What are the biggest social media trends 2021? Globally, people spend on average 144 minutes on social media daily. This combined with the fact that 24% of consumers say they discover brands on social media definitely makes it a channel to keep a close eye on. In this article, we will go through 5 social media and influencer marketing trends to watch for in 2021.

What has happened in 2020 has definitely contributed to, and forced us to, speed up an already accelerated digital transformation. According to data from IBM, Covid-19 accelerated the digital eCommerce shift from shopping in physical stores to digital shopping by five years. The year that no one was prepared for is now coming to an end, so let’s take a look at what 2021 holds.

Prefer to listen? Check out our podcast episode on influencer marketing trends 2021.

1. Social Shopping

This one – you simply can’t miss! During 2020, Instagram has dropped a ton of new tools and features. Some of them are likely to make a big difference in how we shop online and definitely puts Instagram on the map as a platform for e-commerce. Which new features are we talking about? Let’s take a closer look at four of them! According to Facebook, 70% of shoppers use Instagram for product discovery and 130 million (!) users every month tap on its shopping posts to learn more. The way consumers shop online is definitely going to change.

Instagram Shop

The new tab “Shop” makes it possible for users to discover brands and products in a whole new way. Choose between “Browse Shops”, “See Editors´ Picks”, “Guides” and “Shop Collections”. This feed is based on what content you’re engaging with, e.g. what you like, brands you follow and new suggestions.


Instagram Checkout

This feature is a new way for users to discover and buy products from brands and creators – without having to leave the app. This benefits both consumers and e-commerce brands as it makes the step to purchase much shorter. Seems to be the biggest step towards a new shopping behavior for Instagram users. Win-win!

Instagram Guides

A new way for users to collect posts, products or places in a microblog and share with their followers. The Guide feature is still quite hidden, but you can find it under the new “Shop” tab. Together with the shopping function on Instagram, this will bring a new level of inspiration. For influencers, it opens up new opportunities to use this tool in collaborations to curate a list of recommended products.


Instagram Live Shopping

Instagram Live has received additions in the form of Live Shopping; an opportunity for brands and creators to sell products directly through a live broadcast by tagging them. Great for influencer marketing as the influencer now can engage their audience with this increasingly popular format as well as sell products directly.


Now creators and brands can not only drive sales through a website or physical store but also directly through influencers – even without the customer having to leave the app. According to new research, 29% of people surveyed across 7 countries say that if a shopping experience is entertaining, it would encourage them to buy a product when shopping online. Therefore, live shopping will be a great content format to try in 2021.

2. Ephemeral content

Ephemeral content is content that’s only available for a short period of time. It has gotten increasingly popular in recent years and the user demand is obviously high.

Examples of platforms that have invested in this content format are:

  • Instagram with Stories
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter with Fleets
  • YouTube with Shorts
  • LinkedIn with LinkedIn Stories
  • Facebook Stories


Youtube, LinkedIn and Twitter were last in line to announce their ephemeral content additions. All of them are similar to Instagram Stories, but with less creative additions.

The benefit of ephemeral content is its ability to be up-to-date and personal. This channel is often used to publish more unpolished, real-life content. Combined with stickers that make it possible to add polls and quizzes, users can easily keep a dialogue with their followers. As authentic and personal content has increased in popularity in recent years, this is definitely a content format we’ll see more of in 2021 – also when it comes to influencer marketing.


3. Live formats on social media

In March 2020 Instagram Live usage increased by 70%. Most likely as a result of social distancing and restrictions to stay at home due to Covid-19. What’s significant here is that it’s not only well thought out productions or huge collaborations on Instagram Live anymore. We see more and more people and influencers spontaneously going live on social media just to interact with their followers; let them ask questions, watch when doing their daily makeup, or co-host a live broadcast with a friend – similar to a live podcast.

New data from GlobalWebIndex on consumer trends in 2021 shows that 29% of internet users across 7 countries frequently watch live streams from influencers they follow. Among those users, 80% say they’re likely to buy a product from the livestream.


As mentioned before, Instagram also launched Live Shopping, which makes it possible to tag products in a live broadcast. As it opens up for brands and creators to sell products and meet their target audience where they spend time, this is absolutely something that we will see more of in 2021.

4. TikTok, Reels & Youtube Shorts

In August 2020, Facebook launched Instagram Reels. Reels allows users to record 30-second videos with audio and creative effects. If this sounds familiar, you’re absolutely right. The video-sharing app TikTok has an identical concept and Instagram Reels is for sure a competitor.

One question still remains – will Instagram Reels replace TikTok in the same way that Instagram Stories has replaced stories on Snapchat?

But that’s not the only new short format we’ve seen this year. TikTok and Instagram Reels got company – by YouTube Shorts! The new feature is similar to TikTok and Reels, a short-form video experience that makes it possible for users to show 60-second videos. Even though 60-seconds is the maximum length Youtube recommends users to focus on 15-seconds videos. The platform says that there’s much more to come, and over the next few weeks and months, they’ll continue to roll out updated versions of “Shorts” as they take user feedback into consideration.


Many brands have already started to implement both Reels and TikTok in their influencer marketing strategy. As social media users are, now more than ever, seeking fun and entertaining content, Reels and TikTok can be a great addition. Important to remember is that these platforms are based on trends. You need to be quick to latch on to new trends – as most of the activities within the app concerns achieving viral content spread.

As the interest in video content continues to grow and entertaining content is a strong driving force for us to turn to social platforms, we believe that this content format has an even brighter future in 2021.

Learn more about TikTok here – and Reels here!

5. Unfiltered and real content will dominate social media

After the outbreak of Covid-19 social media has gained a whole new purpose for many people. We have increased our use of social platforms to connect with each other, be entertained and to shop online instead of in-store. In 2020, many also said that they’ve dared to be more honest about their personal lives on social media.

This trend indicates that social media will increase to be a place to share personal and in-depth content also in 2021. Users that tend to show the perfect feed rather than real-life content need to think again. Followers of bigger accounts today ask for unfiltered content more than ever before. With this, more and more influencers are mixing it up and keeping the feed as their polished surface while using stories for behind-the-scenes content.

For brands, User Generated Content (UGC) is the result of this trend. Because of its high credibility and authenticity, people have easier to relate to it. When a message comes from a regular person, rather than from a company – it’s inherent in our nature to respond to it on a deeper level. When you let an influencer create content for you, you can achieve the same effect. In many cases, the influencers you choose to work with are also part of your target group for the product or service in question, which provides you with content created for your target audience and by your target audience.

In 2021, it will be critical to research and listen to your target audience. Where do they spend time and what captures their interest today? Talk to them where they spend most of their time and do it with relevant and meaningful content. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and for you, as a marketer, it’s increasingly important to always have your ear to the ground.

Continue the conversation around digital marketing and social media in our podcast!

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