What Is Instagram Reels? Launch Date, Differences From TikTok, Implications For Advertisers

What Is Instagram Reels

Facebook is doling out huge sums of money (again) this time to top TikTok influencers to get them over to Instagram Reels. Sound familiar? It’s the same approach Facebook took with YouTube creators when rolling out its Facebook Video and Live Streaming platforms.

TikTok, the video-sharing social app has been banned in India (again) and is facing a possible ban in the U.S. but a Microsoft acquisition (making TikTok a U.S.-owned company) would evade such a ban.

Facebook, always ready to capitalize on a competing social media app’s predicament (e.g. how Instagram Stories cannibalized Snapchat), rolled out its own TikTok clone today (August 5, 2020) via Instagram named “Reels”. Previously, Facebook attempted to rival TikTok with “Lasso” which sat within Facebook’s app, but it failed to gain traction.

Read to learn more about what is Instagram Reels, its differences from TikTok, whether it’ll succeed and implications for influencers and advertisers:

What Is Instagram Reels? Facebook’s TikTok Rival

Instagram Reels is a new creative video platform within the Instagram app that allows users to “record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools.”

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels takes TikTok’s viral success formula of quick looping video snippets paired with short audio tracks or original/custom audio and places it right in the center of the Instagram app.

Now, along with Instagram Stories, IGTV, and live streaming, 1.5+ billion Instagram users will be able to use Reels to create TikTok-style content.

How Is TikTok Different From Instagram Reels?

On the surface, Instagram Reels and TikTok are similar. The primary differences so far include 1) the time limit for each Reels or TikTok video (15 seconds for Reels vs. 60 seconds for TikTok), 2) how Reels shared from private Instagram account disappear after 24-hours (similar to how Stories currently function), and 3) how Instagram vs. TikTok surface trending videos.

Currently, much of TikTok’s success and the virality of its content and creators rests on the TikTok algorithm. High-performing content moves through the four phases of the TikTok algorithm and ends up on TikTok’s For You Page (the “homepage” for TikTok — what users see immediately upon opening the app).

In place of a For You Page, Instagram has their Discover or Explore page. Reels can be found here along with Stories and curated posts and videos. Additionally, Instagram may designate some Reels as “Featured.”

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok

Clicking into a Reels post from Instagram’s Explore page plays the Reel and from there, scrolling up provides much of the same experience as scrolling through TikTok’s For You Page.

Instagram Reels Release Date & The Push For Influencers

Instagram Reels rolled out to U.S. users on August 5, 2020 with 50 other countries to quickly follow in early August. Previously, Reels was tested in France, Germany, Brazil and India ahead of its U.S. release date.

As evinced by both YouTube’s popularity and longevity, the key to a platform’s success rests much on its early adopters namely the creators and influencers who are adept at creating entertaining and shareable content.

For Reels to succeed, it’s likely the same formula and Facebook has been busy offering exclusive well-paying contracts complete with NDAs for TikTok influencers to create solely (or at least uploading content first) on Reels. For some influencers, Instagram will also cover production costs.

TikTok has been aggressive these last few years about promoting its app (targeting users, advertisers, and creators) by taking out ads on both Instagram and Facebook and recently announced (July 22, 2020) its $200M TikTok Creator Fund — seemingly a direct effort to keep its influencers from migrating over to Instagram.

Facebook/Instagram is no newcomer to the influencer game (having enlisted several celebrities and influencers for the past rollouts of Facebook Video, Watch, etc.). Instagram Reels’ launch featured the teaser release of Miley Cyrus’s latest song (debuted on Reels). Instagram and Cyrus have had a longstanding partnership stemming back to her 2015 #InstaPride campaign.

Access Reels In Instagram

Instagram Reel’s Impact For Influencers & Advertisers

Much like Snapchat (prior to competition from Instagram Stories), TikTok was able to command high ad rates (e.g. up to $300k for certain Hashtag Challenges and ad packages) as it’s been unchallenged in the social media app sphere. TikTok does present certain demographics that are not found on other apps. With the rollout of Instagram Reels, much of this will change.

Facebook will likely roll out a comparable (if not better) clone of TikTok (as it did with Instagram Stories supplanting Snapchat). If history repeats itself, Instagram Reels will experience massive adoption from both influencers and advertisers as it’s easier to centralize everything on a single app vs. juggling between several.

