The Pulse: Social Media in Society

The Pulse of the American Consumer is focused on continued insight into consumer sentiments for businesses across all industries.

 

With the Facebook accusations that happened last week, as well as the outage across all of Facebook’s platforms, we asked consumers how they were impacted, which social media platforms they use most often, and what essential functions social media  does for them. Consumers also gave input into how social media is affecting our overall society. In order for businesses to have the most success connecting with their consumers, they have to understand them – what they are interested in, what they need, and how they feel. At ENGINE, we have the real-time pulse of the consumer, today, and always. Throughout 2021, we will be offering weekly insights through identifying important data points and trends from the voice of the consumer.

 

KEY FINDINGS AS OF October 10, 2021:

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The Pulse of the American Consumer v37 pt 1
The Pulse of the American Consumer v37 pt 2

If you would like more information on ENGINE CARAVAN surveys, contact us below:

At ENGINE, we will be keeping up with the pulse of the consumer throughout 2021, and are regularly running our CARAVAN surveys on current social issues. Contact us at caravaninfo@enginegroup.com for more information or for the full CARAVAN survey findings.

This Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys were conducted on January 8-10, January 15-17, January 22-24, January 29-31, February 5-7, February 12-14,  February 19-21, February 26-28, March 5-7, March 12-14, March 19-21, March 26-28, April 2-4, April 9-11, April 16-18, April 23-25, April 30-May 2, May 7-9, May 14-16, May 21-23, June 2-6, June 11-13, June 18-20, June 25-27, July 9-11, July 16-18, July 23-25, July 30-August 1,  August 6-8, August 13-15, August 20-22, August 27-29, September 10-12, September 17-19, September 24-26, October 1-3, and October 8-10, 2021. Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative.

Written by the CARAVAN team at ENGINE Insights.

The Pulse of the American Consumer

Consumer Insights for Business

Social media’s role in society and the political environment in the U.S. are just a few things on the minds of Americans this week.

Gain insight on these issues and more in this week’s The Pulse of the American Consumer.

Social Media Usage

Which of the following social media platforms have you used in the past 7 days?

*Base = Have at least one active account for a social media platform

  • 74% — Facebook
    • 47% Gen Z
    • 78% Millennials
    • 76% Gen X
    • 79% Baby Boomers
  • 54% — YouTube
    • 71% Gen Z
    • 64% Millennials
    • 55% Gen X
    • 40% Baby Boomers
  • 45% — Instagram
    • 72% Gen Z
    • 53% Millennials
    • 36% Gen X
    • 26% Baby Boomers
  • 25% — TikTok
    • 56% Gen Z
    • 31% Millennials
    • 25% Gen X
    • 10% Baby Boomers
  • 23% — Twitter
    • 30% Gen Z
    • 30% Millennials
    • 28% Gen X
    • 11% Baby Boomers
  • 21% — Snapchat
    • 50% Gen Z
    • 32% Millennials
    • 16% Gen X
    • 4% Baby Boomers
  • 17% — Pinterest
  • 14% — WhatsApp
  • 10% — LinkedIn
  • 9% — Reddit

As you probably know, earlier this week Facebook and its associated platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp experienced a service outage that lasted several hours. During this time, which of the following applied to your personally?

*Base = Have an active Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp account and used any of them in the past 7 days

  • 16% You contacted friends/family members to see if they knew what was happening
  • 15% You signed on to Facebook as soon as you were aware it came back online
  • 14% You came to realize you don’t ‘need’ Facebook and its platforms as much as you thought
  • 14% You felt a sense of relief abou tbeing able to disconnect for awhile
  •  13% You felt anxious about being disconnected for so long
  • 13% You were worried that your personally identifiable information (PII)  was compromised
  • 8% You went to Twitter to stay in touch with current events
  • 8% It directly impacted your ability to work/do your job/promote your business
  • 27% I didn’t even know there was an outage during the time

Which of the following do you consider essential functions that social media platforms do for you?

  • 57% Staying in touch with family/friends
    • 41% Gen Z
    • 54% Millennials
    • 55% Gen X
    • 68% Baby Boomers
  • 33% Simply having a welcome distraction from everyday life
  • 31% Learning about local events/things to do in your community
  • 26% Getting ideas for home decor/recipes/crafts
  • 26% Following media networks/news stories/current events
  • 23% Selling and/or seeking products/services
  • 20% Learning about information related to health/medical issues
  • 18% Gathering vacation ideas/vacation planning
  • 18% Staying up to date on companies you’re interested in
    • 18% Gen Z
    • 26% Millennials
    • 20% Gen X
    • 10% Baby Boomers
  • 17% Learning more about political figures/candidates
    • 25% Gen Z
    • 18% Millennials
    • 15% Gen X
    • 14% Baby Boomers
  • 16% Following your favorite sports teams/leagues
    • 21% Gen Z
    • 22% Millennials
    • 14% Gen X
    • 11% Baby Boomers

Despite extreme polarization on many issues today, Republicans and Democrats are largely aligned when it concerns most of these statements regarding social media platforms.

