User engagement rates (ER) are an important indicator. When engagement rates are high, it signifies that users are more immersed in the content that they are viewing. Across the board, growth has been staggering. There has been steady growth week over week since the beginning of February, adding up to an overall growth of 57% by the first week of May.
After analyzing data points from all categories across the Primis publisher network, we were able to paint a picture of what is happening across the different verticals. We’ve tried to provide not only how many are interested in a certain category (measured by overall impressions), but also how interested they are (measured by user engagement).
The Food, DIY and Home categories are showing strong growth both in consumption (54%, 85% and 198%, respectively) and in engagement rates (27%, 48% and 22%, respectively). It seems that the lockdown is encouraging people to take better care of themselves and their wellbeing. Looking ahead, it’s likely a good bet that this trend will continue until people begin going outside again en masse.
In the Business category, the content consumption trend appears to match the volatility of the market. If there is one thing we know about the market, it is that its unpredictability will keep getting users to come back and get their information.
In a not so unexpected turn of events, Sports and Travel have fallen drastically across all metrics. While sports is showing a 43% decrease in video consumption, travel shows an even more drastic 95% drop! However, they may be the most profitable when looking forward.
If we can learn anything from the popularity of “The Last Dance” and the NFL draft, it’s that when live sports come back, they will be back with a vengeance. Same goes for travel, because of the massive amounts of information people are going to need about traveling in a post-corona world. Once travel restrictions begin to gradually lift, consumers will want to know how to safely travel, what destinations are allowing tourists, which airlines are flying and other guidance. This may be the perfect time to order an advertising package to sports and travel websites.
In the Kids category both impressions and engagement metrics are looking very positive with parents effectively being forced to homeschool their children. However, they may be facing a decline come summer vacation, and with parents expected to go back to the office.
The most impressive growth is seen in the Gaming category. There are more gamers across more generations and nations than ever before, and now they have the time and resources to enjoy their hobby (relatively) guilt-free. Also, taking advantage of the drop in sports, gaming could be taking their cultural market share. These shifts, both gradual and immediate, have caused engagement to jump by 242% rise since the beginning of February.
The Numbers by Category
The benchmark for all graphs are impression numbers and engagement rates from the start of February.
We have seen a stagnation in impression growth after the peak we saw at the beginning of March. But while in mid March there was a drop in engagement rates, since then there has been steady growth.
There has been a drop in impressions since the peak of mid-March, with big fluctuations from week to week. The growth in engagement did not stop, rather it has more than doubled since mid-March.
Interesting to note that volume events make up a big part of this growth, which can indicate the kind of engagement business users have with video content, having it continue to play, as they scroll down the page while reading the article.
Impressions are crashing after a peak in mid-March. On the other hand, engagement has more than doubled, which is expected when impressions are down, leaving only the most niche users to interact with the unit.
There is an ongoing rise in consumption since the start of the pandemic, which is showing no signs of slowing down. Interestingly, the rise in engagement is even more extreme with a whopping 242% rise since the beginning of February. The most dramatic changes are in full screen and playlist events, showing deep levels of engagement.
Similar to gaming, people have more time at home, which means more time for cooking. This activity has garnered higher consumption rates coupled with an even bigger increase in engagement.
The vertical has experienced an expected drop of almost 100% in consumption rates. After a similar downward trend in engagement, we have started to see some changes since the beginning of April.
The category started the pandemic with a drop in consumption rates until mid-April when it started to rise, coupled with a corresponding increase in engagement.
Home websites are seeing a small increase in video consumption rates throughout the pandemic, but in the last few weeks the growth is accelerating. The engagement has also started to rise since the start of April.
The lockdown in most of the world led to much more children’s content being consumed, almost doubling consumption rates. Lately, the engagement rate has doubled, accelerating an upward trend since mid-March.