Insights from Facebook EMEA’s first COVID LIVE Webinar

27 Mar 2020

Insights Manager

Insights from Facebook EMEA’s first COVID LIVE Webinar

During this snappy, insight-packed session held on the 25th March the Facebook EMEA team talked through consumer and media insights, analysing data that had been gathered over the past week.

The following is a mix of Facebook internal data, YouGov data and CrowdTangle data.

Enjoy the four timely and actionable insights below:


Insight 1 – Media is surging

In the countries hardest hit, total messaging has increased more than 50% over the last month

Voice and video calling have more than doubled in Messenger and WhatsApp

In Italy specifically, 70% more time has been spent across Facebook’s apps in the last month

Instagram and Facebook Live views had doubled in a week

Messaging has increased by over 50% and time in group calling has increased by over 1000% during the last month.

Top posts by engagement on Facebook across UK and DE have been from news publishers such as Der Spiegel and Sky News.

Top global posts on Instagram have been from celebrities such as Will Smith and Oprah.

As the world goes into lockdown, with Citymapper usage going down 70-80% in major cities and Uber usage down by 60%, people have been consuming more media in the home.

As people stop going out to but physical newspapers online news consumption has grown, along with all types of digital video consumption.

Data from Singapore suggests that we should expect this growth to continue.

However, the scale of behavioural shifts is not equal across age groups.

The data suggests that younger consumers are pivoting their behaviour more quickly and more dramatically.

As media surges, now is a better time than ever for brands to be communicating with consumers. Rather than pulling back ad spend, brands should harness the opportunity of what is set to be a long term media surge.


Insight 2 – Creators are adapting and leading the way

People have new needs and are seeking out different types of content to serve them.

For example, as restaurants and gyms close, interactions on Home Cooking and Fitness Class content have skyrocketed:

Out of home activities are being brought into the home, and celebrities and brands are reacting quickly. Natalie Portman has started doing cooking lessons, cooking class providers are asking consumers to post what they have in their house then suggesting recipes. Gyms are providing class livestreams over Instagram live.

This has extended to entertainment, with at-home performances from musicians such as Chris Martin as well as meditations, West End Shows and School Lessons being broadcast to huge audiences.

Scale stops being an issue when you livestream, with this English lesson from a teacher in Leighton Buzzard going out to 14,000 students!

People have even invited guests to join their weddings over Instagram live.

Creators are adapting and leading the way, the question brands should be asking is how can we learn from them and pivot to provide value for our consumers.


Insight 3 – Highstreet loss is not necessarily online gain

Some online retailers are doing well, but it’s important to understand that highstreet loss is not necessarily online gain.

Across the UK and Germany consumers are reporting decreased spend across both online and in-store.

As expected, the grocery category is up and the clothing category is down. As the Zara CEO rightly said, not many people will spend money on a new outfit when they’re not planning on leaving the house.

However, other categories we might expect to go up, such as entertainment (from people renting films etc.) have also dropped.

Surprisingly, we have also seen a drop in expenditure on food delivery.

The key insight from this is that people are being increasingly frugal. Financial uncertainty is causing consumers to tighten their purse strings and reduce spending on all but the essentials.

Brands need to be thinking about how they can adapt to a future where people are highly likely to have less disposable income than before.

How can you make sure you’re the first choice when people open their wallets back up?


Insight 4 – As people struggle, brands are stepping in

This is undeniably a tough time for brands. Many will perish, few will thrive.

Brands will be judged by how they respond to the crisis. Nike, who have a great reputation for leaning into culture (think that Colin Kaepernick campaign) have created a brilliant call to arms:

However, we’re in a time where actions mean a lot more than words. Nike have tied this creative to the action of making their Premium programming free of charge on their training app.

In Germany, Kaufland, have shown unity with other supermarkets.

Now is a time for brands to put aside their differences and find strength in unity.

Now is also a time for brands to give back as much as they can. In the UK we have already seen Guinness pledge £1million to bar tenders, McDonalds start providing free drinks for NHS workers and Tesco start offering them special opening hours.

As people struggle and brands step in, the question that needs to be asked is “What is the unique role my brand can play?”

For example, we’ve seen a lot of automotive brands pull out of advertising, but what perhaps they should be thinking is “How can we use our vehicles to help those that are struggling?”

The next COVID LIVE event will be held on 1st April at 2pm GMT. It will include updated data with more data points and markets.

We’ll provide another write up for that event so keep your eyes peeled.

Huge thanks to Facebook, specifically Andy Childs and Pete Buckley, for putting on this insight-packed webinar. From brands to agencies to consumers, now is a time for all of us to find strength in unity.




Insights Manager

Jamie spearheads the central insights offering at TIPi Group. He provides data-led consumer-centric insights which inform client strategies across our full spectrum of agencies.