There is no doubt that 2020 was a year like no other.
And while many of us will be grateful that it is coming to an end, this year was a milestone for digital first experiences.
From the Tiger King phenomenon to a ratatousical with a Z-front on TikTok, it was full of surprising, delightful and downright bamboozling moments.
Ready to sum up the best of them? Buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride:
The top 10 social media moments of 2020:
- TikTok went viral
- Brands became broadcasters
- Global politics took center stage
- Instagram launched … pretty much anything you can think of
- In order to. Lots. Memes. Moments
- Each platform has published a Stories function
- Tiger King broke the internet
- E-commerce entered the building
- TikTok gave rise to the new wave of entertainers
- Ruper Grint stole David Attenburgh's crown
Social Media Moment # 1: TikTok went viral
2020 will forever be the year that Tick tock took the world by storm.
App Store and Google Play customers around the world have almost downloaded TikTok 115M Times in March 2020 broke the record for the most app downloads in a neighborhood at all.
The app gave us some of the most surprising and fun trends of 2020, from a Guy up Skateboard drinking cranberry juice to Bella Poarchs M to B (with over 529 million views and counts).
@ 420doggface208Morning Vibe # 420souljahz #ec #feelinggood # h2o # cloud9 #happyhippie #worldpeace #king #peaceup #merch #tacos #waterislife #high #morning # 710 # cloud9 ♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac
But what made TikTok so successful and why now?
# 1: TikTok trends infiltrated popular culture
Despite initially having a lot of traction with one Gen Z audienceThe app has successfully infiltrated all demographic data – with popular TikTok trends that transcend almost every social platform as well as traditional broadcast channels.
16 years old Charli D’Amelio accompanied Jimmy Fallon to a dance night on The Tonight Show, in which he starred Super Bowl advertisementand became the first TikTok star to reach 100 million followers.
@charlidameliomake sure you see me on the show with @jimmyfallon tonight !! ♬ Famous Friend Check – Model Roz
TikTok has also been adopted by mainstream celebrities. The Flip the Switch Challenge was recreated by A-listers like Emily Ratajkowski and the Fat Jewish, comedian Kate McKinnon and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.
@jloWait for that… 😂 ♥ ️ @ arod13 ♬ Nonstop – Dallin and Bella
Jason Derulo, Kylie Jenner, Lizzo, Charlie Puth and Tyga were the top 5 celebrities on TikTok in 2020, while Will Smith's Wipe it Down Challenge was among the most viral TikTok videos of the year.
# 2: collaboration over competition
The app's focus on collaboration has resulted in some of the most creative content on the internet, from viral dance trends to comedy sketches and transformations.
And just when we thought 2020 couldn't get any more surreal, thousands of TikTok users came together to create a virtual Ratatouille musical – or ratatousical for short.
@e_jaccsEine Liebesballad #remy #rat #ratatoille #disney #wdw #disneyworld #ratlove #ratlife #rats #Alphets #StanleyCup # CanYouWorkIt ♬ Ode to Remy – Em Jaccs
Actors, producers and prop designers turned to TikTok to put on a show unmatched on Broadway.
The result? Well, it's pretty amazing – and shows just how creative, collaborative, and far-reaching the viral video platform can be.
@danieljmertzlufftRemy: Add the musical OG song @e_jaccs. Vocals @cjaskier #remy #ratatouille #musicaltheatre #broadway #singer #musical #disney #fyp # disneymusicals ♬ original sound – danieljmertzlufft
Did you know already? You can now Schedule and schedule TikTok videos with later! Get exclusive early access to web and mobile now:
2020 Social Media Moments # 2: Brands Became Broadcasters
Millions of businesses have closed their physical doors to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 this year.
But as the saying goes: when one door closes, another opens. And future-oriented brands and companies used social media to bring their community together in challenging times.
The unforeseen hero of this postponement? Instagram Live.
While Instagram Live was once a relatively under-used feature, it has seen a huge boom this year. In April, Facebook and Instagram saw one 40% more usage, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live that double in a week.
As a result, brands have become so much more than the products they sell in 2020.
Founders and employees showed valuable content for their audience, from virtual yoga to home baking – and everything in between.
Since then, Instagram has introduced ways to monetize the live experience.
Businesses can now use Instagram live shopping to add a shoppable product link to your show that viewers can pay for Instagram live badge to tap their favorite creator.