Instagram Reels explore page

The introduction of Instagram Reels (and its various advertising options within the Instagram/Facebook platform) eliminates the TikTok monopoly for quick, creative, music-driven content — which likely will drive down the cost of TikTok ads.

Reels will make it easy for Instagram influencers not on TikTok to start creating TikTok-style content on Instagram whereas many TikTok influencers will opt for the opportunity to grow (or further grow) their Instagram following with Reels.

Whether Instagram Reels supplants TikTok or TikTok finds a way to remain competitive and unique from Reels, it’s likely that quick, creative, audio-driven video clips (from TikTok or Reels) are here to stay as audiences worldwide can’t seem to get enough of TikTok content — TikTok’s engagement rates and time spent on the platform are one of the highest in the industry and brands marketing on TikTok have seen high ROIs.


Instagram Reels gives advertisers an in-demand influencer marketing channel within an established social media platform.

Marketing During Coronavirus? 6 Reasons Why Influencers Are Your Best Option

influencer marketing during coronavirus

Coronavirus has altered both our personal and professional livelihoods and the advertising industry is no different. Cautious not to misstep and working with limited ad dollars, many brands and advertisers have paused, postponed or redirected their marketing efforts.

Marketing during Coronavirus presents its own set of challenges and circumstances. The American Marketing Association (AMA) notes the importance of adaptability and how “one-to-one personalized communications are the most effective.” Harvard Business Review emphasizes the rise of social media, apps, and more than ever, the demand for e-commerce.

Influencer marketing (promoting a brand’s product or service via social media influencers — individuals well regarded by their fans and followers) is uniquely positioned to navigate these new challenges and help advertisers effectively market during Coronavirus. See six reasons why influencers are the perfect marketing solution during the pandemic and growing advertiser boycott of Facebook ads:

6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Is The Ideal Advertising Solution During Coronavirus

1. Influencers Offer Authentic Endorsements Of Brands & Products

With social-distancing in place, it’s paramount that marketing is personable and offers prospective customers a relational type of experience. Harvard Business Review advises marketers to “present with empathy and transparency.”

Much of influencers’ success can be attributed to their ability to reach, engage and connect with audiences, fans, and followers on a level most brands can only aspire to cultivate. Whereas older generations looked to traditional celebrities, Millennials and Gen Z (with spending power of $1.4 trillion and $140 billion, respectively) identify most closely with influencers.

For many Millennials and Gen Z, social media influencers are held in close regard as peers or even “close friends” who share and weather life together. Many Millennials and Gen Z relate much more strongly to their favorite influencers as opposed to traditional celebrities.

Influencer Marketing Campaigns During Coronavirus

As such, it’s easy to see why cause-based marketing campaigns with influencers have been home run successes — many brands have recently partnered with influencers to raise money and awareness for various COVID-19 relief efforts. Unlike celebrities, many influencers have also been impacted firsthand by the effects of Coronavirus, and as such, their messaging is relatable, relevant and provides much-needed candor.

2. Influencer Marketing Has Proven ROI & Drives The Best Results

Influencer pricing can vary significantly due to a number of factors including social media platform, followers, historical campaign performance, whether they’re with a manager or agency and more. With the success and proven results from influencer marketing, many social media influencers increasingly charged more.

Coronavirus and the forthcoming recession is affecting everyone — influencers included. For brands and advertisers seeking to capitalize on influencer marketing, now may be the best time to strategize, test, build and scale a cost-effective, long-term influencer program.

Coinciding with the growth of social media, influencer marketing has become one of the most popular ways to advertise. While some people feel that influencer marketing is all hype, Mediakix surveyed nearly 200 marketing professionals (including marketers from Bayer, Sephora, Capital One, Ticketmaster, top PR firms, talent agencies and more) about their actual experiences with influencer marketing.

The result? Influencer marketing is proven to drive the best results:

Influencer Marketing Effective

Additionally, nearly 90% of marketers agree that influencer marketing ROI is comparable, better or much better than other types of marketing. When comparing the quality of customers/traffic generated from influencer marketing, over 70% of marketing professionals agree or strongly agree that influencer marketing comes out on top.

