Social Media Update Q3 2020

From TikTok to the US Presidential Election, Politics Take Center Stage

About This Report
This report explores the latest developments in the social media landscape, including a look at TikTok Global, Instagram’s launch of Reels, and new election-related moves from Facebook and Twitter.

Executive Summary

This is the latest installment in an ongoing series of updates for the major social media platforms. The goal of each report is to provide a summary of key recent developments and what they mean for marketers.

How has our forecast for US and UK social network users changed?

We have made a slight upward adjustment to our US forecast, while our UK forecast is unchanged from before the pandemic. Increased social media engagement during the pandemic hasn’t necessarily translated to strong growth in new monthly users, as most people who want to use social networks already do.

What do marketers need to know about TikTok?

The future of TikTok in the US remains uncertain. What is clear is that any decision will affect a large number of people: We expect there will be 65.9 million monthly US TikTok users this year, factoring out fake, duplicate, nonhuman, and business accounts.

How are other social platforms responding to TikTok’s rise?

Instagram launched its highly-anticipated feature Reels, which allows users to create short videos set to music. YouTube rolled out Shorts, its mobile-first short-video product, in India. And Snapchat introduced a slew of new TikTok-like features, including adding music and a test for vertical navigation.

How are social networks preparing for the US presidential election?

Facebook will suspend new purchases of political ads in the week before the election and expand its work to remove or label election-related misinformation, including content that references COVID-19 to discourage voting. Twitter has bumped up security on high-profile government accounts following its July hack, and Snapchat has added a “Mini” embedded app through which users can register to vote.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explores key developments for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter in Q3 2020, as well as our latest forecast for US and UK social network users.

KEY STAT: The pandemic has not dramatically changed our forecast for monthly US and UK social network users in 2020.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Trend in Focus: Trump vs. TikTok
  3. Facebook
  1. Instagram
  2. Snapchat
  3. Twitter
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery


Jasmine Enberg


Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst