Analytics and Network Analysis: #stayathome


The hashtag stayathome has become increasingly popular since the commencement of coronavirus. The hashtag first appeared on Instagram on the 5th of June 2019. Today, it is constantly being used on numerous social media platforms, typically promoting staying home during the coronavirus pandemic. The main hypothesis of this report is, that the engagement and popularity of the hashtag has increased from its formation until now. The hashtags interaction rate along with its popularity in comparison to other coronavirus related hashtags, will be analysed to further test the hypothesis that #stayathome is currently one of the most relevant hashtags.

Research Questions

The first question to be addressed is: how did the engagement and popularity change within the time period? This question will be answered by analysing the content produced by Phantombuster and comparing the engagement from the hashtags beginning until now (the 5th May).

The second question details: How are people using and viewing the hashtag? This will be discovered through the analysis of likes and comments found under posts containing #stayathome.

The final question is: How does this hashtag compare to others surrounding the topic? This will be analysed by scraping data from other surrounding hashtags, noting the engagement, and comparing it to the data from #stayathome.

Methodology and Approach

Both the qualitative and quantitative data for this analysis was scrapped from Instagram using Phantombuster. This methodical procedure of obtaining data would most likely be categorised as a sample. As there are so many posts, its hard to be convinced that the scrape left nothing behind. A sample can be defined a “small part of anything or one of a number, intended to show the quality, style, or nature of the whole; specimen“. Although this is defined as being a part of the data, Phantombuster is a trusted resource that scrapes data much more effectively than it can be done manually.

The information acquired starts from the first post in May 2019 until the most recent post as of the 5th of May 2020. This data included the like and comment count, post description, location, publish date and profile name. The total scrape produced 28216 posts. The data that was scrapped was so large in order to properly analyse it, the first set of terms titled ‘Old Data’ refers to the first 100 posts scrapped from the 5th of May 2019 until the 5th of May 2020. The second set of data, ‘New Data’ refers to the last 100 terms, all from the 5th of May.


1. How did the engagement and popularity change within the time period?

The first 100 posts scrapped by Phantombuster covered a full year of Instagram posts. 11 of these from before the 5th of May 2020. The other 89 posts were from just the 5th of May 2020. The graphs below shows the change in the number of comments and likes between the old and new data.

Below is more data, sourced from Excel that shows the average likes and comments of the posts from the data presented in the above graphs.

Old DataNew Data

Total likes: 1100312

Old DataNew Data

Total comments: 2302267725386800000

When comparing these results, it is clear that the old data has much higher like and comment interaction, however, this is not entirely accurate in showing the change in engagement as most of the data is from the same day. These results convey two key things. Firstly, engagement was much greater in the morning, perhaps due to people checking social media when they wake up. Secondly, considering most of the posts scrapped were from this month, the hashtag is being used a lot more now than in the past.

To further check these results, an analysis was taken of the hashtags most popular day in 2019, the 6th of May, and compared to the 5th of May, 2020.

The likes for the 5th of May 2020 appear to be over 1621315 times that of the 6th of May 2019.

Of the comments the the 5th if May appears over 371 times more than the 6th of May 2019.

2. How are people using and viewing the hashtag?

In order to analyse the way the hashtag was being used, from the data scrapped by Phantombuster, every 1000th post was selected and the caption and comments viewed. From the selection there proved to be a range of different types of posts made using the #stayathome.

The post mostly consisted of advertising of corona and non-corona related products, personal posts and religion based content.

These results show that although the hashtag is known for promoting staying at home during the pandemic, many people are using it to stay relevant as it is trending. This can be seen on the strategic inclusion of the hashtag on personal and business posts. Many of the posts did receive positive comments and feedback however it would be unfair to credit this to the hashtag as most of the posts have nothing to do with COVID-19. This common usage of the hashtag provides evidence that people are seeing it as a popular and positive thing to include in their posts.

How does this hashtag compare to others surrounding the topic?

The following data is comparing the popularity of four different hashtags #stayathome #flattenthecurve, #withme and #quarantineandchill on the 5th of May 2020.

Comments TotalLikes Total
Comments TotalLikes Total
Comments TotalLikes Total
Comments TotalLikes Total

In conclusion the results and content analysis has for the most part proven the hypothesis true. The first data analysis, although providing results that the oldest 100 posts received more likes and comments overall, only a little over 5% of all the posts analysed were from before the 5th May 2020. To properly analyse the data the hashtags most popular day of the years 2019 and 2020 were compared. The results were extremely different with the total likes for the 5th of May 2020 being 1621315 times the total likes from the most popular day in 2019.

The usage and reaction to #stayathome was proven to be positive with people of varying backgrounds using the hashtag on personal, business and religious posts. Most of the pots received positive feedback from the comments. As so many diverse people are using the hashtag it demonstrates that it is trending and relevant for everyone.

Finally, in comparison to other coronavirus related hashtags, #stayathome is one of the most used and well known. The results show that posts with the #stayathome receive the most comments and the second highest number of likes. Overall when looking at how #stayathome has progressed we can see that it is currently extremely popular; being used and viewed by millions each day.

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