience than it normally would.

Click-Through Rate Has Declined

As people are engaging more with organic content than paid, the CTR for all Brand accounts has declined by 17.2% since the new year. This is an opportunity for brands to push more organic content as it is seen as more authentic and reliable at a time like this.

Looking at some specific industries, the Beverages sector has remained steady with only slight variations over the last seven months. Meanwhile, one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, Accommodation, reached a high CTR of 1.84% in mid-January and has decreased by 18.5% over the last two months.

What content is hitting the spot with users?

The brands that are being proactive and making contributions to their communities and employees have seen the most engagement on Facebook and Instagram.

Looking at posts related to coronavirus over the last month and a half, the post that got the most interactions on both platforms came from Brazilian brewery Ambev, which announced that it would use its production lines to make 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for local hospitals and the cities hit hardest by COVID-19.

The other top posts on Instagram came from two Italian car companies. Ferrari pledged €10 million in support of the crisis while Bugatti expressed its sympathies to the people of Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

On Facebook, the other top posts came from Home Bargains, a U.K. discount chain that announced a £30 million fund to support its employees, and US-based Skrewball Whiskey, which on March 16 pledged to donate $1 to the bartender’s emergency assistance program for every share of the post (up to $500,000).


Europeans Seeing More Posts on Brand Pages

Backing up what you might expect considering the situation, data suggests that fans of Facebook Brand pages in Europe have been spending more time online every day in recent weeks. 

As more and more companies have settled into home office situations, the percentage of fans who have seen Facebook posts on brand pages has increased a little each of the last three weeks. The peak time every day of the week is 8 p.m., and when looking at the most recent week compared to the last full week of February, the activity increased by 16.1%.

And it’s consistent throughout the week. Looking at the same time frame comparison, there was an identical 12.3% increase in activity at 8 p.m. on both Sundays and Mondays. 

The data shows an increase in March on the weekends, too, which means that marketers looking to take advantage of the lower ad costs could potentially find an audience any day of the week.

Engagement Across Regions Remains Steady

While it may change as people keep spending more time in their homes (and online), the overall engagement for both organic and paid content on Brand profiles has been mostly steady throughout the crisis.

This bears monitoring as many areas of the world have an indefinite period of working from home in front of them, but so far social distancing in the real world hasn’t led to a spike in social media engagement in the digital world.

Positivity pays off 

Many Brands and businesses have put out official statements and rightly so. However as we move deeper into the pandemic it’s worth changing tack a little and ensuring that you are more positive. I’ve seen it lots recently that negative statements online produce negative comments and this can have the opposite effect to what the business was hoping for. 

We all need a little positivity in our lives right now and where appropriate entertainment and good humour can give audiences a break that they might be longing for. When looking to create content as with guidelines before the pandemic audiences are engaging with Video and Images over long textual content.