Marketers will be very alert to how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted consumer spending, but now a new study has revealed how it is also changing reading habits in the UK.

Teads, the global media platform which is estimated to reach 93.2% of consumers in the UK (Comscore), has released the latest data from its “Media Barometer”, which tracks what kinds of editorial content consumers read each day.

Since early January 2020, when coronavirus really began to develop as a major news story, Teads noted a 46% increase in traffic across its platform of publishers, which includes The Guardian, The Telegraph, Hearst and others.

The Media Barometer also analysed the most-read and fastest growing topics over a 30-day period from the beginning of March to the start of April 2020, revealing that content related to health, wellness and hospitals surged by 80%.

While that is hardly surprising, marketing and publishing executives will want to note that Teads also found that consumption of content related to marketing increased by 58% to 5.3 million views.

That ranked marketing-related content higher than even topics like careers (5.1 million, +62%), books (4.0 million, +56%), exercise (3.3 million, +34%) and games (2.7 million, +54%).

And the finding comes after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden recently urged advertisers to continue to support UK publishers by not applying brand safety measures around virus-related content.

Justin Taylor, managing director of Teads UK, said: “The data from our barometer should be reassuring to the advertising industry, highlighting its importance in the mind of the public and showcases the responsibility we have as an industry to do our bit during such times of crisis.”

Consumption of political content also saw a significant uptick of 41% while, more worryingly, content related to loans soared 91% over the period under review.

“Since 2008, the UK is acutely aware of how macroeconomic changes can impact personal wealth, so it’s no surprise that consumers are focusing on such issues,” Taylor continued.

“This concern, as well as the UK’s particular affinity towards its publisher institutions, seems to be reflecting in terms of how much attention is being given to the specific impact on our industry,” he added.

Sourced from Teads, The Guardian; additional content by WARC staff