The widespread imprisonment imposed worldwide by the new coronavirus epidemic in 2020 has slowed economies, affected all types of productive activities and reordered the habits of families.
Audience analytics firm ComScore recently published a study showing how these new circumstances changed news consumption and access to social networks in Latin America during the past year.
Between February and March 2020, digital media consumption in the region increased drastically, as people sought information about coronavirus and its effects worldwide and the number of infections grew at a breakneck pace.
The biggest jump was in Argentina, Peru and Chile. The same happened with educational venues, while face-to-face classes were suspended and distance education was organized. This was particularly notable in Chile, Peru and Brazil.
Chile had the largest increase
Chile was the country where digital viewership grew the most, i.e. where the number of people selected to consume online content was higher than in the previous year. The 7% growth in 2020 is double the growth registered in other countries in the region. In Brazil, which already had strong digital engagement, the growth was 1%.
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Argentina spent the most time investing in this type of content: an average of 137 hours in September. Brazilians spent about 108 hours a month on digital media, while Mexico averaged 89 hours.
This increase was not just in news consumption. The use of instant messaging needed to maintain contact with family, friends and colleagues during the social distance increased by 127%.
Educational content, 64%. Consumption of trade and financial information (associated with the slowdown in each country’s economies and the expectation of recovery) increased by 56% in September 2020 compared with the same period in the previous year.
Among the messaging and video calling applications, zoom increased the most: 2,711%. It has surpassed 150 million unique visitors to its website, matching Google Meet. Both services were unknown to most people and have become necessary for both online classes and virtual work meetings.
Other services that were adding users were Telegram, (rival to WhatsApp), Discord (group voice calling service) and HouseParty, which combine group video calls with online games. The peak of interest was around April.
Another highlight of the study is the tool to access digital content. Other fundamental data highlighting the study concerns access tools. In Brazil and Mexico, 87% of the time was invested in applications, services and digital content using cell phones. In Argentina, 86%.
Brazil and Mexico are among the countries that use the most smartphones in the world, behind only Indonesia and India. Fifth and sixth place are Spain and Italy, followed by Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Canada and the United States, according to ComScore estimates.
This is attributed to the popularity of both cell phones (Latin America has more phone lines than residents) and the lack of adequate devices at home such as computers at the onset of the epidemic. Many families have had to use smartphones or tablets to meet the communication needs of all their members.
For example, Peru has a greater presence of users who connect only to computers. Brazil and Mexico have a large contingent that connects only through a cell phone. Argentina and Chile are more multipliers, using both types of equipment.
Instagram gain more space
The ComScore study assumes that Instagram was the social network that generated proportionately more interactions in Latin America in 2020. Although Facebook generated slightly more interaction (measuring the total volume), Instagram has fewer users. Therefore, the study made a more dynamic estimate.
Argentina is the country where both platforms are closest in interaction (47% for Facebook and 45% for Instagram, followed by 5.9% on Twitter and 2.1% with YouTube), while Peru has a large disparity: 72% of social interactions The network is followed by Instagram with 21.5% on Facebook.
In between are Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico with similar values: Facebook and Instagram account for over 90% of interactions, with little preference by users for Facebook, measuring the total volume.
Brazil gives too much ‘choice’
A curious fact is that Brazil and Mexico, the region’s most populous countries, present a close number of publications made on social networks. ComScore estimates that in 2020, Brazil had 17.6 million posts on the network, and Mexico had 15.4 million.
But Brazilian publications produced many other interactions per post (thousand, on average) than the Mexican ones (in greater numbers, closer to the rest of the region). In other words: reacting in one way or another to a publication in Brazil, whatever it may be, is more common.
And what do users see most on social media? According to the report, “Publications by influencers in Latin America already represent 16.3% of the total content.
Among the more than 250 categories on Facebook and Instagram, the most interaction-generating influence in the region is football players. He is followed by singers, fashion and beauty influencers and TV personalities.
To give you an idea, over the course of 2020, 1.8 million interactions were received from the posts of Neymar, Lionel Messi, Dhanna Paola, Maluma, Arturo Vidal and Luciana Fuster. The response to these posts also suggests a way to consume digital content based on cell phones, which is in the palm of your hand.
Horizontal to vertical
No wonder 58% of interactions are generated by publications that contain vertical videos, and 84% of advertisers prefer this format, as it is more suited to the most natural consumption of networks: in the palm of the hand on a mobile screen Honest position, not office desktop computer or TV.
This shift from horizontal to consumption, which prevailed in the 20th century, is already known for vertical over the last decade, but studies show that this is a concerted trend: mobile content, even excellence, vertical and compact is. And it was on these small cell phone screens that entertainment, communication, news, sports and more were combined in the lives of those who lived at the height of the quarantine of the epidemic.