TikTok has also launched a new live feature that developers can use to interact with their communities while doing so LinkedIn Introduction of a live stream functionality for pre-approved brands in the network.
Ready to bring your brand live? Find out how in our Step-by-step instructions for live operation on social media!
2020 Social Media Moments # 3: Global politics took center stage
Once upon a time, social media was mainly used to share beautiful snapshots of beautiful, distant places.
But not anymore.
In 2020, activism took center stage – more users shared their political beliefs, trained others and Support for social issues than ever before.
Social media is increasingly anchored in our everyday life and our culture and is probably the most important channel to strengthen public awareness and advocate change. So this shift towards activism is not only important, it's overdue.
In June of this year, over 21 million #BlackoutTuesday posts were shared on Instagram to support The Black lives count Move.
Activists, brands, celebrities and companies used social media to speak out against racial injustice in an unprecedented way – resulting in new dialogue and a feel for solidarity.
@crissa_aceWe are stronger together … no matter what color or sexual preference … let's fight together for what is right! ✊🏽 ## blacklivesmatter ## passtherock ♬ My tears become the sea – M83
Similarly, we've seen that social media is a huge part of voter mobilization in 2020.
On TikTok, the creators came together for Tok the Vote, a campaign that aims to encourage more young people to vote in the 2020 elections and make a difference.
@ tok.the.voteJoin us for the #TokTheVote Voter Registration Campaign! Link in bio to register! #tiktokcreator #registertovote #genz # tokthevote ♬ Say It (instrumental version) (originally performed by Doja Cat) – Elliot Van Coup
16-year-old Aidan Kohn-Murphy has opened the "TikTok for Biden" account (now known as @ gen.zforchange), which has over 1.2 million followers. Some videos have over 8.8 million views.
And it doesn't end there. From eco-activism to LGBTQ + rights, social media has become a welcome home for sociopolitical activism on every front.
Are you looking for inspiration on how to support a social cause? Take a look at this 9 brands that are driving meaningful change on Instagram.
2020 Social Media Moments # 4: Instagram launched … pretty much anything you can think of
Instagram has always been a pioneer in introducing new features, but this year it was a real bumper package.
To name a few, the social media juggernaut started:
In fact, the tech giant has been so busy that housing all of these new features was a challenge in itself.
The result? A redesign of the homepage – but not everyone was happy about it.
Much respect Adam for your transparency and appreciation of this type of content, but for me, your comment above is the main problem for many users. You're all so busy running to the next "change" that you forget the reason so many of us are visiting your app. To use it for the core functions.
– Alfie Green (@ItsAlfieGreen) November 13, 2020
Despite mixed reviews, Instagram's focus on scrolling and shopping is likely to stay here – and something we can expect to gain even more resonance in 2021.
Ready to deal with roles? Discover everything you need to know in our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Roles!
2020 Social Media Moments # 5: So. Many. Memes. Moments
In a year that brought us a global pandemic, a swarm of Weary hornets, and the Death of Mr. PeanutYou'll be forgiven for wanting some slight comic relief.
Ask and let the internet deliver.
Memes dominated almost every social platform this year, and many offered a humorous and understandable view of current events.
Popular trends included the How It Started How It Goes meme:
The Reese Witherspoon meme from January to September:
And the pictures from Dolly Parton Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tinder:
Alongside these trends, several pop culture moments sparked meme superstorms in 2020.
From that moment Mike Pence flew to Elon Musk and Grimes unconventional baby name and Billie Eilish at the Oscars, memes caught the zeitgeist and reigned supreme this year.
Start your 2021 strategy! Schedule, preview, and schedule your Instagram posts in advance with Later.
2020 Social Media Moments # 6: Every Platform Has Published a Stories Feature
For most people, stories have become an integral part of the social media landscape: the easiest way to share and consume bite-sized snippets of content on mobile devices.
In 2020, stories were published on all major social media platforms Twitter fleets, LinkedIn stories, and Pinterest story pins all make their debut.
Stories are already a staple food for Millennials and Gen Z users, and the change in how people feel comfortable about sharing and consuming content is hard to ignore.
"There's a whole generation that grows up with stories as a way of speaking." explained Pete Davies, senior director of product management at LinkedIn.
"It's more convenient to start conversations with a short-lived full-screen format than posting updates," he said.
With this in mind, we can assume that stories will become increasingly popular and well known across all platforms in 2021.