Influencer Marketing ROI coronavirus

3. Influencers Provide Viable Advertising Options Across Social Media

Certainly a byproduct of shelter-at-home orders, time spent on social media has skyrocketed in recent months. TikTok alone added over 115 million users in just one month quickly overtaking much more established platforms including Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter. With everyone stuck at home (thus curtailing traditional shopping and advertising efforts) and on their phones, influencers are well positioned to help advertisers reach audiences online.

influencer marketing during coronavirus tiktok IG

Influencers are everyday social media users who have built up a meaningful following or fan base (influencers can range widely in follower count from “nano-influencers” to much larger tiers). Oftentimes these influencers are well-regarded in specific niche interests or topics (e.g. DIY, pranks, vehicles, gaming, fashion, etc.) or have broad appeal as aspirational lifestyle influencers.

influencer marketing during coronavirus TikTok categories

As we move increasingly towards a digital and social media-centric world, marketing with influencers provides advertisers distinct advantages — namely the ability to leverage influencers’ clout and established digital/social footprints.

4. Influencers Are Digital Production & Content Powerhouses

Influencers make great, shareable content — this is one primary reason why they’ve achieved social media success. Moreso, influencers have a knack for telling engaging stories and delivering creative content day after day.

Marketing during Coronavirus presents a challenge to many brands because they are unable to film and produce content as before (using studios and full-fledged production crews).


To solve this challenge, many brands are partnering with influencers to address their content and production needs. In addition to their social presence, the best influencers are essentially nimble digital production and content powerhouses adept at producing in a variety of mediums and formats (e.g. photos, videos, live streams).

5. Ability To Scale With Influencer Campaigns

With influencers being more cost-effective than ever, brands now have the opportunity to rapidly scale with influencers. Whereas previously costs may have limited advertisers to one-off campaigns, marketers can now test, refine and prove out a successful business model with influencers and then quickly scale (partner with more influencers) to continue generating ROI.

Furthermore, many Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube influencer campaigns begin trending or become popular with audiences/fans/followers and are rapidly shared resulting in millions of views, impressions, UGC (user-generated content from fans to support the original brand-sponsored influencer posts) and more.

TikTok Campaign During Coronavirus

Bounty recently partnered with top influencers on TikTok for a sponsored hashtag challenge. The #QuickerPickerUpper campaign featured an original sound clip, reminiscent of a radio ad jingle, that has so far been used by over 21,000 TikTok users in video renditions of the original ad.

This phenomenon and type of results are not easily achieved with other types of advertising making influencer marketing one of the best ways to advertise.

6. Brand Safety & Issues With Facebook Ads

Verizon, REI, Starbucks and many more have pulled their Facebook Ads indefinitely (some including Instagram) in response to the #StopHateforProfit campaign from the NAACP and ADA (Anti-Defamation League). Advertisers are dissatisfied with Facebook’s negligence or lack of action when it comes to monitoring and taking action against hate on Facebook and Instagram.

For many of these companies, Facebook and Instagram ads may represent a significant portion of how recurring and new revenue is generated online. Without these ads, brands will need comparable ways of marketing to their target audiences on Facebook and Instagram.

Marketing with influencers across Facebook and Instagram may provide these brands a comparable and arguably better form of advertising in place of Facebook and Instagram ads. As surveyed in our Influencer Marketing Industry Benchmark, partnering with influencers is effective for 1) brand awareness, 2) reaching new audiences, and 3) generating sales/conversions.

Black Lives Matter Social Media — Digital Impact & Beyond

BLM social posts

As protests swept the nation this June, Black Lives Matter social media played a key role in the sharing of information and keeping audiences in the know. Hashtag activism, and other social media-based movements are nothing new. Several movements including #ArabSpring to #MeToo have leveraged social media to inform and inspire action.

This moment in American history is unique, however, with much of the population at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak and social media usage increasing 32%. Recent months have also seen a marked rise in new social platform adoption, with TikTok reaching over 2 billion downloads last quarter and services like Twitch branching out from their original base.

Mediakix partnered with Scout Social to share data insights illustrating the far-reaching impact that Black Lives Matter and related campaigns have made on social media. These statistics include record-breaking app usage, movement-defining hashtags, and more key data points we’ve seen this month.

