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Tweets Tell Us What Matters To People: 6 Notable Trends For 2020

October 23, 2020 Sarah Cavill

At 2020 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference: A Virtual Experience, Ryan Oliver, senior director of Twitter Next, offered an analysis of conversation data taken from Tweets sent during the pandemic. The study looked at 10 billion Tweets and 5000 survey responses. Conversation data can offer insights into “behaviors and need states” that appeared during lockdown and help us understand which behaviors will likely stick around in the future. Understanding changing consumer behaviors can be helpful for brands trying to reach evolving audiences.

People Tweeted About Their Well-Being And The State Of The World

In the course of studying the conversation data, Twitter discovered 10 key topics that stood out, and Oliver highlighted six noteworthy Twitter trends.

1. Friendships & Social Lives 

Shutterstock_1744841810 Friends drinking spritz at cocktail bar with face masks - New normal friendship concept with happy people having fun together toasting drinks at restaurant - Bright end filter with focus on left woman

For most people, the pandemic meant that priorities changed, leading to an examination of boundaries, support and respect from friends and what it means to be social. Oliver noted that more than 50% of respondents have made changes to friendships that made them feel proud and hopeful. Some of the Twitter conversation data revealed that quite a few people had decided on quality over quantity when it came to friendships.

2. Race & Inequality 

Twitter is the centerpiece of the social media exchange of ideas about cultural and social issues, and the racial justice and Black Lives Matter movements that ignited this year are no different. The Twitter conversation data study found that more non-Black citizens than Black citizens believe the progress made in addressing social inequality this year is permanent. Twitter Next also concluded that brands play a pivotal role in creating a more equitable society. Oliver highlighted a Tweet that said, “Brands can help. Brands should help.” 

3. Mental Health 

The health and wellness of people around the world, mental and physical, has been top of mind for most people this year. Between COVID-19 and the stress of multiple crises at once, Tweets from people who “feel their mental health has become a bigger priority” were up 55%. And, Tweets were up 44% from those who felt focusing on their mental health has made them more anxious. People around the world are likely searching for ways to cope with mental health needs, and as Oliver put it, “mental health has entered the chat.” 

4. Hobbies & Interests 

Shutterstock_1444590080 Portrait of concentrated woman using special tools to help different plants be healthy and fresh. Gorgeous lady digging dirt under young green tropical sprout. Gardening concept

Hobbies are the story of the early days of lockdown. Sourdough bread, puzzles, frothy coffee, plant collecting — the forced stillness of quarantines led to many new hobbies and interests. Oliver warns however, that the increased attention on hobbies and interests might not endure for all generations. While Tweets from people saying their new hobbies would be permanent were up 51%, there was a generational divide with younger Tweeters less likely to keep up their new hobbies. 

5. Leadership 

“Brands act as employers before advertisers,” said Oliver. People are Tweeting about their workplaces, and how a company culture is perceived can impact trust and engagement from consumers. Although angry work Tweets were up 39%, Tweets expressing gratitude for work were up 44%.

6. Philanthropy & Social Responsibility

People want to make more meaningful commitments. Tweets about donating were up 69%, but 50% “of all people [surveyed in the conversation data study] who want to improve equality feel overwhelmed by the options of giving.” The good news is that brands can help. 72% of those surveyed feel better following a brand’s lead when making a donation, which means that purpose-driven brands that are vocal about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy can increase donations and awareness by inspiring others.

Twitter use was up 34% in Q2 2020, spurred largely by the racial justice protests and the ongoing pandemic. People are flocking to all social media platforms, both to express their feelings and because they are stuck at home. By carefully looking at the data, practicing social listening and creating opportunities to engage with social media users, brands can use the learnings of 2020 to reach new audiences authentically.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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