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! 

What Short Form Video Platform Should Your Brand Be Using?

Without delving too deeply into the still unclear fate of TikTok, whether the platform is going to be banned in the United States or spun off into a seperate company; the short form video platform faces competition. In August 2020, Instagram launched its own mobile phone short video solution Reels, while YouTube is currently beta testing its own TikTok competitor Shorts in India. Other short form video competitors include Triller, Byte, and Dubsmash.

For marketers, trying to navigate the rapidly changing short form video ecosystem can feel daunting, so with that in mind we put together this quick overview of everything you need to know about short form mobile videos on social media. Download the full cheat sheet here.

What Marketers Need To Know About Instagram Reels

Launched in August 2020, Instagram Reels was released in the same week President Trump was threatening to ban TikTok in the United States, and while the timing to release a TikTok clone was perfect, the reviews generally weren’t positive. For instance, one New York Times writer labeled Reels “the worst feature I’ve ever used”, citing how complicated it is to find within the Instagram app, how there were too many restrictions around music, inferior editing functions, and the lack of duets. Instagram has since improved the editing functionality as well as extended video length from 15 seconds to 30 seconds, but at this point Reels is most valuable to brands as a channel to repost their TikTok videos. 


For example, a video promoting DC FanDome featuring Margot Robbie got 57.6K Likes on TikTok while when the same video was shared on Instagram Reels, complete with a TikTok watermark in places, it generated 251K Likes. 

Regardless if Reels specifically works as an application, reposting content to Instagram is always going to be an effective way to increase engagement. 

What Marketers Need To Know About TikTok 

For tactical advice on posting on TikTok, ListenFirst has previously shared a best practices guide for brands, but the big picture point for marketers to keep in mind is that TikTok has 100 million active users in the United States each month. For brands worried that TikTok might get banned in the U.S. or radically change under new ownership, TikTok has too big of an audience to ignore. 

If you’re interested in reaching the audience of short form video and worried about what comes next, your best bet is expanding the amount of social platforms you’re leveraging, as opposed to abandoning TikTok. 


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Hollister Co. is a great example of this strategy. They have been working with Charli D’Amelio, a 16-year-old dancer and social media influencer who has 88.8 million followers on TikTok, on a jeans campaign. A sponsored TikTok video showing D’Amelio sharing her #MoreHappyDenimDance generated 59.8 million views and generated numerous response videos. Meanwhile Hollister Co. experimented with posting an Instagram Reel featuring D’Amelio promoting their Tiny Jeans campaign that received 757K views. While the campaign didn’t extend to Triller, it certainly could have, as D’Amelio has 3.4 followers on Triller.


TikTok may be the biggest player around short form video, but there’s enough volume around other platforms that TikTok-based campaigns can be expanded to other short form video apps. 

What Marketers Need To Know About YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is expected to arrive in America some time in the near future. Similar to Instagram Reels, it’s essentially a new feature to shoot and edit short videos directly from a preexisting mobile app, with YouTube capping the video run time at 15 seconds. It’s too soon to know to what extent Shorts will take off, but it does have a couple of key advantages over other TikTok clones. Being able to sample popular songs for audio clips is a huge part of how users create short form video and YouTube already has licensing agreements in place with major record companies, meaning there should be a large library of songs to use in Shorts videos. 

YouTube also has the advantage of being YouTube, meaning creators are already making original content there, and getting influencers to create 15-second content on YouTube should be an easier ask than asking them to create content for a brand new mobile app. 

What Marketers Need To Know About Triller

If TikTok was actually going to get banned in America, Triller is the short form video app that would be in the best position today to replace it. Created in 2015, it actually predates TikTok; Triller has 27 million active daily users and actually overtook TikTok in terms of App Store downloads in August around fears TikTok will disappear. Triller has two major categories of content, “Music” and “Social”, but Music is really its bread and butter. The app, which has signed deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music, allows users to create music videos through their unique auto-editing algorithm, matching self-filmed cell phone video with snippets of popular songs, usually in the rap genre. 

That formula has become a significant marketing tool for the music industry, for instance a snippet of Money Mouf by Tyga, Saweetie, and YG has received 15.6 million views on Triller with Unbelievable by Tiger Schroff getting 7.2 millions views. Regardless of what happens with TikTok, Triller has emerged as a powerful marketing tool for the music industry. 

