Facebook has published a new report which looks at how our interactive behaviors have shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what that means for consumption and marketing behaviors moving forward.
The 23-page report, which includes insights from consumer behavior experts Jonathan Freeman and David Birch, looks at both the ways in which people are currently socializing online, and how consumers are interacting with businesses, and what each might mean for brands moving forward.
And there are some valuable points of note - you can download the full guide here, but below is a look at some of the key points.
As noted, the main focus is on how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed our interactive process.
As explained by Facebook:
"In a pandemic, connection looks very different and involves reimagining life as we once knew it: conducting meetings from kitchen tables, checking in on grandparents via video and celebrating weddings virtually. As the ways people connect and communicate rapidly evolve, a new normal is emerging for human interactions."
Will those behavioral shifts last beyond the pandemic period? The report's authors suggest tat some elements may become more common, including interaction based around games and online events, which could be a rising consideration for communicators.
"For some people, the outside world feels volatile and unpredictable, but virtual worlds are offering a sanctuary. Globally, 82% of people played video games and watched video game content during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to fulfilling people’s need for escapism, these virtual worlds have become exciting arenas for new social interactions, with live in-game concerts attracting millions of viewers."
Indeed, various platforms have facilitated new forms of digital events, with TikTok hosting a virtual concert by The Weeknd and popular video game Fortnite hosting in-game events featuring big name stars. One of those virtual concerts, from rapper Travis Scott, saw 12.3 million players logged on to take part.
Will this become a bigger consideration in future? Will the trend towards virtual events and meet-ups dissipate once we can meet in person once again?
The report suggests that, right now, brands should be considering the community value of shared digital experiences like this, in order to foster engagement, which could become a more significant consideration moving forward.
Another key consideration raised in the report is the rise of cashless payments, and the increasing need for brands to meet the demand for alternative payment options.
"The use of cash to pay has been steadily declining for a number of years. In 2017, cards overtook cash as the most common payment method in the UK, and it’s predicted that half of Swedish retailers will stop accepting bills before 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated this transition to a cashless society for two key reasons: concerns about virus transmission through coins and notes and the widespread uptake of e-commerce."
And that's not only relative to cards in-store - according to Facebook, digital channels like messaging apps are also becoming increasingly popular for payments.
Facebook says that brands need to consider these shifts, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, as this is where consumer expectations are shifting, and businesses will increasingly need to provide alternate payment options to meet such demand.
"Simple, quick and contact-free payment options are likely to sway purchasing decisions. Brands could consider optimizing their payment processes with safety, security and seamlessness as priorities."
The full report includes more insight about the specific of each shift, and how businesses can adapt to meet these changing demands. And the insights are definitely worth considering - many things will likely go back to how they were after the pandemic, but some changes are extensions of pre-existing shifts that have been accelerated by COVID-19, meaning that they'll become more significant factors moving forward.
You can download the full "Connected Convenience" report here.