Wunderman Thompson launches social media and COVID study

Wunderman Thompson, University of Melbourne and Pollfish, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation are launching a study into social media habits of Gen Z and Millenials during the pandemic.

The announcement:

Wunderman Thompson, University of Melbourne and Pollfish collaborated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to conduct and launch Social Media & COVID-19: A Global Study of Digital Crisis Interaction among Gen Z and Millennials.

The international study surveyed 23,500 citizens in 24 countries (aged 18 to 40) between Oct 24 2020, and Jan 7 2021, and investigates:

  • Where Gen Z and Millennials in pandemic hotspots are getting their COVID-19 information
  • Who they trust as sources
  • What are their concerns as a result of the pandemic and their awareness of false news.

It also looks at the size of their social media networks, how likely they are to share unverified information and how they build their own crisis narratives.

Insights from this study will be relevant to governments, health organizations, educators, media and businesses to help sharpen their health communications.

Based on initial findings, 6 key insights were developed and are shown below. And an in-depth report will be available at the end of April, 2021.

Key Insight 1: Mainstream media is still tops, although Gen Z and Millennials rely on multiple sources for their COVID-19 information. Friends and family ranked lower in terms of sources of information.

Top sources of information include:

  • 43.6% national news media
  • 36.2% search platforms
  • 35.2% international news media
  • 34.2% social media content from traditional media

Key Insight 2: Science content is seen as shareworthy

What Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to share on social media :

  • 43.9% scientific content
  • 36.7% information relevant to themselves
  • 28.5% information that is concerning.

Key Insight 3: Awareness of false news is high, but so is apathy

  • 59.1% of respondents were very aware that COVID-19 information on social media and messaging platforms could be false
  • 35.% of respondents ignore content that they find out to be false

Key Insight 4: Gen Z and Millennials have multiple worries beyond getting sick

Top concerns included:

  • 55.5% risk of friends and family contracting COVID-19
  • 53.8% economy crashing
  • 39.8% employment uncertainty

Crashing economy is the top concern of respondents in half of 24 countries surveyed.

Key Insight 5: Interest in vaccines is soaring

  • 55.0% are interested in information regarding a COVID-19 vaccine
  • 41.9% state that social media content by the WHO would be their first source of vaccine information

Key Insight 6: So much information, yet not the full picture

  • 58.3% are overwhelmed by information
  • 52.0% have stopped paying attention to COVID-19 news
  • 59.3% feel the media is not telling them everything
  • 57.1% feel that their government is not giving the full picture on the pandemic

The research was conducted and led by Wunderman Thompson’s APAC Chief Data Officer Thomas Brauch, APAC Intelligence Director Chen May Yee and the University of Melbourne’s Professor of Digital Communication and Globalization (Faculty of Arts), Ingrid Volkmer.

The 24-country survey was conducted by Pollfish.

Source: WPP AUNZ media release


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