Rebecca Castellani

“COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior on mobile forever,” declares Peggy Anne Salz, lead analyst and founder of MobileGroove – and with everything from recreation to retail upended, it’s clear survival in the post-COVID world depends on your ability to change with it.

Fortunately for mobile marketers, people remain predictable even in a crisis. In a recent presentation, Salz shares a pivot strategy based on emerging behavior patterns and the advance of cultural segmentation.

Breaking Down the Post-COVID Tribes

Data insights company Kantar has created an ongoing “COVID-19 Barometer” to research customer behavior during the pandemic. After interviewing over 100,000 consumers in numerous markets, Kantar identified six “Coronavirus Consumer Tribes” that mobile marketers can use to segment post-COVID audiences:

  • The Ostriches – When it comes to COVID-19, 12% of consumers want to bury their heads in the sand. They don’t see what the fuss is about, nor do they really care.
  • The Que Seras – 22% of consumers feel whatever will be, will be. They find the rules and regulations resulting from COVID-19 a bit excessive.
  • The Hibernators – Accounting for 12% of consumers, the Hibernators accept the situation but don’t need constant updates about it.
  • The Good Citizens – 22% of consumers want to be informed and believe we should follow all the safety measures.
  • The Distressed Dreamers – 18% of consumers are concerned about their health and financial situation but believe things will improve. Hit hard during the furloughs, Gen Xers and Millennials often fall into this segment (MobileGroove).
  • The Precarious Worriers – 13% of consumers are fearful of the coronavirus and wish the government would do more.
  • Give your Ostriches an optimistic escape from reality.
  • Encourage and empower your Que Seras by making it easy to enjoy experiences and discover new ones.
  • Use hopeful messaging to connect with Hibernators.
  • Celebrate your Good Citizens by highlighting the benefits of their positive actions.
  • Provide your Distressed Dreamers with emotional support, positive reassurance, and clear facts.
  • Guide your Precarious Worriers with advice and practical tips.

According to data collected by Kantar, Precarious Worriers have increased by 4% since July. Hibernators have also increased by 1%, while the Que Seras, Ostriches, and Good Citizens all experienced a 1-2% drop.

Marketing to the Tribes

When it comes to creating engaging COVID content, Salz recommends building a brand action framework for each of the tribes you intend to target. Communications can then be tailored according to what that tribe values most. Salz’s segmented suggestions to drive deep connection include:

Salz highlights Reddit – a platform with over 100,000 active communities and 430+ million monthly users – as a good example of a mobile company “driving deep customer connection through understanding.”

Change and Connection

As long as COVID continues to precipitate accelerated change, mobile marketers will have to stay nimble. Creating targeted content is only successful if you understand a tribe’s behavior, so it’s important to keep a finger on the ever-changing pulse of your audience.

Independent of the tribe, people want to feel connected during times of uncertainty. Successful COVID marketing should reflect the specific concerns of each segment in a way that makes users feel heard, understood, and part of a community.

If mobile marketers understand their audience, embrace change, and produce emotionally resonant content, users will not only connect with your app during COVID, they’ll feel connected.