What Marketers Need To Know About Byte

Created by Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman, Byte is essentially Vine 2.0; bringing back the 6-second long looping video format (which they’re currently experimenting with extending to 8 seconds). Launched in January 2020, pretty much everything is in flux with the app; for instance some features are on iOS but not Android; you can’t create sounds from popular music yet, and there’s no full screen video yet. Byte needs to be a little bit more built out for marketers to be able to evaluate it. 

What Marketers Need To Know About Dubsmash

Created way back in 2014, initially peaking in popularity in 2015 and seeing a resurgence in 2020; Dubsmash allows users to lip sync over audio clips including sections of songs, movies, and famous quotes. Focusing more on building community, inclusion of people underrepresented on social media and improving retention rate; Dubsmash is having the most success around dance challenge videos and comedy videos. For example, the hashtag #DubSmashChallenge has received 4.7 million views on Dubsmash, while the hashtag #Comedy received 9 million views. 

However, the largest reason Dubsmash’s profile is being raised is fears of TikTok disappearing. Sensor Tower reported that during the last week of June, Dubsmash worldwide weekly downloads increased by 235% to 511,000 compared to the previous week.  

Want more social media insights around video platforms? Request a demo with ListenFirst today!

Live Streaming on Social, What You Need to Know Part 2: Best Practices

If you’ve read the first part of our What Your Brand Needs To Know About Live Streaming On Social Media blog post, you know social media interest around live streaming has dramatically increased during the pandemic. You even know which social media platforms are most associated with this increased interest. However, understanding what live streaming content is most effective on which social media platform? That’s what this blog post is for. 

Here by platform, is a best practices primer on where your live streaming content would be the most appropriate.  

When Brands Should Be Using YouTube For Live Streaming 

Considering how YouTube is the social media platform most associated with video, and has so many different options around video, it’s the social platform where there’s the most situations where live streaming through them makes sense. For example, it’s easy to use around fundraisers, you just need to verify your phone number and check off a pre-approved charitable cause. YouTube has frequently been used by brands to raise money for charitable causes during the pandemic, such as the One World: Together At Home fundraiser, The Actors Fund’s #StarsInTheHouse fundraising series which reunited casts like Desperate Housewives, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band livestream fundraiser.  

YouTube is also being used for sponsorship opportunities around livestreams, such as American Express sponsoring a livestream with Alanis Morissette and the Broadway cast of Jagged Little Pill which got over 250,000 video views on YouTube; and for virtual premieres. For example Hyundai premiered the all new TUCSON on YouTube, generating 20K views in the first 3 hours it was up. 

When Brands Should Be Using Twitch For Live Streaming


One of the biggest advantages of using live streaming through Twitch is Amazon Watch Parties. Thanks to corporate integration, as long as everyone involved has an Amazon account, they can view Amazon’s library of movies and TV shows together through Twitch, commenting in real-time. For example, the Jenna & Julien podcast  hosted a Knives Out watch party on their Twitch channel.   

Since Twitch is a social platform extremely focused on gaming, brand live streams with a strong gaming angle should be hosted there. Tony Hawk, skateboarder and star of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 video game, appeared in a Chipotle livestream on Twitch that gave away 5,000 burritos and generated 61,403 total views. Additionally, as Twitch is a platform whose audience skews younger, it’s also ideal for live streams targeting a younger demographic, such as when We Bare Bears creator Daniel Chong Live streamed the movie’s premiere on Twitch. Even fashion is experimenting with Twitch, as Burberry is live streaming their Spring/Summer 2021 show there. 

When Brands Should Be Using Twitter For Live Streaming

While Twitter powered by Periscope does offer the ability to stream live video, for brands the biggest value Twitter offers brands around live streaming is amplifying the public conversation for watch parties, as opposed to streaming video directly. For example, there were 35,055 Tweets using the hashtag #DickinsonAtHome on July 30, 2020 around Hailee Steinfeld hosting a Twitter watch party of Dickinson’s first episode. Between May 11 – August 11, 2020 there were also 10,381 Tweets using the hashtag #MaiselMonday around a weekly watch party for season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which was followed by a live Q&A on Amazon Live; while a Michelle Obama Tweet about a global watch party for her Netflix show Becoming generated 39,529 responses.  

Overall, between March – August 2020, there were 858,794 Tweets mentioning a Watch Party. 

When Brands Should Use Facebook For Live Streaming 

Facebook is a platform that proportionally has a larger percentage of older users, and along those lines, it makes the most sense to live stream content there that can appeal to an older demographic. That often means live streaming sports related content, for example The Chicago Blackhawks streaming a training camp scrimmage or Heineken promoting a Champions League pregame show. Facebook is also a great live streaming platform for older musical acts such as Hampton Water sharing a Jon Bon Jovi concert on Facebook or The New Kids On The Block live streaming. Essentially if you’re targeting an audience older than millennials, Facebook should be viewed as a key live streaming platform. 

