The Consumer Intelligence Blog - Infegy

What Brands Need To Know About Coronavirus

Part I: Conversation Overview + Trends

It’s an uncertain time. Understanding consumer conversation and how people feel is more important than ever.


The coronavirus and the illness COVID-19 has moved into our world and swiftly changed how consumers and brands think, feel and act.


It’s disrupted everyone’s lives and transformed our day-to-days in ways no one could have predicted. Making matters worse: rising cases in the United States and Europe and an increasing likelihood of people being directly affected.

For consumers, this is a scary time. The spread of the disease itself has produced anxieties and concerns that organizations of all different stripes must pay careful attention to. For companies, one big question is how to serve customers appropriately, helpfully and sincerely.

We dove into research using social listening insights to understand what is going on in the world of social media and the conversations surrounding coronavirus. This will be Part I in a series dedicated to helping you understand how consumers are talking online and what they are passionate or concerned about.

Now, let’s dig in to data we hope you find valuable:


Consumer Coronavirus Conversation Dominates More Than Any Other Major Topic

Some of the biggest events over the years pale in comparison to the online conversation volume about the coronavirus.


When comparing coronavirus conversation to other major worldwide events, this is by far one of the largest social topics that we have followed in the past 10 years.


Event % of Social Conversation Dates Analyzed
Brexit  . 4% 5/1/16 - now
World Cup 3.9% 6/18/18 - 7/18/18
Christmas 2.3% 11/1/19 - 12/21/19
Superbowl 2% 2/3/20
Coronavirus 8% 3/1/20 - now


Breaking down the mentions by time period shows the staggering stronghold this crisis has on global consumer conversation (excluding news sources):

Average mentions per week:  Number of mentions per second:  Impressions:
10,058,002 37 7.9b


Knowing that this is the leading topic for consumers everywhere right now, what are people talking about as it relates to the pandemic? We found some fascinating and critical information about what is top-of-mind for people right now, which we’ll go over next.


Organic Consumer Coronavirus Conversation Conveys What Consumers Care About Most 

Which topics and issues related to the COVID-19 are consumers most concerned with?


Social listening analysis provides a glimpse of which issues have captivated consumer interest or anxieties over the last month.


We looked at how people talk about the coronavirus online from their own perspective across the web (removing news sources and publications), allowing us to look at what topics are driving the consumer conversation.


This analysis reveals which issues rise to the top: the pandemic response, how to support the fight, social distancing, buying supplies and the latest news/predicting what happens next. Take a look: 



Consumer Coronavirus Conversation Themes with Social Listening


So, what does the data say about the evolution of consumer conversations? The biggest growth week over week in the last 2 weeks was: 

  • Current response to pandemic - 108% increase in conversation
  • How to help support and help fight - 90%
  • What's happening today/tomorrow - 80%
  • Social distancing - 71%


When looking to see which terms, phrases and keywords lead conversations related to the coronavirus for the week of March 15 we see pandemic, outbreak, spread, social distancing, work, updates, today, “stay safe” and washing your hands jump out in our analysis.


Coronavirus Conversation Analysis Wordcloud with Social Listening


However, you don’t just want to look at one window in time. Conversations from consumers do change as the situation develops. You can see here how the topics consumers are most concerned about evolves week-to-week:

Coronavirus Data Gif

Here is a current live view of the consumer conversation word cloud. Use the arrows at the bottom to see trending hashtags.



Now, we’ll show you what the data says about how the news media is covering the crisis.


News Stories Can Frame Coronavirus Conversation 

While the general public’s conversations matter most to companies, organizations and brands who need to know how consumer conversations develop along with the crisis, it’s also crucial to look at how the news drives the way people are observing the pandemic.


When we analyzed the online conversation about the coronavirus pandemic, but excluded all channels except news sources, we found some notable trends and differences from the consumer conversation:


Coronavirus News Conversations Analysis with Social Listening


You see the news is focused on topics like:

  • “Global Pandemic”
  • “Death Toll and Testing”
  • “Breaking news on deaths”
  • “Resources to help”


Analysts can look at the data and recognize there are important differences between consumer conversations and news to pinpoint what those larger implications are for their organization’s unique situation.

We Are Here To Help Both Clients and the Industry

In this time of crisis, now more than ever brands need to listen to what people are saying, closely and sincerely. Find out what their concerns are and learn how they think and feel about this pandemic and their life situations affected by it. Listen to how they are reacting to this crisis and be empathetic to their wants, needs and pains. 


Remember: their lives and lifestyles have suddenly changed in profound ways.  We don’t yet know the long-term psychological and anthropological effects of this pandemic.


In the very least, people’s lives everywhere are completely disrupted. Many, on the other hand, are struggling or suffering. This means constantly being in tune with what people are saying and going out of your way to reach their needs. 


When it comes to customer experience, this is for sure: brands everywhere need to adapt quickly, and do so using data, not just guessing.


Click here to read Part II of our series: Quarantine Life: How Consumers Talk About Their Lives While Social Distancing.


Having the tools and resources to serve customers in a helpful, ethical, efficient and respectful manner is more important than ever before. 


During this time, our team at Infegy is offering 1-2 customized coronavirus insights in real-time inside our social listening platform for you to leverage. This isn’t a sales pitch. We believe this is a critical moment for all, and we want to be here to help your team do right by your customers. Just click here to let us know your questions and reserve time with our team.