The Social Media World 2020 – A Trend Update

More and more people use social media more often and for longer. The Hootsuite Social Media Trends show what developments this promotes and how exactly brands benefit from them.

It always turns out differently than you think – a phrase that has gained in importance in 2020. The outbreak of the corona pandemic has changed a lot, above all the use of social media. According to the “Digital 2020 Report Q3 Update” from Hootsuite, 43 percent of social media users worldwide spent more time on social networks, especially in the weeks of exit and contact restrictions and the resulting social isolation. As the year draws to a close, it’s time to review the social media trends announced by Hootsuite for this year, take a look at the status quo of social networks, and discuss what trends marketers will see in the coming weeks should keep an eye on.

Those were the trends for 2020

Brand promise and employee activation on the advance

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 75 percent of those surveyed last year not only rated their employers as significantly more trustworthy than NGOs, the government or the media, but also believed that their employer was committed and kept its brand promise. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, this trend became more and more important. The consequence: companies that, for example, collected donations or switched their production to the manufacture of disinfectants or protective equipment, benefited from a positive response – internally and externally.

Here it became clear that this commitment must be firmly anchored in the entire company and its culture. The keyword was authenticity. Because employees and customers quickly saw through if a company just wanted to jump on this bandwagon. It wasn’t about taking a stand on any topic, but rather finding out what moves your target group. Only in this way were companies able to align their own brand to the needs and interests of their customers and employees.

This is where employee advocacy programs came in. Many people talk about their employer on social networks anyway. By providing them with additional content to share, companies quickly gain authenticity through the advocacy of employees and also convey this image to the outside world to their customers.

TikTok changed the status quo

With more than 800 million active users per month and an average age of 16 to 24, TikTok continued its tremendous growth this year. For marketers, the popularity of the platform has opened up a new opportunity to reach the next generation of social media users. Brands like Hollister and American Eagle started very successful campaigns here. The recipe: a popular influencer as well as your own song with a suitable choreography. American Eagle recorded three billion views with #InMyAEJeans, Hollister even 4.1 billion views with #MoreHappyDenimDance – on TikTok alone. What was particularly exciting: It wasn’t just about video ads, but rather sophisticated digital marketing campaigns that were played out on all channels. This made it clear to marketers the value of TikTok for addressing their own target group.


With @itstayyedits, the ## InMyAEJeans Challenge winner! 😍 her animation skills and our @americaneagle fits! ## AmericanEagle ## MagicMoment ## AEPartner

♬ #InMyAEJeans – Tropkillaz

Social media marketing met performance marketing

In the social media sector in particular, marketers were under pressure to expand their own skill set. Brand awareness professionals and community building experts also had to deal with the topic of performance marketing and find a balance between daily customer communication and long-term strategies in order to strengthen their own brand, stand out from the competition and increase customer satisfaction increase.

For example, KitchenAid relied on social listening during the lockdown to identify consumer trends as many people increasingly tried cooking and baking recipes. With the help of social and search engine data from Pinterest and Google, KitchenAid changed its marketing strategy and successfully relied on a mix of Pinterest Ads, Instagram Ads, Organic and Paid as well as Influencer Marketing and PR.

The status quo of social networks


Despite the rapid user growth, the platform has to struggle with challenges in 2020. On the one hand, there would be greater competition from Instagram with the new Instagram Reels format, and on the other hand, the fact that TikTok has long been a thorn in the side of the US government. The Chinese operating company ByteDance is accused of passing on user data to Chinese authorities. These security concerns have led US President Trump to set several deadlines for a sale of TikTok to a US company – otherwise the app would have to disappear completely from the US market. Now a solution is looming in the form of a deal with Oracle and Walmart or the option of moving the global business to the USA. Nothing is dry yet, so it remains exciting.


The TikTok network is increasingly competing with Instagram Reels. Reels enables the recording and editing of 15-second long multi-clip videos (now even 30 seconds) with sound and creative tools. There is currently no advertising option for Reels, but brands should still stay on the ball in order to be ready for their first advertising experiments in good time.

Facebook shops

Facebook Shops enables companies to set up an online shop that is accessible to customers via both Instagram and Facebook. Since this is embedded in the platforms, the user does not have to leave them if he wants to buy a product. This creates a seamless user experience.


Pinterest has established itself as a social network, but it is still often underestimated by marketing experts. This year, Pinterest recorded a clear upward trend among users, where the platform is in great demand, especially for inspiration on topics such as health and wellness, financial planning, decoration, fashion or travel. This makes the platform an interesting advertising opportunity that also scores with fewer data protection restrictions and lower advertising costs.

What can marketers expect in the coming weeks?

User numbers continue to rise

In July the time had come: More than half of the world’s population is active in social networks. The growth is currently accelerating even faster than at the beginning of January. Particularly interesting: The baby boomer generation is losing its fear of social networks. She now spends more and more time there and increasingly consumes digital content. This creates another important advertising channel for marketers to address this target group efficiently.

Social media is replacing the classic search

If the customer was looking for a new product in the past, he started his search with the classic search engine or on Amazon. Today social networks often take precedence. Customers can find out more about the brand and their products, customer service, or watch videos on the desired product before buying. Marketers should take this development into account and accordingly pay more attention to the presentation of their brand and products on social media.

Higher social media budgets

With the increasing focus on digital communication as a substitute for personal interaction, social media budgets reached highs for the first time in 2020. On average, according to the CMO Survey, social media made up around ten to twelve percent of the marketing budget. This year this share jumped to 23 percent. This is also evident at management level: CMOs in particular trust the quantitative advantages of social media significantly more than in the previous year. An increase from 25 to 30 percent has been recorded here. Good omens for marketers and the targeted marketing budget for 2021.

No matter how well marketers plan their strategies, if 2020 has shown one thing, it is that there can always be surprises. It is important here to remain flexible and to keep an eye on trends and their development in order to be able to act in good time. Because one thing always has priority: The customer and his current needs.

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