 

To what extent do you agree or disagree with these statements regarding the role of social media platforms in society?

  • I am concerned about the impact they have on children/young adults
    • 82% Agree [Net]
      • 85% Republicans
      • 83% Democrats
    • 43% Strongly Agree
  • They have too much influence on everyday life
    • 76% Agree [Net]
      • 78% Republicans
      • 77% Democrats
    • 38% Strongly Agree
  • I find myself thinking more and more that social media platforms just aren’t worth the trouble
    • 68% Agree [Net]
      • 68% Republicans
      • 69% Democrats
    • 32% Strongly Agree
  • After seeing what happened with the Facebook outage, I am more concerned about the security of my personally identifiable information (PII) over social media
    • 64% Agree [Net]
      • 65% Republicans
      • 65% Democrats
    • 27% Strongly Agree
  • I would feel far less connected to my family and friends if social media didn’t exist
    • 61% Agree [Net]
      • 58% Republicans
      • 69% Democrats
    • 25% Strongly Agree
  • They require more government oversight
    • 61% Agree [Net]
      • 60% Republicans
      • 68% Democrats
    • 25% Strongly Agree
  • I would like to make a concerted effort to rely on them far less, but just can’t seem to do it
    • 47% Agree [Net]
      • 45% Republicans
      • 51% Democrats
    • 17% Strongly Agree
  • They are important to my daily routines, and I can’t ever see myself ‘disconnecting’
    • 46% Agree [Net]
      • 44% Republicans
      • 51% Democrats
    • 15% Strongly Agree

 

Current Events

How optimistic or anxious do each of the following make you at this moment in time?

*Comparisons are made from September 4-6, 2021. 

  • 0 – Extremely Anxious
    • 3.9 (+.4) – The political environment in the United States
    • 4.3 (+.1) – The U.S. economy
    • 4.5 (+.1) – The impact social media platforms have on everyday life
    • 4.8 (+.5) – Matters specifically related to the Coronavirus
  • 5 – Neutral
    • 6.0 (+.1) – Your health and wellbeing
  • 10 – Extremely Optimistic

How concerned are you about these issues?

*Demographic differences are based on ‘Very Concerned’

  • The rate by which more and more issues are becoming politicized, rather than trying to find common ground
    • 86% Concerned (Net)
    • 50% Very Concerned
      • 51% Republicans
      • 52% Democrats
  • The continuing impact of disinformation on society
    • 83% Concerned (Net)
    • 50% Very Concerned
      • 49% Republicans
      • 52% Democrats
  • Information about the Coronavirus and vaccines that is distributed over social media platforms but not based in any fact
    • 80% Concerned (Net)
    • 46% Very Concerned
      • 40% Republicans
      • 55% Democrats
  • Legislation that is crucial to the future of the U.S. being stalled in the Senate and not getting passed
    • 77% Concerned (Net)
    • 40% Very Concerned
      • 33% Republicans
      • 48% Democrats

 

To what extend do you agree or disagree with each of these statements?

*Demographic differences are based on Agree (Net)

  • It is a priority for me to vote in the 2022 midterm elections for Congress and/or Senate
    • 76% Agree
      • 58% Gen Z
      • 75% Millennials
      • 72% Gen X
      • 85% Baby Boomers
    • 50% Strongly Agree
  • On the whole, social media does more harm than good towards advancing society
    • 72% Total Agree
      • 67% Republicans
      • 84% Democrats
    • 33% Strongly Agree
  • I trust the medical community’s recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine
    • 68% Total Agree
      • 56% Republicans
      • 83% Democrats
    • 32% Strongly Agree
  • I think Facebook and Twitter have made the proper decision by continuing to ban Donald Trump from their platforms
    • 58% Total Agree
      • 25% Republicans
      • 85% Democrats
    • 37% Strongly Agree

45% of U.S. Adults are concerned that COVID-19 will prevent them from celebrating either Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, or Halloween this year as they normally would (representing a 10% decrease since August 13th-15th, 2021).

This is much higher among vaccinated respondents (49%) than their unvaccinated counterparts (29%).

 

 

Dig deeper with the ENGINE Insights COVID Dashboard

The ENGINE COVID-19 dashboard delivers an easy-to-use, self-serve platform providing access to all of our COVID-19 tracking data including industry specific deep-dives and online behavioral data. This tool puts ENGINE’s data in your hands to uncover meaningful insights to your specific business questions.