How COVID-19 changed media consumption habits

 In Branding, Community Education, COVID-19, Marketing, Technology

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic evoked tremendous change to nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Once shelter-in-place orders were implemented in communities across the country, the changes seemed limitless – from working and shopping for food and other necessities to educating kids and visiting family and friends. Even how we consumed media changed. Quarantining and social distancing had a significant impact on how and where people accessed content. The ways in which people watched local or national news, TV shows and movies shifted. Use of social media skyrocketed.

Adults age 18+ spent a significant amount of time searching online for the latest developments in the spread of COVID-19. According to Nielsen, use of mobile devices to access current events and global news in March 2020 was up 215% from the previous year. During the height of the shelter-in-place orders, use of connected TV increased significantly as well. Streaming TV and movies continues to be above levels prior to being more home bound in March. Analysts with Nielsen predict life in the new normal includes a heavier dose of connected TV use than ever before.

Looking at this data by generation, I was surprised to see similarities among Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Data from GlobalWebIndex shows Gen Xers and Baby Boomers report they’ve started consuming or are consuming more broadcast TV while Millennials are consuming more online videos. The second most used medium for all three generations is online TV/streaming services.

People were also spending more time on social media. Influential’s Market Impact Report found a 29% increase in social media usage. Instagram and YouTube saw the biggest increases, at 32% and 44%, respectively.

So, what does this data mean for marketing to family healthcare decision makers?

Applying media use data to your marketing strategy

To make sense of the data and determine what it means for senior care providers as they market to family healthcare decision makers, I sat down with Erin Hefflinger, digital media strategist and project manager for Transcend. She offered three recommendations for senior care providers.

  • Don’t pull back. During challenging times like these, your target audience needs to hear from you. Depending on your current marketing message, you may want to adjust messaging to reflect the measures you’ve implemented to mitigate risk of spreading the virus and to safely care for your patients or residents as well as your staff. Incorporate new messaging in your marketing campaigns and organic social media posts.
  • Be open to a non-traditional mix of media. As the data shows, use of digital media has soared. With connected TV being used more by Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, look into over-the-top advertising or advertising on streaming services. One advantage to digital media is the ability to target based on geography, demographics, interests and intent. Explore digital options to reach your target audience and add digital media to your traditional media mix, such as broadcast or cable TV, radio, print and outdoor.
  • Don’t lose sight of where your target audience is. Don’t get too swayed by the latest trends in digital media. A recent article in The New York Times asserted that Tik Tok is the future of social media. While that could be true, remember your target audience. Are they frequent users of Tik Tok? My guess is no! Focus your attention on where your audience already spends their time – in traditional and digital media.

A well-balanced mix of media is the best way to reach and engage your target audience. Let us know if we can help assess your marketing mix and determine how best to reach your target audience with the right message at the right time and in the right way.

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