Social Media Trends in 2020

Social Media

By Sharanya Venkatesh on 01/06/2020

We are happy to present you the most significant Social Media Trends in 2020!

Below you’ll find the most influential social media trends in 2020. For each article, our team of Digital Marketing experts left recommendations. This is to support you to make better decisions in this fast moving environment:



The year 2020 has brought some unexpected changes to our society. How do these affect our use of social media? A major driver of social media trends in 2020 is user behavior. Here are upcoming trends for 2021. These might be a good indicator for planning your strategy.

1. Social Media & Social Consciousness
Global issues that the world has faced in 2020 will result in users expecting brands to take action to strengthen trust and establish a strong ethical position.

2. Giants Flex their Muscles
Social media giants Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are well prepared for sudden changes and with a quick ability to adapt. Though in 2021, some government regulations can be expected. Besides, social commerce is becoming increasingly.

3. Old is Gold
2021 will bring back some old-school marketing techniques into focus. For instance, podcasts have made a comeback and this is expected to be the case next year as well.

Watersky’s Insights:

While there is greater fragmentation of social platforms in 2020, it is important to keep your focus on the biggest players in the following year. With deep pockets, they are in the greatest position to innovate. With nostalgia and old school marketing returning to the forefront, these giants also stand to gain interest due to their longstanding reputations. Finally, with morale low after 2021, users will look for positivity and authenticity from businesses. This is where social consciousness, authentic conversation and engagement will play a big role.
[learn more]



Stories have been available on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat for a long time. It even penetrated messaging services like WhatsApp. Now even LinkedIn is rolling out this feature internationally. The feature allows companies to discuss business, news, or other important topics. A maximum of 20 seconds is provided for each story. Similar to stories on other platforms, the content is only available 24 hours a day.

Watersky’s Insights: Stories can sometimes seem like an overdone feature across platforms. On LinkedIn, however it can serve as a great tool for two things. Since stories feature at the top of users’ feeds, it can help you stand out with important messages. Further, stories can be a more interactive way to engage your user base. Ephemeral content that only lasts 24 hours usually see higher engagement rates than regular posts.

Our Recommendation:

Go ahead, use the feature while it’s hot off the press! Compare your stats to regular posts and then decide what kinds of updates are best suited for stories.
[learn more]

MARCH 2020


TikTok’s user base is expected to increase by 22% and reach 45.4 million this year (US numbers). Depsite such success, people still think of it as a Snapchat reboot. However, their differences are prominent, with TikTok being a Gen-Z approved app and Snapchat being more popular among millennials. Snapchat is more advanced when it comes to advertising. Brands are offered various options, from story ads to presenting your own filters and lenses. On the other hand, TikTok is still developing its advertising capabilities, now only offering cost per mille basis ads.

Another distinction lies in the content presented. Snapchat delivers traditional brand messages through quality content, whereas TikTok’s focus is more on interactivity. TikTok is a platform where brands can interact with their targets in a fun, creative and engaging manner.

Now the question is whether I should use TikTok or Snapchat. What platform is right for me?

Our advice:

Select based on your marketing goals and your audience.

You can combine channels for the best results. Firstly, you have to credit TikTok with the fact that it is growing in popularity and usage. This makes harder to find arguments for not joining the platform. However, is case your capacities allow for it, there is no need to choose for one channel above the other. Snapchat still inhabits a large fanbase and its content can easily be recycled from e.g. Instagram. TikTok on the other hand offers new ways of reaching a very hot target group. While some content from other channels can still be used, brands should be aware that creativity and frequent updates are very important on TikTok.
[learn more]



Over 500 million user with an average consumption of 52min a day: there is no doubt that Tik Tok joined the race to the Social Media Trends in 2020 olymp. Particularly young audiences enjoy to upload short yet creative videos that circle around a certain song or melody. Brands started to experiment on the platform and one of the key strategies to use TikTok professionally is – no surprise – contracting Influencers to promote your brand. Another option particularly useful for larger brands is to kick-off a so-called “Hashtag challenge” in which users can compete by uploading their videos including  your chosen hashtag to see who is the funniest or most creative.

