2020 Social Media Trends and Covid Impact

Executive Summary

Internet users and social media users have been growing significantly in the past decade let alone 2020. According to the global Digital 2020 report published by Hootsuite, more than 4.5 billion people around the world use the internet and more than 3.8 billion social media users. The report also suggested that the number of social media users would increase making more than half the world’s population social media users. In Egypt, there has been an increase in the number of users making the total number of internet users 54.74 million users, and a total of 42 million social media users until January 2020. With the recent changes around the world that are affecting the overall digital scene, this article will explore these effects on the Egyptian market by first exploring the main global social media trends in the first quarter of the year.

Latest global social media trends in 2020

As we started the second quarter of 2020, it is interesting to have a look at the social media trends so far, especially that 2020 has been a unique year in several ways. There has been a number of changing variables that are expected to further diversify in the future with the outbreak of COVID-19 and its effect on the economy, society and basically everything around us. These major economical, social and political changes have affected the daily lives of citizens around the world and therefore changed their behaviors affecting all businesses and services around the world. With the increase in social media users around the world, these critical changes in the lives of citizens have been reflected on social media trends globally.

According to emarketer’s recently published report there has been a significant change in the experience of social media users with an increase in the usage to remain connected. The report mentioned that users have been increasing as they try to stay connected, informed and entertained while in quarantine. It states that “The platforms have added new features, including Snapchat’s wellness tool and Instagram’s “Co-Watching” option, to encourage people to stay home and stay healthy”(Enberg, 2020).

In addition, the report discusses how social network ad products and targeting have changed in the first quarter of the year, where we find some new features added. Facebook for instance made some amendments such as an option for users to stop getting certain ads as a way to give users control over their own experience. Furthermore, Facebook has put on hold its plans to launch ads in Whatsapp for the time being. Instagram on the other hand added ads option to their IGTV experience. Moreover, there has been an increase in the usage of Tiktok application worldaide and in the MENA region during the first quarter of 2020 as presented below.


Social media trends in the Egyptian market

The Egyptian market is one of the largest in the region, this makes it a trend setter for the region when it comes to marketing strategies. The Egyptian market has been viewed as a market with high potential growth and this has been stressed upon the past years specially with the rise of startups and the increased attention given to them through the government policies. Egypt is also viewed as the media hub for the region making it again a trend setter. The Egyptian digital marketing landscape is huge, complex and competitive.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/462957/internet-users-egypt/

According to Digital2020 Egypt report the social media penetration in Egypt has increased between April 2012 and January 2020 by 2.9 million (7.3%) making the total number of users 42 million with a social media penetration of 41%. In addition,  the internet penetration in Egypt stood at 54% until January 2020.

Source: https://www.socialbakers.com/resources/reports/egypt/2020/january

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 and the quarantine policy taken by the government we have witnessed major changes towards digital solutions. These trends affected the daily activities of businesses starting with digital meetings to new marketing strategies through different social media platforms. Although Facebook remains to be the main social media platform used by Egyptians, we have witnessed an emergence of another platform during the quarantine period that being Tiktok, where we also started noticing ads appearing on the application as well as creatives applying campaigns through the application.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the quarantine lifestyle have caused users in Egypt just like the rest of the world to spend more time on different digital platforms, many of which are unpaid such as the social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter.

COVID-19 effect globally

Different indicators through several research firms around the world have shown an increase in the usage of social media platforms during the first quarter of 2020. According to a recently published article by ClickZ; “Global Web Index found that – while almost 45% of global consumers are devoting more time to social media – over 10% are also creating and uploading videos themselves” (Prasad, 2020). Furthermore, according to a report by Social Bakers that relied on data from 18 industries and five regions worldwide, the pandemic has led many brands to cut their marketing budgets, resulting in less competition for social media advertising inventory and lowers costs. As stated in the report “For brands across the 18 industries examined, average global CPM (cost per mille/thousand) in mid-March was $0.81, down by more than half compared with its high in late November 2019 ($1.88). In other words, the report argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven down social media advertising rates globally, and it has also led to a decline in engagement with campaigns. Having said that, health related and hygiene related products such as soaps and cleaning detergents have seen an increase during the current situation.


            The outbreak of COVID-19 has been affecting the entire economy and most experts expect even more changes in the coming months, it is very hard to predict what will be happening next given the current situation. As per the different studies many businesses globally have decreased their spending on social media ads. This however, can be due to the fact that businesses did not expect this shift and are trying to cut expenses given that their daily activities have been negatively affected.However, as businesses started changing the way they do businesses to survive, marketers are also expected to adjust accordingly. The marketing strategy online will start evolving with the changes in the market, businesses and the way the products will start changing to be able to survive the current situation with almost all consumers staying at home.

The social media trends in Egypt throughout the first quarter remain almost the same with an increase in the number of users, making it an opportunity for marketers to utilize social media ads. The challenge now relies on the products presented and that can be marketed for on the different social media platforms. Marketers should also consider the new platforms such as Tiktok as social media ads platforms as well. There is a huge opportunity since the users and viewership for online materials has increased.

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