Cross-media consumption patterns over pandemic. Temporary peaks or new trends?
We are witnessing a situation that has never been seen before: as a result of a pandemic COVID-19, the European economy has been stopped day by day and entire societies locked up in their homes. In the new reality, everything has changed, including media consumption.
Taking into consideration two European markets: Poland and Germany we can clearly observe that users’ home screens have been the main winners of the lockdown. In Poland we note the increases in time spent on both the large TV screen as well as on the smartphone and PC. On the German market, the time spent with the TV screen increased in the first week of lockdown + 20%, with smartphone screen + 21%, and with PC + 37% (March, 16-22 compared to media consumption times in January 2020 within target group all 18-49).
However, in Poland after the abolition of the national quarantine, only mobile remains with the time of consumption clearly higher than before the pandemic. This is the result of moving a large part of our lives to online, even after the hard lockdown period. We still shop on our smartphones, play sports with virtual trainers and maintain relationships with loved ones.
During the lockdown period in Poland, advertisers had an unique opportunity to effectively reach with TV advertising even so-called light TV-viewers (people watching TV for an hour or less per day). Before the pandemic, the share of light TV-viewers among Polish Internet users (age 16-49) fluctuates around 40%. During the lockdown the number decreased by 15% which means that some people started watching more linear TV and thus leave this category and enlarged other groups of viewers. However, during release period, light TV-viewers’ share returned to normal. The rapid increase in TV linear viewing time was only an effect of restrictions, not a permanent trend. Looking at the German market, we can notice that a regular share of light TV-viewers in the television audience is higher (about 50%) than in Poland and its decline could only be seen in the first week of quarantine. The shorter period of increasing TV consumption means the lower opportunity for marketers for additional promoting their products.
If it comes to social media, it's undisputed that Facebook achieved the highest increases in consumption time during quarantine among the largest social apps in Poland. The entire Facebook ecosystem replaced human relations in this time. However, during the release period it is YouTube who gains more minutes spent with the application.
What else has changed in media consumption? Poles appreciated VOD services – especially SVOD which are free from ads. Netflix became the biggest beneficent in this category. We can expect that this change will turn into a trend and stay with us for longer. Just like using online shopping – e-commerce is an unquestionable winner of the pandemic situation.
Did the advertisers took the opportunity and effectively used a prolonged users' contact with screens during the lockdown? In some cases, like tourism or real estate industries, marketers had to cease their marketing activities for obvious reasons. But, on the other hand, we can observe many marketers, that after a while, have adapted their communication and creation to the unusual situation and started intensifying advertising campaigns. Whose’ and which strategies was ultimately the best choice, we will be able to evaluate it soon. This is where the gemiusAdReal study comes in, the marketing intelligence tool that unveils all brands’ activity in digital and cross-media worlds.