Last but not least, Instagram now seems to join the movement. Facebook’s social media giant is known to steal ideas from other platforms (such as “stories” function from Snapchat), now they seem to develop a new story-interface that copies TikTok’s features.

Our recommendation: 

Adapt vertical videos and consider TikTok for your brand.

The trend of TikTok creates spillover effects to other platforms and demonstrates how important vertical videos are. We therefore recommend to start creating and adapting your content accordingly. Furthermore, TikTok has evolved to a serious social platform and should be evaluated as a channel to reach audiences between 13–18 years old. When considering TikTok, it could be useful to find songs or sounds that fit your brand.
[learn more]


Get our reviews earlier and regularly:
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive biweekly updates on Social Media Trends as well as Online Marketing.



Social Listening is a process of tracking and analyzing consumer insights from a variety of internet  sources. It can range from brand names, campaign hashtags to competitors, specific products or people. Within those reaches companies can then see which words or phrases are mentioned most frequently. This can lead to several benefits: Next to a proper reputation management, particularly product launches are of interest for social listeners to receive first-hand customer feedback. Another important field of use is customer service. People expect brands to be faster, more personal and helpful in their online service approach. Social Listening can increase your reach up to 70% and thereby help satisfying your customers.

If you’re interested in available tools please check the end of the article.

Social Listening ist ein wichtiger Teil des Social Media Marketing 2019

Social Listening is becoming a crucial part of companies Social Media Marketing.

Our advice: 

Establish a Social Listening routine.

Both small/mid-sized and large companies can truly benefit from Social Listening. Even if your capacity for content production or product launches is considerably low, it can be worth tracking what words and consequently emotions are current within your industry. Awario (one of the tools presented) offers a free trial and is affordable at 30€ / month. We therefore recommend test Social Listening and thereby establish a routine that helps you for upcoming product launches, customer service and research purposes.



News about automation software and chatbots hits the headlines quite frequently, yet only very few facts and tests about their actual performance exist.

Hubspot, took on the case and created a showdown testing how well automated Instagram accounts perform vs. human accounts. In their experiment, 2 similar profiles (name, description) posted equivalent content (pictures, hashtags) at the same time. The only difference: One account was steered automatically by Grammista which means that all outbound engagement (commenting & liking other posts, following other channels) was done artificially. The other account was controlled by a human. The result:
– The human account achieved 3x more engagement and 2,000 likes more on its posts
– In percentages, the human account gained more larger followers whereas the bot account attracted more automated accounts
see here for more results.

Our advise:

Use a human approach when people seek deeper engagement with your brand.

Although this experiment was conducted on Instagram only (where bots are not allowed anymore, by the way), its implications are manifold and applicable more broadly for the automation industry. While we often recommend using chatbots for enlarging one’s customer service, this test clearly showed that this cannot replace the human touch.  Automation software and chatbots should therefore only be used for channels with very high interaction quantities and whenever humans are unavailable (e.g. after office hours). Whenever deeper engagement is demanded, such as for unusual requests or emotional comments, human interaction is advisable.Ideally, the data of both systems is then fused in one central database so that both parts of the system can learn from each other. This increases the service quality over time.

JULY 2019


A recent study by InfluencerDB showed that engagement rates of influencer posts (e.g. like to follower ratio) are dropping: from 4% in 2016 to 2,4% in 2019. This development is visible across all categories and especially so for travel influencers (8% in 2018, 4,5% in 2019). A beacon of hope against this are Micro Influencers: While accounts with 10,000+ followers had just 3,6% engagement rates, accounts with 1,000 – 5,000 followers achieved 8,8%. While reasons for this may vary, smaller Influencers are generally seen as less commercial and hence more credible & relevant to their fanbases. Additionally, the study support the hypothesis that major social platforms favor smaller influencers over larger ones by granting them a higher visibility (which in turn drives engagement).

Influencer-Raten in Social Media Martketing

Influencer posts suffer from a decreasing number of likes and comments.