2020 Social Media Moments # 7: Tiger King Broke the Internet
Hey all you cool cats and kittens!
No 2020 list would be complete without mentioning one internet phenomenon: Tiger King.
In the Netflix documentary, almost everyone spoke online and generated over 1.8 million organic interactions in 10 days on Twitter alone.
The show's flamboyant characters and twisted plot line were made for internet gold, meme paradise for everyone.
I'm trying to explain #TigerKing to my friends who haven't seen it before pic.twitter.com/Lrn2DyVKSP
– Deana Harley (@Deanaharleynews) March 27, 2020
From Instagram AR filters to BuzzFeed “Which Character Are You?” Quizzes, no corner of the internet has been untouched by Tiger King fever.
No doubt the viral buzz for the show, coupled with COVID-19 restrictions, contributed to its huge success.
Hope these pictures are enough to convince you to check out #TigerKing pic.twitter.com/CHJbslducv
– Rocky NF (@TonganBeefcake) March 31, 2020
Take that away? The power of meme culture is not to be underestimated, and neither is Carole Baskin.
2020 Social Media Moments # 8: E-Commerce entered the building
In case you missed it, 2020 was the year social shopping went mainstream.
With COVID-19 forcing many companies to temporarily close their doors, many platforms opened up new opportunities to shop on social networks.
Instagram introduced a new one business Tab for the start page of the app that was started Instagram Live, IGTV shoppingand shopping Instagram guidesas well as rolling out Instagram checkout to all Eligible Companies in the United States.
And it doesn't stop there.
According to Adam Mosseri from Instagram Instagram roles could soon be one thing – making almost every part of the app purchasable.
Now you can buy directly from IGTV. 🛍 🎥 And later this year we'll start testing shopping on casters.
We want to continue to make it easier for you to find products you love while supporting your favorite creators. pic.twitter.com/szutd49ZM2
– Adam Mosseri @ (@mosseri) October 5, 2020
TikTok shopping has gained momentum again this year through a unique partnership with the Shopify e-commerce platform.
Merchants who gain access to the program can now link their TikTok for Business account to their Shopify account and sell products on TikTok using shoppable video ads in the feed.
Meanwhile, Pinterest has also improved its levels Shopping, Introduction a new shop tab for users to discover and shop for products in stock.
Did you know already? You can plan, plan and automatically with later publish on Pinterest – free!
2020 Social Media Moments # 9: TikTok has reached a new wave of entertainers
The biggest fallout of the TikTok frenzy in 2020 was the rise of the TikTok comedian.
@jeffrightnowQuibi shutting down # fyp ♬ original sound – Jeff Wright
From Jeff Right Now to Jordan Firstman, TikToks has brought new and alternative talent to global success For you sideand we are here for it.
@ jtfirstman ## fyp ## foryou ## foryoupage ## bananabread ## funny ## comedy ## tiktokcomedy ♬ original sound – Tik Toker
Maybe the best part of it? We saw new comedic talent from all over the world. The Kenyan-based comic Elsa Majimbo now has over 1.3 million followers on Instagram and over 1.9 million likes on TikTok.
@ elsa.majimboIf I need to participate in anything social ♬ It's a pandemic – Elsa Majimbo
From pop culture parodies to spectacularly good ones Keira Knightly impressionsTikTok really delivered the goods in 2020.
2020 Social Media Moments # 10: Rupert Grint stole David Attenburgh's crown
All records are to be broken, and this year there was a one-two for the British on Instagram.
Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint Set the record for the fastest time to get 1 million followers on Instagram and get the title from other Britons and broadcasters Sir David Attenborough.
He took the crown after hitting the 1 million mark in just 4 hours and 1 minute and shaved 43 minutes ahead of Attenborough's record. Quite magical, some might say.
In his first post on Wednesday, Grint introduced his new little daughter to the world.
He wrote, “Hey Instagram … only 10 years late, but here I am. Grint on the gram! Here to introduce you all to G. Grint on Wednesday. Stay safe, Rupert. "
And that's it!
From TikTok viral trends to groundbreaking ecommerce features, 2020 was a year like no other – and one that is likely to change the way we use social media for years to come.
Ready to be one step ahead of all social media trends in 2021 and beyond? Register now for the later e-mail newsletter:
Do you like this post? Pin It! 📌
Jillian is a content marketer at Later in the UK. She is a fan of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @ jillwrren.