February 18, 2020

Everything That’s Happened So Far on Social Media in 2020

Christina Sirabella

We’re only seven weeks into the new year and there’s already been so much social media news.

To kick off 2020, experts and executives at the annual Consumer Electronics Show discussed all kinds of media trends for the year, such as: the rise of the “digital detox” among a budding “social recession,” the potential (and long-awaited) merging of podcasting and social media, what 5G will mean for business, and the sci-fi-esque way that Gen Z has been conditioned to consume content.

It’s still too early to tell if the predictions from CES are coming true, but here’s a rundown of all of the social media news so far in 2020—in case you haven’t been paying attention (or you’ve been participating in one of those “digital detoxes”).

TikTok Did a Bunch of Things

TikTok started the year strong—in fact, news about the platform has appeared in our newsletter every single week so far!

On the heels of Snapchat’s announcement about Cameo (a tool that will allow users to replace faces in looping videos with their own), news of TikTok’s own face swapping, or “deepfake,” tool leaked. To use it, users will reportedly be prompted to take a biometric scan of their face, and choose from a selection of videos on which to add it.

Then, it was reported that the platform was developing a new curated feed and its own highlights section, similar to Snapchat’s Discover stream. The feed will feature content from creators as well as publishers, which will be new to the platform.

On the ads front, advertisers saw early promise in TikTok’s self-serve ad platform. Partners are still reportedly looking to see improvement in targeting capabilities, but running TikTok ads could soon become a lot easier for everyone.

Lastly, the platform tested a very Instagram-y profile layout and launched the “TikTok Tips” account, partnering with popular influencers to deliver messages about user safety and well-being. Coincidentally, this came the same week Snapchat announced Here For You, a search tool that will surface “safety resources” from mental health experts when users search for topics like anxiety, depression, suicide, and bullying.

Super Bowl Ads Happened

Brands incorporated social media into their Super Bowl ad strategies more than ever this year, with many (such as Hyundai, Bud Light, and Mountain Dew) stirring up the hype for their commercials with coordinating social campaigns. Bud Light even let fans choose between two commercial options.

One of the most notable social media campaigns was #RIPeanut, in which Planters announced via a teaser video that its beloved mascot, Mr. Peanut, had died. This built buzz for the brand’s reveal of its new mascot, “Baby Nut,” in its Super Bowl spot.

Following the game, our CEO, Carrie Kerpen, talked on Yahoo Finance about how this year’s Super Bowl ads were really about capturing the attention of the second screen—because people are on social media on their mobile phones constantly throughout the game. Planters’ Baby Nut was a winner not only with its teasers and activations before the game, but it also won during the game with 1.7 million people watching Baby Nut on a Twitter livestream. Hyundai’s “Smaht Pahk,” and the way they teased the commercial beforehand on TikTok and Twitter, was another big winner.

New Features Are In, Bad Ones Are Out

As Mark Zuckerberg’s focus on private messages and experiences continues, Instagram rolled out long-awaited desktop DM capabilities—which will be a boon to community managers everywhere.

Another new feature was the Off-Facebook Activity tool, which allows users to control how advertisers can use the third-party data that Facebook collects about them. It lets users see what apps and websites have shared user activity to Facebook, which then uses it to serve more relevant ads.

Spotify began testing a new feature that allows influencers to add Stories to their public playlists. Like Instagram, Spotify Stories can include small song snippets and album art as a way to preview the playlist—which begs the question: Is 2020 the year streaming goes social?

Pinterest introduced an augmented reality “try on” feature. Using the platform’s Lens tool, cosmetics brands are creating AR filters that allow users to see what different makeup shades might look like on them when a “try on” button appears on select products. Pinterest plans to roll out this feature to more product categories in the future.

On the other hand, a few features were removed—starting with Instagram’s removal of the IGTV button from the top of the feed. The platform confirmed that most users were simply not using it to access IGTV content. Instead, most are consuming the longer videos via in-feed teasers and the Explore section.

Facebook is shutting down its Audience Network’s mobile web placements, citing increased demand for other formats across mobile apps, and confirming that, starting April 11th, requests for web and in-stream would no longer be filled by Audience Network.


Whew, that was a lot. Want the most up-to-date social media news and updates sent straight to your inbox every Thursday? Sign up for our weekly newsletter, #TBT.

Tags: Facebook, Instagram, Niche Networks, Pinterest, Snapchat, Trends, Twitter

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