Our advice:

Evaluating influencers on Cost-per-Engagement/Reach basis

While cooperating with Micro Influencers is an obvious solution, we recommend increasing comparability between influencers by evaluating them based on an Expected Media ROI model. For example, metrics such as Cost-per-Reach and Cost-per-Engagement can provide a more meaningful understanding of the cooperation’s value (than the fanbase size) and enable comparability to alternative Marketing tools. A more unusual possibility is to let Influencers take over your brand’s Messenger platforms (e.g. Chat, Whatsapp). This gives brands a more human touch, while also driving interaction by activating the influencer’s fanbase. Letting the influencers work with an internal expert could add even more relevance to the cooperation.
[learn more]

Get our reviews earlier and regularly:
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive biweekly updates on Social Media Trends as well as Online Marketing.

MAY 2019


The platform reportedly begins experimenting with hiding like as well as follower counts. Instagram stated that the platform wants to move towards more privacy and thereby encourage a more mindful usage of the app by choosing consumption based on interest and not on the most popular content. “Influential”, an influencer marketplace, commented about impacts for influencers and marketers. They see the viability of marketing on Instagram as proven, regardless of the existence of likes and don’t fear crucial negative consequences for brands.

Our assessment:

Another incentive to focus on smaller, specialized Influencers.

We often mentioned that product-specific content provided by authentic influencers wins over the pure number of likes or followers. Potential customers are attracted by people who display expertise about the product and its category. The potential removal of hard factors such as likes are likely to increase this trend. We therefore recommend to reach out to specialized and authentic influencers.

MAY 2019


At the F8 conference, Marc Zuckerberg recently announced “the next chapter” in the history of Facebook and laid out several plans to cope with the current privacy concerns cycling around the social media giant. In six key respects Facebook will try to improve It’s users data safety: private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, safety, interoperability and security data storage. Furthermore, Facebook announced to stock up its reserve to cover upcoming penalties regarding the data scandals. Up to 5 billion dollars are anticipated according to Facebook.

Our advise:

Closely observe the aftermath of data privacy scandals.

We consider the outcome of those scandals as the single most important determinator of Facebook’s future. As announced in our 2018 recap, users got way more sensitive to their online privacy and safety so that the next months will be crucial for Zuckerberg & co. The co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, even suggested the company to finally “break-up” deeply concerned by last years developments.

MAY 2019


In the recent years Snapchat lost many of its users to Instagram which let many marketers to de-prioritize the platform in their marketing mix. In 2019 the app that invented the story-function could strike back:

Numbers & People: 

Promising news in financial and personnel matters

After Snapchat lost users for 3 quarters in a row, it finally reported positive figures. 190 million users (+4 million) now share creative pictures and videos via Snapchat. Additionally, the ad revenue increased by 40% to 320 million USD and losses were successfully reduced to 310 million USD (-276 million). Secondly, the HR department hit the headlines by announcing a new CMO: Kenny Mitchell. He comes with experience from McDonalds and Gatorade and will initially work on improving the android app as well as gaining audiences overseas.

Ideas & Announcements: 

Functions, partnerships and security matters

Snapchat already announced several new, creative ideas to use its momentum. Firstly, new gimmicks that e.g. let users solve math puzzles will be introduced soon. Secondly and more importantly, several partnerships with Tinder, Fitbit or Venmo (hosted by Paypal) were announced. Lastly, Snapchat wants to learn from Facebook and pointed out to focus on data privacy for its users.

Snapchat ist zurück als Spitzenkandidat in den Social Media Marketing Trends.

Can Snapchat regain its position in 2019?

Our advise regarding Snapchat: 

Keep an eye on the platform and Mitchell’s decisions.

We are positively surprised by the development of Snapchat and look forward to what extend the new CMO can boost this trend. The recent announcements sound promising, in particular the partnerships in which we see a high potential to reach back to millions of users that left the platform in the last years. We therefore recommend to keep an eye of the platform.

Get our reviews earlier and regularly:
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive biweekly updates on Social Media Trends as well as Online Marketing.

