2020’s biggest social media trends and updates

Here are our top ten most memorable social media moments from 2020.

While 2020 may be the year that got put on hold, social trends and updates never stop.


As lockdown caused our reliance on social media for entertainment and connection to soar, our usage increased by an average of one hour per day. Throughout the year, platforms have rushed to release updates that respond to the new ways we were using them and online communities did what they do best – creating crazy new trends and challenges.

Here are our most memorable social moments in 2020.

Transition frenzy


Transitions became a runaway trend on TikTok this year as creators seamlessly switched into different outfits, make up looks or locations. This mind-bending TikTok is the most liked video under the transitions hashtag, with over 14.4M likes. These videos perform so well because viewers will often watch them multiple times to try and figure out how it works.

The trend has sparked countless challenges too, including the Wipe it down challenge, and the 10 seconds vs make up challenge. Brands like Guess have been quick to jump on the Wipe it down challenge to promote their clothing range, and Fenty Beauty shared their own version of the 10 seconds vs make up challenge to encourage sales of their latest eyeshadow palette.


Instagram monetises IGTV…


In May, Instagram offered creators a chance to make money through IGTV for the first time. They introduced IGTV ads and promised to share a 55% cut of that ad revenue with approved creators. Instagram hoped the update would motivate creators to use the feature more and create more long form content.

Tests first started in June for a select few, and recently expanded to more creators in October. It looks like IGTV ads will be rolled out globally in 2021.


Why is this the most liked transition video? 🧐 #transition #transitions #loop #foryou

♬ original sound – TRIPPIIEWINXX

…and Instagram Lives


Remember that period in lockdown when EVERYONE was going live? (Yep, even us) Instagram Live views increased by 70% from February to March. In response, Instagram launched Live Badges in June, allowing creators to generate revenue from this newly popular feature.

When the feature is launched globally, viewers will be able to purchase up to three different types of badges during your Live. Think of these badges as your audience having the opportunity to tip you for your work. The three different badge types are: one heart = $0.99, two hearts = $1.99 and three hearts = $4.99.


A new way to vlog


Previously YouTube has been the home for vlogs, but TikTokers have been using the platform’s 60-second video limit to post daily vlogs, using them to connect with their audience in a more raw and authentic way.

Trends include a day in the life of, morning and night time routines and daily and weekly vlogs. There’s also no limit as to who can go viral; we’ve seen small business owners, students, models, lawyers – even dogs!

TikTok inspires Instagram and YouTube


TikTok’s popularity soared during lockdown as the app saw a record-setting 315M app downloads in Q1 2020. This didn’t go unnoticed by Instagram and YouTube, who launched new short form video features this year.

In August, Instagram released Reels, allowing users to create and discover entertaining video content of up to 30-seconds. Creators can edit their clips with editing tools including AR effects, a countdown timer, align tools and music.

Then in September, YouTube announced tests for YouTube Shorts, “A new way for creators and artists to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones, to express themselves in 15-seconds or less.”


iOS 14 sparks a TikTok trend


In September, Apple launched the iOS 14 update sparking a new trend on TikTok. Users were spending hours editing their home screens with new widgets, backgrounds and app icons that reflected their personal aesthetics.

But this trend was short lived as users realised it hindered the usability of your phone. Just goes to show how quickly social media users are to drop a trend and move onto the next one.


Dancing skills have improved exponentially 😳

♬ 2 on Tinashe slowed and reverb – <3

10 years of Instagram


In October, we celebrated Instagram’s 10th birthday. To mark this milestone, the app dropped five updates in one day; IGTV shopping, Stories Map, two wellbeing updates and new app icons.

Picking up on the trend to redesign your home screen, Instagram launched a selection of custom app icons for users to choose from. There were multiple different solid coloured icons, a rainbow-coloured Pride icon and several versions of the original icon.


Fashion expression


Fashion trends and challenges were huge this year, especially on TikTok. Two of our favourite challenges were #EmojiOutfits and #WhatIdWear

19 year old fashion icon wisdm8 and “Best dressed guy on TikTok” according to Vogue, is a master at creating outfits from emojis. He turns his audience’s comments into outfits, based on the emojis they give him. This TikTok of his has over 2M likes. Fashion brand, ASOS is widely popular on TikTok and keeps up to date with the latest fashion video trends. The brand uploaded their version of #EmojiOutfits and it became their most popular organic TikTok, with over 361.3k views. 

The What I’d Wear challenge gave TikTokers a chance to flex their pop culture knowledge as creators shared what they’d wear as a cartoon, movie or TV character. the.navarose, well known for her incredible style, smashed this challenge with almost 2M likes on one of her videos.

Welcoming the Shop Tab


Taking another step closer to e-commerce, Instagram changed its home screen design in November for the first time in years. Instagram has swapped out the notifications tab for a new Shop Tab, removing Instagram Shops from the Explore page and placing it in a more accessible and prominent spot on the home screen.

After years of investing in their social commerce features, this move shows real intent from Instagram and will likely increase the number of Instagram Shoppers – and increase the sales potential for brands.


Gen Z being Gen Z


If you’re not across the slightly mad Ratatouille musical TikTok trend, then you’re probably not a Gen Zer. Living up to their title of being the most creative generation, Gen Zers on TikTok have turned a meme into a whole Broadway musical trend.

First starting when Em Jaccs uploaded her ode to Remy in August, Daniel Mertzlufft then revamped it into a big musical number in October. Since then, Gen Z has taken it upon themselves to start creating a Ratatouille musical. From choreography to graphic designs, music, costumes, make up and even stagehands. It’s an unusual trend, but we expect nothing less from the creative minds of Gen Z.

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