Overused pandemic terms and phrases

Overused Pandemic Terms and Phrases

Every week we offer up a bite-sized chunk of interesting data to get you thinking. This week, we took a look at the terms and phrases that marketers were using to talk about the current pandemic. Not receiving our free weekly newsletter? You can sing up here: https://www.trustinsights.ai/insights/data-in-the-headlights-newsletter/

How many different, (over)used expressions about the pandemic are there? We examined the social postings of more than 3,000 Facebook Brand Pages to learn how companies were talking about “these uncertain times”.

In These Uncertain Times Phrase Counts Analysis by TrustInsights.ai 1

You can see in this first analysis of raw counts that terms like “new normal” “uncertain times” are at the top of the list. Are you surprised by this?

In These Uncertain Times Trends Analysis by TrustInsights.ai

In this second analysis, we’re looking at the timing and trend of the phrases being used. As states are rolling out their plans to re-open, it’s expected that pandemic-related terms would pick up again. Is your content getting the reaction you want, or are your readers passing you by because they are tired of seeing the same thing?

COVID Post Engagement Rates Analysis by TrustInsights.ai

If you’re still writing posts around COVID you’ve likely noticed that the overall engagement is dropping off as audiences become weary of the topic. That said, engagement of non-COVID posts is also declining. As a marketer, what can you do to turn that around? What do your customers want to see from you?

What we found:

  • “Our response to COVID” was used 7,915 times year-to-date
  • “New normal” was used 2,539 times year-to-date
  • “We’re in this together” was used 1,886 times year-to-date
  • “In these uncertain times” was used 1,068 times year-to-date

When it comes to trends, the top three had tapered down through April but started to pick up again in May. The concern that some folks have mentioned about overusing these terms is valid; posts which used one or more of these terms saw engagement on them drop by half in the last 8 weeks.

Key takeaway: people’s appetite for content about brands’ perspectives on the pandemic has decided waned. If you’re still pumping out messaging and content about it, it might be time to check your analytics and consider pivoting to something new. Resist the temptation to open up the thesaurus and find different ways to talk about “unprecedented”, “challenging” and “uncertain” times.


Methodology: Trust Insights used Facebook’s Crowdtangle software to examine all social posts from 3,094 Brand Pages, curated by Crowdtangle and augmented by Trust Insights The date of the study period is January 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020. The date of extraction is May 17, 2020. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.


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