MARCH 2019


The social media platform expands its advertisement options in Germany and other european countries. The so-called “pins” that can be added to posts to forward users to your website are the original way of advertising on Pinterest. In the future however, Pinterest will launch regular ads as well as “Buy-Pins” that work like  shoppable posts (e.g. on Instagram).

Pinterest ist eine Social Media Plattform zum teilen kreativer Inhalte.

Pinterest is a Social Media Platform on which users share creative content.

Our assessment:

Consider to invest into Pinterest.

250 million followers, growing user numbers and continuous improvement of marketing opportunities: Pinterest is catching up on its big social media competitors. We recommend to experiment with Pinterest as long as it still benefits from its rather “commercial-free” image. Next to the ads, it offers promising influencer marketing opportunities as well as targeting options.
[learn more] (German article)

MARCH 2019


The social media platform announced that the so-called “Branded Content Ads” are going to be rolled out this year. In 2017, Instagram enabled influencers to identify their posts as sponsored. Using the upcoming update, brands will be able to use those posts featuring their products as a new ad format. Considering a report of Mediakix showing that IG stories and posts are the most effective influencer formats across all social platforms, this update could turn out to be interesting for marketers.

Our assessment:

Consider media budget for influencers.

This new form of promotion should be considered when planning your media budgets in the future: evaluate where “Branded Content Ads” could be more valuable than traditional online ads.
[learn more]



In several articles we mentioned that smaller-sized influencers beat those with millions of followers, because of their higher authority and credibility amongst followers. “Social Media Today” surveyed 1,000 global micro-influencers (<10,000 followers) regarding their opinion towards posting sponsored content: 83% are posting brand recommendations on a weekly basis. Also, nearly half of them spend over 5 hours on social media per day and want to become a professional content creator in the future.

Our advise:

Research thoroughly about micro- or nano-influencers in your niche

The survey shows that micro-influencers are not only often most favorable from a brand point of view, but also more than open to product promotions. However, they pay huge attention to their authenticity – brand fit is therefore crucial. In case you want to learn more about the differences between smaller and bigger-sized influencers, read this guide.
[learn more]

Get our reviews earlier and regularly:
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive biweekly updates on Social Media Trends as well as Online Marketing.



NY Times reported that Mark Zuckerberg plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger this year. While this may have shocking security impacts for individuals, we wondered how this might impact marketers. Firstly, users are expected to engage more across Facebook’s messenger ecosystem. Secondly, brands will  potentially be able to connect with customers more easily.

Our assessment:

Observe the developments & user reactions.

Data Security is one of the key terms in this year’s user experience. Before breaking out in astonishment about marketing opportunities, we therefore recommend to observe how sensible users will react to the merger. On the other hand, this change incentivizes to invest in messenger marketing tools such as chatbots.
[learn more]



Quintly recently analysed over 9 million posts on Instagram and revealed interesting insights, especially regarding user interactions. The study was clustered into 6 account groups based on the follower-size, and then analyzed in 6 categories from post-type performance to the impact of emojis. The key takeaways: Interactions on videos are 21% higher compared to photos, yet only 17% of the content posted are videos. Moreover, based on interaction-rates the “perfect” content-piece uses 1–50 or even zero characters, no hashtags and 1–3 emojis. Note: the figures slightly vary for each follower size.

Quintly stellte heraus, dass Videos zu 21% höheren Interaktionen führen als Fotos.

Quintly figured out that videos provoke 21% more interactions than photos.

Our assessment:

Follow Instagram studies and updates closely.


The study shows how many the social media trends in 2020 should be considered by marketers to get the most out of the platform. We recommend the use of videos, condensed text as well as emojis. However, the numbers regarding hashtags might be misleading, since they are still essential to gain awareness outside your follower group. We advise to follow trends such athe announced profile redesign closely.
[to the study]


Get our reviews earlier and regularly:
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive biweekly updates on Social Media Trends as well as Online Marketing.

We hope that our social media marketing trends prove helpful to you and your team!

Best digital regards,

Watersky Digital Signature