New Intent Lab Research Explores the “Pandemic Reset,” Discovers that Consumers Turn to Social Media for Information to Reset

As the pandemic continued to accelerate digital adoption in every aspect of our lives, consumers’ digital satisfaction also increased, according to a new study by the Intent Lab, a research partnership between Performics and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications.

The Intent Lab has been tracking consumers’ satisfaction with their digital experiences since Q2 2016. Consumers are now particularly satisfied with experiences in social media, which has been increasing since March 2020.

The study found that the pandemic has caused many people to change their lifestyles.  48% of study participants said they have experienced a “pandemic reset,” rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued and how they spend their time. 44% of participants have changed their lifestyle, and 45% said they want to change their employment status.  35% revealed that they are wanting a radical career change.  Other “resets” include location of home, health and fitness, education and diet. 

So where do digital experiences fit in this reset?  54% of participants said that social networking platforms have been the most helpful during the pandemic, far above other digital mediums like mainstream online media (31%), entertainment sites (28%), message boards (16%) and job boards (14%).

People craved social interactions in the pandemic, whether in real life with friends and family, or online.  And 22% said they went to social media as the source of information to make a lifestyle change.  

Furthermore, the pandemic has increased consumer need for digital personalization.  Over the last year, more consumers have indicated that they “appreciate receiving personalized recommendations based on [their] past behavior” and “wish the information [they] receive online was better prioritized based on [their] preferences.” But consumers are aware that, with personalization, comes sacrifice of digital privacy; fewer respondents are “concerned about [their] privacy online.”

Brands can take learnings from this new Intent Lab data, including that social media is a go-to source for consumers looking to make changes in their lives, from jobs, to home, to health.  Build trusted connections with consumers on social, where they are open to connect, and provide personalized experiences, which consumers crave.

Overall, the study reveals that consumers are focusing on what is best for them.  Brands can reach these consumers by leveraging a positive message of change, especially in social.

The study was fielded in Q4 2021 in the U.S. (1000 participants).