Pandemic drives huge spikes in media consumption

Mar 31, 2020

COVID-19 has changed our world.

For advertisers, the immediate scramble is over and brands are settling into the “new normal” but media consumption right now is anything but normal. Usage has rapidly skyrocketed across some channels and taken deep dips across others. For advertisers able to conduct business as usual and that have the right message for the current times, there are quite a few telling themes to consider. Web browsing has increased 70 percent, TV viewing has risen 63 percent and social media engagement has spiked 61 percent over normal usage, according to a recent study by Kantar.

The volume of noise in the market about changes in media consumption and implications both good and bad is overwhelming. Of course, there are significant negative implications for advertisers that operate in categories where their business is directly affected by the pandemic (e.g., travel, retail, entertainment, etc.). But for those that are operating under normal circumstances and/or are deemed essential (e.g., banking, insurance, and health), it is clear how to reach more customers and prospects than ever before.

Television news and online streaming have emerged as the favored channels during the pandemic.  The facts and figures around increases in these two channels speak for themselves:

The question for all of us is how will this current change in media consumption influence media usage in the long term… are consumers going to discover new, favorite ways to consume media that they haven’t used as much in the past? 

With most of the country sheltering in place the trends are not surprising, but when the world hopefully gets back to normal, everyone will be ready to let their hair down again!  I would expect that usage levels will even out closer to where we’ve been but do think there will be some residual effect of the pandemic on media consumption when it comes to online streaming. 

Stay tuned as we progress through these trying times.


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