For some, moving conjures logistical challenges. For others, moving presents opportunities. It is a moment to build new routines, try new things and make new friends. It is a moment to think about where you came from and consider where you are going. It is a moment to explore.
In a study of people on Facebook moving within the United States, we learned that people who move are more open to doing new things as they learn about their new surroundings. We also learned that people go on Facebook when they move to stay connected to their former communities and connect with their new ones, talking about everything from bubble wrap and packing to their new address and renovations. In this way, Facebook now serves as people’s change of address card.
People on the move1
Over 20 million people on Facebook in the US moved inter-state in 2014. Of the people who moved, 16% of the population was ages 18–24 and 24% was ages 25–34.
About 12% of people in the Asian American affinity cluster on Facebook moved to a new state last year, compared to 9% of people in the US Hispanic affinity cluster. On par with the general Facebook population, 10% of people in the African American affinity cluster moved to a new state last year.
There’s a seasonality to moving, with the most number of people moving in March and April. Unlike older adults, Millennials (people ages 18–34) move consistently throughout the year.
Checking in and out a new city
When people are in the process of moving, the move can be the only thing on their minds and their daily lives and media habits are often disrupted—but that doesn’t mean they go off the grid. With mobile, people are able to stay connected and share about their new surroundings. Around the time they move, people ages 18+ check in on Facebook 16% more than they normally do.1 Men (+23%) and people ages 55+ (+31%) help drive the increase in check ins.1 While mobile activity and non-video activities (sharing links, photos, posts and notes) remain stable, people post 24% less video and connect to Facebook on desktop less, as well.1
Across the board, people who are in the process of moving talk about settling into their new cities and neighborhoods around 4X more than they discussed those topics during the same time a year prior.2 People also talk about securing a new phone (or new phone number) and new friends when moving. Also top of mind: real estate agents, moving day, a new address, installations, furniture and housewarmings.2
“Packing” can be the chore people associate most with moving, and many people discuss it on Facebook. From “start packing” to “finish packing” and “last-minute packing,” people post about their “packing, packing, packing” activities and how much they dread or “hate packing.”2
We also looked at what men and women of different ages talked about when they interacted about moving on Facebook. Women ages 18–34 discuss housewarming 1.9X more than the same time a year prior (men of the same age mention it only 0.9X more).2 Men ages 18–34 mention installations 2.7X more than the same time a year prior (women of the same age mention it 1.3X more).2 Men and women ages 35–54 also care about installations, with men mentioning it 4.1X more and women 2.4X more compared to the same time a year prior.2 Men 55+ mention renovation 2.1X more than the same time a year prior (women of the same age mention it 1.2X more).2
What it means for marketers
Moving signals a point of market entry for many marketers. It is an opportunity for people to try new things, switch brands and services, learn their local neighborhoods and start anew in many ways. In fact, people who move make moving-related purchases for up to 7 months around their move (3.2 months before, and 3.8 months after)3 and spend around $9,000 per household on goods, services and financial products.4
People who move are more likely to switch brands for baby products, dishwashing detergent and household cleaner and more likely to spend on home entertainment systems, kitchen appliances, laptops, smartphones and digital cameras than people who have not moved.3 It is also more likely that a person who just moved, as compared to someone who has not just moved, will purchase a car within 12 months of moving.3
Spark trial: Moving indicates not only a new life stage but also a point of market entry. It’s a period of significant financial investment, with those who’ve moved buying new furniture and home goods, taking on installation and renovation projects, and entertaining friends and family in their new residence. Facebook is not only a place people share these life changes—it is also a place to update to a current address. Brands can use Facebook to complement their traditional media and direct-mail efforts to spark trial around products, services and experiences for new residents.
Expand people’s worlds via mobile: When people move, they tend to be open to trying new things and meeting new people, as Facebook check-in and chatter data indicate. The mobile phone—likely a new one procured upon moving—and Facebook allow those who’ve moved to readily discover new things and friend new neighbors. Brands can position themselves at the center of this discovery and provide much-needed familiarity amid the unfamiliar by accelerating the settling-in process and making a new home feel less foreign.
Ease moving’s challenges: Although moving can be one of the most stressful and exciting events in a person’s life, the responsibilities and concerns that come with it vary by gender and generation. Brands can ease the process and position themselves as an ally in this transition by addressing people’s moving experience in a personalized way. Brands can also add levity or meaning to what can be an arduous process, poking fun at the universal dislike of packing, for instance, or making moving a time to reflect on memories made or yet to come.
Sources: 1 Facebook internal data for people ages 18+ who relocated within the US for at least 30 days during the period of Jan 1–Dec 31, 2014. 2 Facebook internal data for people ages 18+, Mar 1–Apr 30, 2014. 3 “Movin’ On Up: How Moving Prompts Purchasing” a Zillow Mover Study, Aug 2012, http://www.zillow.com/blog/zillow-mover-study-movers-spendthousands-on-cars-tvs-cellphones-etc-85997/. 4 2015 Movers Report, Epsilon 2015.