Moments that Matter: Digital Twists to Classic Rituals as People Go Mobile

At IIEX NA today, Greta Baisch and Yini Guo, consumer insights researchers with Facebook, discussed how a million people record a mobile moment on Facebook and Instagram “every breath” (3-5 seconds). Differentiating between everyday moments, once-a-year moments, major moments, and once-in-a-lifetime moments. The team leveraged Facebook posts for life event updates in the UK, FR, PL, NL, and UAE and used Facebook targeting to recruit survey respondents who reported these life moments. Events included weddings, births, and moving, with surveys of 2,000 to 6,000 Facebook users.

50% of the newly engaged shared within Facebook within 48 hours. The most popular days to get engaged: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. The most popular month to get married is August. The median length of engagement is 17 months, varying by country (UAE was the shortest at 10 months while UK and Poland were the longest). Wedding planning started right away, and retail purchases increased 3 months before wedding. 58% of surveyed newlyweds like to look at other people’s pictures and posts to find inspiration for their own wedding; 25% used a personalized wedding hashtag on Instagram; and 15% used a drone or action camera to capture footage.

Birthday posts are the most engaging posts throughout the year – digital birthday wishes are the new norms: 24 birthday posts on average on a Facebook user’s wall across the 5 countries; 72% of people surveyed enjoy the creative ways to celebrate birthdays on Facebook. In fact, Facebook posts are more valued than some other ways of celebrating a birthday, such as cards in the mail and receiving a text message. People do value in-person celebrations more. Six in ten Facebook users treat themselves to a birthday gift: electronics, fashion, jewelry, beauty products, quality time. The most valued birthday present from others was quality time with loved ones. Milestone birthdays are 1.8 times as likely to celebrate those birthdays over multiple days. Birthday planning happens at the very last minute; “convenience is key.” Events are created 14 days (median) before the birthday.

Moving requires planning throughout. Deciding TV and broadband suppliers (40%) and home insurance (29%) happens before the move. On move day, it is about utilities and later it’s about new furniture (38%) and consumer electronics. Big concerns are managing living costs and finding their way around, and keeping in touch with old friends and family while building up a new social life. 74% of surveyed movers say their mobile phone was the only way to stay connected and reach them while moving; 82% valued staying connected with Facebook during the move.

Market takeaways about new traditions and digital rituals:

  • Facebook and Instagram are an increasingly essential part of the moments that matter to people.
  • People’s purchase behavior changes around these special moments.
  • Marketers can reach the people who matter to their business during these moments as the moments are lived out on mobile and digital channels.
  • This research helps demonstrate where, when and how decisions are made through these moments.

Jeffrey Henning is president of Researchscape International. He hasn’t told Facebook his real birthday.

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