What Social Networks Were The Most Talked About In 2020

Whether it was a complete game changer or accelerating trends that were already in motion; the pandemic dramatically impacted what social media platforms we were using and discussing during the past year. To help quantify which social media platforms fell in and out of favor during 2020; we used our social listening abilities on Twitter to identify the following 5 insights your brand needs to know about the most widely used social media platforms.  

Methodology: Minus owned Tweets, looking at the number of times a social media platform was mentioned on Twitter between 2018 – 2020. 

Insight #1. Discussion about Facebook Decreased Dramatically 

There were 261,423,808 Tweets that mentioned Facebook in 2020; a decrease of -66% from 2019. It does not appear this trend is being driven by the pandemic, as starting in Q1 2019; the conversation around Facebook has decreased from the previous quarter 6 out of 7 times.  

Snapchat and LinkedIn were the other social networks that were discussed less in the past year. There were 19,512,228 Tweets mentioning Snapchat in 2020, down -7% from 2019. Meanwhile, there were 16,447,966 Tweets mentioning LinkedIn in 2020 which was a -6% decrease from 2019. In both cases, Snapchat and LinkedIn were less discussed for the second consecutive year. 

Insight #2. The Conversation Around TikTok Is Way Up, Particularly By Gen X 

There were 129,168,704 Tweets mentioning TikTok in 2020, which was a 360% increase from 2019. While President Trump’s attempts to ban TikTok in the United States certainly impacted the volume of conversation around the video app, it wasn’t the primary driver of that trend. There were 3,689,862 Tweets mentioning TikTok and either “Trump” or “Ban” in 2020; meaning the topic only accounted for about 4% of the increase in discussion about TIkTok. 

With 2020 being the year that TikTok became more mainstream, the demographics of people aware of the app has changed as well. In 2018, the audience for people Tweeting about TikTok was 74% Millennials and 12% Generation X.  By 2020, that had shifted to the audience for people Tweeting about TikTok being 57% Millennials and 29% Generation X. TikTok is now something on the radar of people born between 1965 and 1980; much more than was the case even 2 years ago.

Insight #3. Interest In Video And Messaging Exploded In 2020 

Especially with people stuck at home during the pandemic starving for entertainment; there was a significant uptick in the  real-time conversation around social media networks that are video focused in the past past year. For example, there were 1,330,442,552 Tweets that mentioned YouTube in 2020; a 48% increase from that number in 2019.  Similarly, there were 117,303,382 Tweets mentioning Twitch in 2020, an 86% increase from the volume of Twitch related Tweets in 2019.

There was also an increase in Tweets about social media networks that are messaging based. For instance, 72,317,756 Tweets mentioned WhatsApp in 2020; which was a 31% increase from 2019. Meanwhile Discord, which is a VoIP, instant messaging and digital distribution platform was discussed in 26,481,473 Tweets, which is up 135% from the volume of Tweets mentioning them in 2019.

Insight #4. The Conversation About Instagram Was Flat

Despite 2020 generally involving much less hanging out with other people, meaning fewer traditional opportunities to take traditional Instagram photos, there were 528,481,055 Tweets mentioning Instagram in 2020 which is statistically a 0% change from 2019. Tumblr was the other social media platform where the real-time conversation about them was essentially flat during the pandemic. It was mentioned in 23,179,798 Tweets in 2020, just a -1% decrease from 2019.   

Insight #5. The Twitter Audience For Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord Skews The Most Towards Gen Z 

Since not all age groups use Twitter equally, there are some considerable limitations in trying to determine the generational makeup of other social networks using their audience data. That stipulated, directionally there are some conclusions that can be established by looking at the audience of people posting about specific social networks. For instance, looking at Q4 2020, the audience of people Tweeting about LinkedIn was only 3% in the Generation Z age group. No audience around the Twitter mentions of any other social media platforms we checked in Q4 2020 has a lower percentage of Generation Z followers. 

On the other hand, the audience of people Tweeting about Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord was 7% from Generation Z during Q4 2020 ; the highest such total during that time period. That doesn’t mean that the audience for Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord is only 7% Generation Z; it’s presumably quite higher. However for brands that are looking to reach Generation Z through social media platforms, it is an indication that Pinterest, Twitch, and Discord merit further investigation while LinkedIn would likely be a dead end. 

Want more social listening based insights on how your brand should approach social media? Request a ListenFirst demo now!