Current Events
November 17, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving 2021

Ah, Thanksgiving.

This precursor to the end cap of our year, that for many, marks the beginning of the holiday season, celebrating with their families. But — time with family can sometimes be very polarizing.

The changes of the past two years may have altered everyday life for good, but how has it changed our holidays?

For marketers or advertisers looking to get a pulse on where people stand when it comes to these questions, we at Glimpse have an easy way for you to stop the guessing and dive into audience’s opinions in earnest.

To illustrate how easy it is, we created our own study around Thanksgiving 2021 to show you how deep and wide your audience insights can go.

Thanksgiving 2021 Study Building

Building the study needed some key considerations. We limited our Thanksgiving respondents to US-only participants, and 200 participants gave us a wide reach across regions and within the population.

Last, we decided that the population we would poll would be from the US Census to give a broad range of Americans. We could further segment that group by those who “celebrate Thanksgiving.”

Next, we built our questions.

First, we asked them a single select question: Are you traveling for Thanksgiving this year? Their options were:

  • Train
  • Car
  • Plane
  • Other
  • I'm not traveling for Thanksgiving this year

Then we asked an open-ended question: How do family members' or dinner guests' political views differ from your own? In asking this, the NLP and AI automatically filter out the “noise” (such as verbs and adjectives) and will automatically give us our “topics”, while using the verbs and adjectives to help give us our “sentiment” scores. This helps to easily give an idea of who said what and, more importantly, how they are feeling.

Finally, we asked another open-ended question: What do you anticipate will be a contentious issue at your dinner table?

Once we had the questions ready and our criteria for respondents, we hit go.

In just one day we had the following findings:

Audience Insights and Takeaways: Thanksgiving 2021

Behavioral Insights

The majority of participants (56%) revealed that they weren’t traveling at all for Thanksgiving. Some cited work reasons, some were the hosts of the gatherings, and lonelier still were folks that said * “I don’t have any family.”

A little over a third of respondents said they were driving on the holiday, but we saw a shockingly low number for both train and air travel, the combined percentage reached only 7%.

NOTE: all question answer data is completely anonymized - no PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is exchanged in the process.

Discovering Emotions

Looking at the overall emotional gauge of responses, three emotions stand out:

  • Disgust
  • Sadness
  • Joy

The content of the questions no doubt contributed to the wide variety of responses, but it’s the distribution of the three that was interesting to us. The fact that Joy wins out gives us a sense of hope for what many Americans may want to be feeling surrounding the holiday. Of those respondents, many mentioned that although their political views differed, they agreed not to discuss politics at all. One respondent had an interesting perspective:

“Their political views differ from my own as I view that everyone is a family to me. Whether they are different or not related to me at all. I believe they can be treated with kindness and respectfulness of course, with my own cooking. But that does depend on the person's attitude.”

Filtering By Audience Attribute

Next up, we split respondents by Democrat and Republican on the question: “How do family members or dinner guests' political views differ from your own?”

Of the comments we filtered through, 32% of Republican respondents held differing views from their families while 36% were the same. The rest of the same had either neutral comments or a common response: “we don’t talk politics so I don’t know.”

Of note: “disgust” was much more pronounced in Republicans when evaluating their answers.

One respondent gave us something to ponder despite the split:

“We have split political views in our family and some discussions are held at holidays but only on a light side and then the discussions move on to other items less controversial. We can appreciate different opinions.”

As for the Democrats, 73% of family members held different views than their own while only 20% were completely similar.

In response to our question, one respondent commented that:

“Well in most cases all views are welcomed as I have no autonomy over one's political views. So do they over mine, it is about respect and tolerance.

Although we didn’t ask why those views differed, one person offered that their family’s political views differed due to their stance on COVID.

Despite the differences in opinion we hear so much about across media, both groups shared much of the same general travel plans, traditions, and thoughts about family. Maybe we can learn something from our Thanksgiving table study: that to bridge divides we see between people, all we need to look to is our basic humanity to see how similar we are in reality.

Audience Topics of Interest

Our final question, “What do you anticipate will be a contentious issue at your dinner table?” yielded some unsurprising results. The topics with the highest discernable sentiments, or emotional affect, were:

  1. Politics
  2. Dinner
  3. Family

Taking a look at the sentiment histogram we could see where topics fell in relation to their emotion:

We wanted to dive in further, so we took to the responses section. Much of what we found there we could expect to see given the state of the country, and an argument can be made that the American dinner table is the gauge for our country’s state.

The top three issues we saw in audience comments were:

  • Politics: “I will have to hear about the Democrats.”
  • Vaccinations: ““People aren’t vaccinated”; “COVID”
  • Finances: “Money problems. Financial unstable.”

The final comment we saw that made us chuckle - when asked what will be the most contentious issue at your table?

One respondent simply said:

“Who ate all the stuffing.”

Audience Insights and Takeaways

Despite the upheaval of the pandemic and recent supply chain issues, Thanksgiving 2021 looks to be like the many that came before it: complicated, wrought with emotion, and hopeful (even with a little less travel).

With Glimpse, you can get virtually any audience answering conversational questions within minutes. We started this study the night of November 8th, and already had full responses on November 9th! Not just a polling tool, Glimpse is meant to get into the "why's" behind what your audience is thinking, and, how they are feeling emotionally.

Rather than talking into a void hoping your messages land, create a true dialogue - one that will build your future foundations alongside your audiences as the seasons change.

To see more examples of how Glimpse can be used to tap audiences for their thoughts on current events, checkout our other blog articles.