August 11, 2020
Digital life has long been embedded in the United States. But as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of all our lives, government officials closed non-essential businesses, schools, and issued stay-at-home orders. Being confined at home led us to spend even more time online—from streaming audio and video services to having video chats with our friends and browsing social channels. It became a digital world as we’d never seen before.
With states slowly reopening, consumers are starting to venture outside. Still, with no vaccine generally available to the public and public health officials warning that a second wave may follow, consumers aren’t keen on returning to life pre-COVID just yet.
However, we’re still longing for ways to connect despite this global pandemic. The use of video conferencing channels like Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Messenger are skyrocketing with social distancing measures. Virtual gatherings have become the norm.
We were curious if our community felt the same and surveyed our members. Out of the 3,500 who responded, an astounding 92% reported they would be interested in hosting a virtual house party.
What’s a virtual house party?
A virtual house party is what you would expect: gathering with your friends over video chat and participating in activities. With no end to the pandemic in sight, consumers were ecstatic about interacting in new ways with family and friends. A respondent sums it up perfectly: “It will be nice to focus on something good and fun for a moment instead of what’s going on in the world.”
The devil’s in the details
Not only were consumers excited to host virtual parties, but they also had specific plans in mind. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said their virtual house party would last one to two hours. Zoom led the pack in video chat platforms, with 81% of consumers preferring it over others for their event. Seventy percent of consumers wanted six to 15 people on the call (six and nine (36%) and 10 to 15 (34%). Popular activities respondents wanted during the event were just chatting with friends and family (88%), playing games (77%), and happy hours (75%).
The benefits for brands
Virtual house parties don’t only benefit consumers; they also greatly benefit brands. Ninety-four percent of consumers want a virtual house party, so they can try new products with family and friends. Popular products that respondents would have at their event are food (93%), games (84%), and alcohol (75%).
Virtual house parties are great for increasing awareness for new and existing products with hyper-targeted audiences. It also generates authentic product trials, reviews, and user-generated content. Brands can gain valuable insights into products, purchase intent, and consumer sentiment. This creates a long-term impact on consumers’ likelihood to purchase and recommend a brand’s product.
How Ripple Street can help
Weeks before the Virtual House Party experience, we start to activate and deliver deep engagement with thousands of consumers from our community. To compete for the opportunity to host a Virtual House Party, they visit local retailers and e-commerce channels, download branded assets and take “shelfies,” share photos on social media, and other activities.
Selected hosts invite friends and family to the Virtual House Party on any platform of their choice (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet, HouseParty). Brands can deliver any combination of physical party packs and digital branded items such as digital downloads and backgrounds to create a fun and engaging Virtual House Party experience. The best part? Participants write authentic product reviews and share their experiences (e.g., photos and videos) across their social channels.