Social media engagement updates on optimal timings

As people were instructed to stay home, and professionals, regardless of their industry, had no choice other than to work from home, social media listening tools have seen more shift in social media behaviours compared to the previous year.

In April, Sprout Social released data on social media activities across social media platforms during the pandemic.

Pre-COVID, Facebook’s optimal time for posting was during Wednesdays, 11 AM and between 1 to 2 PM*. During the lockdown, it has deviated to Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 11 AM, with a slight peak at 11 AM compared to the rest of the day.

Likewise, Instagram has experienced an expansion on optimal timings from Wednesday, 11 AM and Friday, 10 AM to 11 AM, to a busier schedule throughout the week. During the pandemic, the following days were marked as the best times for posting: Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 11 AM, and Tuesday at 2 PM.

Compared to the first two platforms, LinkedIn has shown a slighter difference on activities pre and during the pandemic. It’s not surprising as the platform is made for professional networking. Current best times for posting for LinkedIn is on Wednesday at 3 PM, Thursday between 9 to 10 AM, and Friday from 11 AM to12 noon.

In addition, Sprout Social has noted LinkedIn engagement to start and end later as compared to previous observations, with activities starting at 8 AM rather than 7 AM and finishing at 4 PM instead of the recent 3 PM record.

Numbers don’t lie: Ad spent review

In Social Bakers’ report, “COVID-19 Is Changing Behaviour on Social Media for Both Brands and Users,” worldwide ad spend has increased by 32.3% while Facebook cost-per-click rose up to 10%, only in the first three weeks of April 2020.

The report also states that paid reach going further. While the overall reach for Facebook page brands went down in mid-March, brands who allocated budget for their posts and taken advantage of the lower ad cost have experienced higher page reach in from mid-March to mid-April.

Lower ad cost during the same period was observed to be caused by lower CPC in brands overall, pushing Facebook to advertise cheaper. However, as the pandemic put a heavy toll on finances across all industries, it is evident that brands spent lower regardless of cheaper costs. Accommodation industry, for example, spent 2.3.5% less on their ad spend in the last two months.

On a brighter side, a more recent report from Socialbakers has seen an increase in KPIs as we enter a new phase of the pandemic. The growth in digital was felt across regions and data suggest that it will bounce back once they get the coronavirus under control. Indeed, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for both social media marketers and small businesses alike.

A peek to the post-pandemic world

The normal we know is when social teams can plan content a few months in advance. But the digital industry has proven enough that we can be flexible enough when faced with challenges, even the one that forced us to stay under our roofs for months with no certainty until when!

COVID-19 taught us to re-think ways of reaching out to our audience while we are consistently advised to practise social distancing until we slowly get back to business as usual. Most brands have gone digital, and so are their customers. We can confidently assume that metrics will improve soon, and social marketers and businesses are equipped with ample learnings to face the next curveball the pandemic throws their way.

*Timings are in Central Time Zone (CST)