Roughly a third of consumers globally engaged with social media ads more amid the pandemic

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
March 19, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC
Social media usage and engagement has changed drastically in the age of COVID-19, with 30% of consumers globally saying they paid more attention or interacted more with social media ads during this time. This can be attributed to national lockdowns and public restrictions meaning people spent more time at home and – with fewer ways to use their spare time – in front of their devices. 
 
These circumstances led to a sharp rise in social media usage and in turn created an increased amount of engagement with social media ads. In a recent global study, we tracked the impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviors in 17 countries around the world. YouGov's International Media Consumption Report 2021 examines the changes in how frequently people consumed media including how our usage of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have changed. 
 
A look at social media engagement around the globe shows differences in the degree to which people are paying attention to or interacting with social media ads. For example, the impact of the pandemic on social media behavior is especially apparent in places like India, Indonesia, China, UAE, and Mexico, where roughly half of people in each market agree they have been engaging more with these types of ads. Along with Singapore, these five markets over-index in their agreement that they’ve been paying attention to social media ads more when compared with the global rate of 30% across 17 markets. 
 
As explored in YouGov’s new report, not everyone flocked to social media and in countries such as Great Britain, the proportion of people who didn’t visit any social media sites doubled, begging the question of whether the pandemic has pushed some of us away from these platforms. Similarly, not everyone says they’ve been interacting with social media ads more and in places such as the UK, US, Poland, France, Germany, Denmark and Australia, people are significantly more likely to disagree that they’ve been engaging in this behavior. 
Consumers and brands are moving forward after an especially challenging year, but where exactly do we find ourselves now? The sheer length and severity of the coronavirus crisis means many aspects of life as we know it have been impacted and YouGov has been tracking the shifts in behavior since the onset of the pandemic.  
 
Download YouGov's International Media Consumption Report 2021 and find out more about how consumers around the globe and their behaviors have changed. 
 
MethodologyThe data is based on the interviews of 18,929 adults across 17 markets. All interviews were conducted online between December 31, 2020 and January 15, 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.