Last month, we passed the 1st anniversary of the UK going into lockdown due to Covid-19. It’s been a year of keeping ourselves entertained at home, staying in touch with loved ones from a distance, and looking back on normality with nostalgia. With the successful vaccine roll-out hopefully propelling us towards a better future, we took some time to reflect on the digital innovations that define our turbulent year.
The UK government has defined each stage of the pandemic with a somewhat unconvincing slogan, such as ‘stay home, save lives’, ‘hands, face, space’ or our personal favourite which urged UK citizens to ‘stay alert’. Alongside these catchy taglines, advertising has sporadically been used to remind the public of the dangers of the virus. This has included harrowing video footage of Covid patients.
As news of a vaccine came on to the scene, the advertising expanded to targeting those who were due a vaccination and was used to reassure those who may be sceptical. The vaccine uptake has been as high as 90% in some groups, proving the success of these campaigns.
Despite the government’s media strategy being criticized as confusing and de-moralising for the public, the advertising strategy during this strange period will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come. Government media spend on Covid-19 messaging was estimated at £100 million for 2020 alone.
Love it or hate it, in 2020 TikTok became the latest social media platform to capture the attention of social media users. Despite operating since 2016, the app shot to fame around March 2020. TikTok users post and watch short-form videos, and users took to the app to learn popular dances, record short comedy sketches, or if you’re like us, just for a bit of escapism-browsing! It is now the most downloaded App on the App Store and the fastest growing app on the market.
There have been concerns surrounding the safety of the app, whose target market is the under 18s. The Trump administration previously blocked the use of TikTok in the USA, citing security concerns, however, a group of TikTok creators successfully challenged the ban.
HouseParty & Zoom
The early days of lockdown involved online quizzes, FaceTime dates and Zoom parties. The most popular platforms to host these events were HouseParty and Zoom. HouseParty allows groups to interact in ‘locked rooms’ where they can chat and play a selection of games within the app.
Zoom is a more professional interface, which can be used for business meets or casual catch-ups. Both apps have seen a huge rise in users. Zoom’s most recent figures suggest the platform has 300 million daily meeting participants, compared to just 10 million in December 2019.
Remember when everyone was running 5K? Yeah us too, and before you ask, we don’t believe you did it in 14 minutes. Strava is a fitness app that allows users to record their sporting activities and connect with other users. At a time when it wasn’t possible to exercise with a friend, people took to Strava to record their daily exercise efforts. The app also launched indoor workout challenges for those self-isolating or shielding in their home. Strava users reached 55 million in 2020 – more than doubling since 2016. It will be interesting to see if this tails off once pub gardens are back on the agenda!
Live Streams – Facebook & Instagram Live
While live performances were cancelled all over the world, and we all missed our favourite forms of entertainment, live streaming became the second-best. Covid-19 dealt a huge blow to the entertainment industry. To try and lift spirits, comedy acts, West End shows and DJs took to Facebook or Instagram Live to stream their talents to bored households around the world.
Pros? You don’t have to move from the sofa or put on proper clothes, and no one steps on your toes or spills your drink. Cons? Unlike the real deal, the performance can be interrupted by a dodgy connection, and the atmosphere just isn’t the same as a crowded venue.
As we reflect on our quarantine-aversary, we’re interested to know which digital tools you used the most in lockdown and if you are carrying them with you as we resume normality. If you’re a business interested in upping your digital marketing efforts as lockdown eases, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.