Coronavirus Crisis is Dramatically Impacting Digital Media Consumption in Canada
A Canadian perspective on Comscore’s ongoing special investigation into how the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to significant audience and consumer behaviour changes across digital platforms.
- News, news and more news: Canadians are consuming news at a record pace
- Social media and messaging: Canadians are staying ultra-connected with their communities
- Entertainment, music, and spirituality content: increased consumption seen as behaviours change
- Government: information from government websites are becoming top-of-mind
- Finance: increased focus on investments and payments
News / Information Category
We have seen an explosion on engagement with news and information sites. In looking at the news categories and its subcategories, the week of Mar 9-15, 2020 saw big increases in engagement over the benchmark week of Dec 30, 2019 - Jan 5, 2020.
As a trend, news consumption in general is also on the rise in Canada in terms of aggregate daily unique visitors and visits over time.
Social Media and Messaging
As Canadians respond to the Coronavirus reality, we are seeing that their engagement with digital communication channels has increased significantly. When comparing daily engagement with email, instant messengers and social networking sites between the week of March 9-15, 2020 and the benchmark week of Dec 30, 2019 -Jan 5, 2020 as it relates to the % change in usage, we saw large increase in activity.
The raw increase in numbers in social media provides greater detailsof the growth in usage:
Entertainment, Music, and Religious/Spiritual Content
Content is Queen, King, Prince, and Princess – between the weeks of Dec 30– January 5 and March 9-15, greater amounts of time at home and the associated increased screen time drove incremental usage of the Entertainment category and the Religious/Spiritual subcategory.
Driving the growth is the explosion of Entertainment – Music, which saw an increase of 32% in aggregate daily UV, a 33% increase in visits, and a 31% increase in minutes during this time.
Another category that has seen an explosion of visitation and engagement is government sites. Overall there has been huge audience and time spent with government-related content.
Here is the build of visits and aggregate Daily UV over the past 10 weeks:
We reviewed the Government category between week of Dec 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020 to March 9 – March 15, 2020 and looked at the % change in usage, which really showed a large increase in activity by Canadians. Based on this trend and growing global cases of Coronavirus, it is expected that Canadian audiences will continue to flock to the content from the government in these uncertain times.
There is a saying that we hear in society – “Follow the Money”. The digital behavior of Canadians has been analogous in recent weeks as we have seen increased measures taken relating to the Coronavirus. Overall the Business/Finance category has seen some increased usage over the time period reviewed. Banking, Payments, Investments, and especially Taxes have seen high visitation. Between the week of Dec 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020 to March 9 – March 15, 2020 we saw an increase of +19% and +59%, respectively, in visits in the Investments and Payments subcategories.
Some additional insights at a glance from Comscore’s initial COVID-19 insights for Canada show that:
- Overall Digital Consumption across the Total Internet has increased. During the time period of this review visits have increased by 10% and time spent has increased by 14%
- In a time of crisis, people turn to News/Information Websites
- There have been significant increases in activity by Canadians on Social Media, Email, and Messaging pointing to the need for communication. Social distancing is safe on the internet.
- Interest soars for government information sources – where we see an explosion of usage.
- Increases in certain content Categories like Entertainment, Games, Music, Dating, and Religion/Spirituality have spiked
- Spikes in traffic are occurring for the e-commerce giants as social distancing and local restrictions impact in-store retail – with specific focus on Food and Supermarket
- Global movement restrictions lead to tumultuous traffic for travel sites