Sentiment Roundup: Consumers Appear Hopeful; Interest Groups Make Waves on Social

In the second week of its COVID-19 consumer survey effort, the Ad Council's survey shows consumers are feeling hopeful despite troubling statistics from global and local health authorities. The Ad Council study seeks to identify the media outlets and influencers where Americans are sourcing their news and opinions around the crisis, as well as checking on whether audiences feel public health authorities are meeting their current needs.

Key takeaways this week:

  • Parents are significantly more likely to feel anxious, tired and irritable than those without kids in the household. Social media is a top platform for parents to discuss fun and educational activities for their children during the quarantine.
  • Worry among respondents is decreasing week over week, and more Americans are feeling hopeful week over week.
  • Young people ages 18 to 30 report the most financial impact so far (88 percent), and nearly one in three of this age group (30 percent) reports a large financial impact.
  • The Northeast is feeling more anxious, tired and isolated. The South is more confident, hopeful and optimistic.
  • Americans are feeling grateful. In fact, more than half (53 percent) of respondents report feeling grateful in the past week alone.

Meanwhile, web and social media monitoring firm Yonder (Disclosure: Yonder sponsored PRNEWS’ recent coronavirus communications webinar) has been tracking audience conversation and sentiment, tracing trending hashtags and brand mentions to their source. Yonder said its AI technology made it possible to pinpoint left- and right-leaning interest groups, or factions, at the heart of conversations.

Some examples:

  • Zoom has been lauded widely for bringing people closer, with some calling out security flaws and fringe groups making racist remarks about its Chinese founder. "While no one faction is driving more than 0.5 percent of the Zoom narrative, we detected fringe troll factions posting racist content about its founder in 4chan," a common source of problematic narratives that make their way into the mainstream.
  • Hobby Lobby saw angry comments surge when it began closing stores and cutting salaries following remarks from its CEO that "God is in control." Yonder found that two left-leaning factions created more than 20 percent of the content in the Hobby Lobby conversation. Typically, any group crafting more than 2 percent of content on a trending topic is a signal that a conversation is being manipulated, Yonder says.
  • Casual social chatter about Popeye’s compared panic around the outbreak to the chicken sandwich craze of 2019, but the brand retook the narrative after announcing its partnership with No Kid Hungry. The top faction in the Popeye’s discussion was the populist right, which drove more than 6 percent of conversations and re-shared news about the partnership.

Yonder says communications pros can use such insights in formulating plans to protect brand equity and to communicate with the public and key consumer groups. “Brands leverage these kinds of contextual insights to understand how (and which) groups make stories about them spread online,” Yonder said in an email to PRNEWS.

This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.