We’re all at home scrolling, but not equally across platforms
You may remember your initial horror seeing your phone’s screentime app report your first week of #lockdown life. Eye-watering increases in time spent on our devices reflected a new reality in online consumption. Almost two months into lockdown across much of the country, we’re starting to see sustained changes in behavior, particularly on social media channels.
The formula is simple: more time at home means more time on screens. And without the prying eyes of coworkers or teachers, that means more idle time for social media. Worldwide, 44% of respondents are reporting more time on the platforms. Here are some of the changes we’re seeing on each platform:
Twitter: More News, Less Engagement
The platform’s self-professed “extremely online” people may call it a “hell site,” but Twitter’s more popular than ever. That’s because the site remains an important source for up-to-the-minute information. When new policies are enacted seemingly every other day, people aren’t waiting for their favorite news app to update. That usage jumped 23 percent in March over last year. That barely affected advertising growth, however, as the site saw a 20 percent dip in revenue in the same period.
Facebook: Back to Basics
The boomer-favorite is cool again. Total messaging on its platforms have increased by 50 percent in hard-hit countries. In the United States, active users increased 2.5 percent between February and March, bucking a negative trend of an average 2.2 percent month-to-month decrease. As many people are mandated to stay at home, we’re looking for new ways to connect and entertain ourselves. That means going back to the original king of social media.
LinkedIn: An Initial Dip That Might Not Last
This one surprised us: initial reports a month ago showed LinkedIn seeing a decrease in usage—23 percent—from the previous month. That might be explained by the global economy getting put on ice, and company (and personal) updates slowing down as a result. But with sobering reports of mounting job losses, that trend has changed dramatically. In its earning call in late April, Microsoft reported “record levels of engagement,” mainly driven by its learning and content products. LinkedIn Learning usage has increased three-fold between January and April, in fact. It also saw revenue gains of 21 percent for the quarter, though that may slow down like it did for other platforms.
The Cool Kids: Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok
Facebook’s cooler cousin and competitors are looking red hot. One forecasting analyst increased Instagram’s growth projections in time spent on the app from an original 1.5 percent this year to 14 percent, equalling 3.2 more minutes spent on the platform per person. They expected similar trends for Snapchat, with 12 percent growth in time spent on the app this year. TikTok, meanwhile, is also seeing a spike in interest. With the kids at home, there’s no longer a need to hide their phones under the desk while [online] class is in session.