Social Media Use During the Holidays - Volume Usage
Direct, reliable data on holiday season volume usage across social media channels in the US does not appear to be available in the public domain. Still, our findings give insights into whether the usage decreases or increases in the holiday season, as well as how the usage fluctuates throughout the holiday season.
- According to a Twitter social listening session that took place in late 2014 and 2015, occurrence of common phrases on Twitter peaked in two instances: in early October 2014 and shortly after New Year, in early January 2015. The occurrence of common phrases was also fairly high in early November.
- On the other hand, the occurrence of common phrases was at its lowest around Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- During the same social listening session, the phrase "go shopping" appeared the most around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Throughout the rest of the year, this phrase was relatively rarely mentioned.
- In 2015, Facebook revealed its platform sees a 26% increase in posts in the holiday season, which it defines as the period between November 1 through January 1. According to Facebook's Business department, 20% of Facebook users start holiday shopping already in October.
- Facebook also announced that this holiday season, shoppers are expected to start shopping earlier than usual.
- According to Disruptive Advertising, the most mobile traffic in December occurs on the day after Christmas.
The research team was unable to analyze the US holiday season social media usage trends, after attempting to obtain relevant information in the following ways:
First, the research team conducted a search for graphs, charts and other statistical information on month-over-month social media usage. Our goal was to examine social media usage values for each month and compare them with social media usage in the last 4 months of the year, in order to determine whether the usage increases, decreases or fluctuates. Statistical sources such as Statista were searched, as well as research databases such as ResearchGate, where we hoped to find studies on this topic. The search attempt was unsuccessful because available data focused on irrelevant things such as the increase in general social media usage, the average minutes spent on social media per day on a yearly basis, or social media usage by age. No graphs, charts or other reliable statistical information focused on social media usage per each month.
We then turned to searching expert commentary on this topic. Here, our goal was to locate relevant insights on how social media usage fluctuates during the year, directly in reports written by marketing experts, social media experts or in interviews with such individuals. Some of the sources searched include marketing consultancies such as We Are Social, data providers such as WARC, as well as research agencies such as Forrester. Even though some monthly social listening information was obtained this way, no insights directly pointed out whether social media usage increases or decreases during the fourth quarter.
Next, we searched for usage information published by each social media network individually (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc.). We checked annual reports from Google, Pinterest and Twitter, among other social media networks, but were unable to locate any concrete statistical information on monthly usage fluctuations, or usage fluctuations during certain holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Seasonal internet usage fluctuations were mentioned in annual reports, but the companies didn't go in depth on these fluctuations.
We ultimately resorted to approaching this research from the consumers’ point of view. We searched for consumer surveys that consult Americans on the time of the year they use social media the most. This information would then be used to determine whether social media usage increases or decreases during the fourth quarter and how it fluctuates within the holiday season, but no relevant surveys were found. Consumer research sources such as Deloitte, PwC and Pew Research were searched, but the available surveys focused on active users within a given year, rather than specific months or quarters.