 When Brands Should Use Instagram For Live Streaming


Musical content and beauty tutorials both tend to do especially well on IG Live, so when brands find a way to combine the two, that’s an especially sweet spot for marketers. For example, Megan Thee Stallion generated 5.8 million views on a Revlon makeup tutorial she shared while Fenty Beauty generated over 100,000 views for a DJ set they live streamed for Juneteenth.

When Brands Should Use TikTok For Live Streaming 

TikTok is all about cool visuals and engaging (often lip-synced) audio. To that point, TikTok recently announced that they will be live streaming two fashion shows a week, from brands like Louis Vuitton and Alice + Olivia while they also premiered a special augmented-reality, live-streamed concert from The Weeknd. Meanwhile Sarah Cooper, who lip-syncs an impersonation of President Trump has become the platform’s breakout star, while drag content such as the #MyPride Realness livestream also performs well. For brands that want to stand out around TikTok live streaming, finding clever ways to mash up visuals and audio is a must. 


Live streaming is a communication tool that’s increasingly being embraced on social media, but it’s also important for brands to realize that audience expectations around live streaming can vary drastically from platform to platform. Having a bird’s eye view of what live streaming content is performing best in which contexts is critical in putting together your live streaming strategy. 

Want more ListenFirst insights around live streaming best practices? Request a demo today! 

Live Streaming on Social: What You Need to Know Part 1

It’s no secret that live streaming has become more front and center during the pandemic and, in the absence of most in-person events, has become an increasingly important marketing tool for brands. To answer how much more interested the social media audience has become in live streaming, ListenFirst is sharing a two part blog post on the topic. In this first post, we’ll discuss what the social media data reveals about audience interest in live streaming while in the second part, we’ll share live streaming best practices by platform.

Here are the three key insights you need to know about live streaming on social media during the pandemic.

Insight #1: The Virtual Version Of Big Cultural Events Are Still Driving Social Media Conversation  

There were 28,181,253 Tweets mentioning the phrases Livestream or Virtual around events, concerts, festivals, and performances between March – August 2020. Those conversations peaked on April 18 when there were 3.6 million Tweets mentioning Livestream or Virtual events, around the World Health Organization One World: Together At Home fundraiser. Other notable peaks included on June 7 when around the YouTube Dear Class of 2020 livestream there were 2.4 million Tweets mentioning Livestream or Virtual events, and on August 22 when there were 1.4 million Tweets mentioning either the phrase Livestream or Virtual around an event, thanks primarily to DC FanDome. 

For brands looking for sponsorship opportunities or just looking to join the cultural conversation, events that previously would have been held in person are still moving the needle on social media. 

Insight #2: There Have Been 159% More Tweets About Live Streaming During The Pandemic 

Between March – August 2020, there were 9,499,384 Tweets mentioning the specific word Livestream, which was 159% more Tweets than mentioned the term during March – August 2019. There aren’t just more live streams being shared during the pandemic; the social audience is also more interested in them overall. 

Insight #3: YouTube And Twitch Is Where The Most Live Streaming Is Occurring, TikTok Has The Most Steaming Related Growth 

Volume of Tweets Mentioning Both A Social Network And ‘Livestream’ During Quarantine 

TermLivestream Related Tweets March – August 2020Percentage of Change Compared To March – August 2019

Methodology: Looking at the number of Tweets mentioning both the word “Livestream” and a specific social network between March – August 2020 compared to the time period of March – August 2019. 

Based on how often Tweets have mentioned a Livestream and a specific social media platform in the last 6 months, there’s no question that YouTube is the social media platform most popular for Live Streaming, followed by Twitch. However, other than Snapchat, all of the social media platforms we tracked were mentioned in at least 130% more Livestream related Tweets during the past 6 months compared to March – August 2019. Additionally, while TikTok historically hasn’t been associated with Live Streaming, during the same time period there was a 756% increase in the amount of Tweets mentioning TikTok and a Livestream, the highest such total.    

Essentially, YouTube and Twitch are the most important social media platforms for live streaming but situationally almost all social media is relevant to live streaming.  


Based on the substantial increase in audience interest around live streaming during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that brands have a live streaming strategy. By working with ListenFirst, your marketing team will get the “live” insights necessary to dominate on social media. 

Want more ListenFirst insights around live streaming best practices? Request a demo today!