Study: Striking Differences Between Digital Readers Who Do/Don't Consume COVID News

A recent study by data solutions company Lotame examined the digital behavior of COVID-19 content readers versus non-COVID-19 content readers.

It found that consumers of COVID-19 content were more likely to be family-focused, female and young, compared to those not reading COVID-19 content.

Lotame examined billions of anonymized, aggregated online interactions across the open web to compare “COVID readers” to “non-COVID readers.”

The data is sourced from first-party data collection; the publishers included in the study are part of Lotame’s network.

While the company would not say which publishers were part of this data set, it did say over 30 "top publishers" were included.

According to the study, COVID-19 readers are more likely to spend money at stores like Rite Aid and Family Dollar, while non-COVID-19 readers have a higher interest in luxury brands, such as Christian Dior, and are more likely to spend more of their disposable income.

COVID-19 readers are more likely to be purchasing items and fitness plans online, while non-COVID readers are more likely to travel and stay in hotels.

COVID-19 readers skew more female (60%). Less than half (44%) of COVID-19 readers are over 55 years old.

“Almost nine months into the pandemic, we are seeing consumers settle into their COVID behaviors,” stated Alexandra Theriault, Chief Customer Officer at Lotame. 

“We see younger females and parents still engaging the most with COVID content online, buying necessities, and refraining from travel to protect themselves while the non-COVID readers are living how they might normally: spending money on hotel stays and luxury items."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, users have read more content that mentions COVID-19 versus searching specifically for COVID-19 content — meaning COVID-19 content tends to be found organically.

Non-COVID-19 readers are primarily reading sports, entertainment and lifestyle content instead.

COVID-19 content readers index highest for CPG products, such as soup, baby food, pancake and waffle mixes, cooking oil, sugars, pickles and home supplies.

“Our data reveals there is clearly still an opportunity for travel marketers to engage consumers who aren’t as COVID-focused, while brands like Target should direct efforts to reach parents to help them keep their families safe and entertained at home,” Theriault added.

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