How is Media Consumed During a Pandemic?
The conditions of the Coronavirus pandemic have dramatically changed how people consume media. It has created significant changes in consumer needs which has changed the way consumers interact with media. For advertisers, that means a shift in the way they interact with their consumers.
How Has Media Consumption Changed?
People have changed the way they approach television, radio, podcasts, and streaming content.
Both during and after work hours, radio consumption has lifted. A Nielsen report found that radio has become “comfort food” for the masses. Radio hosts and on-air personalities present a connection with the outside world that listeners trust. The same report noted that 60% of American adults 18 and trust radio to deliver timely information about the outbreak. A similar dynamic can be found among podcast audiences. The pandemic has led to a lift in listeners. Like radio, podcast hosts are a trustworthy connection to the outside world.
Many are spending more time on social media to distract themselves and to remain connected to friends and loved ones. They still want to know what is going on in each other’s lives, and social media offers a vital sense of connection. A small subset of the population, however, is choosing to take a break from social media to decrease negative media consumption.
TV engagement has increased substantially around the world. More people are tuning in to learn what has happened in the past 24 hours. Similarly, consumers are looking for entertainment options at all times of the day: with more people working from home, the timing of media consumption has shifted to accommodate those needs.
Streaming and OTT
Like other forms of media consumption, streaming and OTT has seen a marked increase in interest throughout the pandemic. People are consuming much larger amounts of on-demand content: they are watching more OTT and streaming content, spending more time listening to podcasts, or watching more short videos on YouTube and other online services.
Why Has Consumption Changed?
The change in media consumption related to the pandemic involves several key elements. Advertisers who are aware of these trends are shifting their tactics appropriately.
People need more information.
Public information is changing dramatically in the midst of the pandemic. Consumers need to keep up with that information–both from government officials and from the companies that they follow and support.
What do COVID-19 numbers look like in your local area?
Which local businesses require masks?
What measures are being taken to help support those businesses?
For advertisers, that means that increased media consumption offers the opportunity to share more information with their target audience. What is your business doing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect consumers? How are you helping the community during this time? By sharing information about the steps you’re taking, you can increase interest in those initiatives and connect it to your company.
People are spending more time at home.
People are spending more time at home than ever. Some need to stay home due to continuing health concerns. Others have had most of their favorite activities and plans canceled. As a result, they’re spending more time consuming media in an effort to fill those hours. They’re listening to more radio and watching more television. Advertisers should mold their ad creative with this in mind. Ads that previously assumed the listener was driving to work now assume the listener is working from home.
People are looking for distractions.
As the pandemic drags on, an increasing number of people–as many as 50%–are suffering from severe depression or anxiety. While some are turning to online counseling options or other solutions, others are looking for distraction in the form of entertainment. Advertisers can help contribute to that by offering entertaining, engaging content that will build positive emotions in listeners.
Adapting to New Trends
The pandemic has created a dramatic shift in media consumption, and savvy advertisers are changing their approach along with it. By adapting your ads to the changing needs of your target audience, you can better meet those needs, increase engagement, and expand your reach.