Black Lives Matter Social Media Statistics, Facts & Figures

  1. TikTok reported 12 billion views for the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter
  2. 24 million #BlackoutTuesday posts were shared on Instagram
  3. #sharethemicnow reached 300 million followers on Instagram
  4. YouTube pledged $100 million to support Black creators and artists
  5. Twitter set the record (677k) for most app downloads in a day
  6. #BlackLivesMatter was used 48 million times between May 26 and June 7
  7. 24 of the top 100 global brands did not post about George Floyd

1. #BlackLivesMatter got nearly 12 billion views on TikTok

TikTok, the fastest growing social media app, became a crucial platform for protesters to share information and videos taken on the street. It’s an impressive demonstration of the app’s relevance and affinity with younger demographics, namely Gen Z and millennials. The video-sharing company has reported 12 billion views for the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter alone.

Additionally, #justiceforgeorgefloyd videos have received 1.3 billion views, #justiceforahmaud videos have received 125.2 million views, and #justiceforbreonna videos have received 5 million views.

In total, these BLM and related hashtags received more views than TikTok’s usual entertainment hashtags including the most viewed hashtag challenge, #RainDropChallenge (1 billion views).

2. 24 million #BlackoutTuesday posts were shared on Instagram

One of the most visible awareness-raising campaigns this June originated with the music industry and quickly spread to a broader audience — so much so that its “black square” posts unintentionally disrupted other activist hashtags. The original idea began with two Black music industry execs, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, calling for “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect without community” and “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change.”

#BlackoutTuesday quickly caught on with audiences beyond the music industry. While many users posted black squares with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday, many also used BLM and related hashtags in conjunction making it difficult to surface timely and informative BLM content and news.

Despite this issue, the effort succeeded in showing that millions of users could adopt a movement in a matter of days. To date, Instagram users have tagged 24 million posts with the #BlackoutTuesday hashtag — nearly double the 12.4 million hashtag #ad posts

black lives matter social media

3. #sharethemicnow reached 300 million followers on Instagram

Another entertainment industry hashtag, #sharethemicnow took a different approach to raising awareness. This three-day campaign featured 46 Black women activists taking over the accounts of 46 white women celebrities to bring greater attention to their work.

The campaign explained, “When the world listens to women, it listens to white women. For far too long, Black women’s voices have gone unheard, even though they’ve been using their voices loudly for centuries to enact change. Today, more than ever, it is NECESSARY that we create a unifying action to center Black women’s lives, stories, and calls to action. We need to listen to Black women.”

Participants included activists like #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, Melina Abdullah and “Pose” star and trans-rights activist, Angelica Ross. Celebrity participants included stars like Julia Roberts (8.9 million followers), Elizabeth (2.4 million followers) Warren, and Kourtney Kardashian (95 million followers).

BLM social posting

4. YouTube pledges $100 million to support Black creators and artists

Many social platforms and tech companies decided to do more than just share messages of support – they put their money where their mouth is. In some cases, it was a lot of money. YouTube’s pledge of $100 million far surpassed Facebook and Amazon’s $10 million each. According to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, the fund would be, “dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists.”

On June 13th, the online video-sharing platform hosted a live streaming event as part of this enterprise called “Bear Witness, Take Action” that also raised funds for the Equal Justice Initiative. According to Wojcicki, this was just the beginning of ongoing efforts to promote justice and equality on YouTube.

5. Nearly 700k people downloaded Twitter in a single day

Similar to both Instagram and TikTok, Twitter became a vital source of news and information for protesters and citizens alike. The app set a record for most single day app downloads (677,000) and most active daily users (40 million) this June.

While Twitter is one of the oldest social media platforms (founded in 2006), the microblogging and messaging app became a place where users could find up-to-the moment conversations between journalists, stars, activists, and even the U.S. president. Twitter allowed users to connect effectively and simultaneously with a cross-section of voices.

6. #BlackLivesMatter was used 48 million times on between May 26 and June 7

Pew research began tracking the use of #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter in 2013 when the movement was founded. The weeks following May 26 showed an unprecedented and sustained rise in use of that hashtag in posts by Twitter users. Though it peaked on May 8 with nearly 8.8 million tweets, the hashtag continued to stay above 2 million uses per day for the next 10 days.

For perspective, #BlackLivesMatter topped 1 million uses on one day before in its seven-year history — on July 7, 2016 after the Philando Castile and Alton Sterling killings.

7. 76 of the top 100 global brands posted about George Floyd’s killing on Instagram (24 did not)

For years Instagram has been a key platform for brands to show their personality and beliefs. Companies like Glossier and Levi’s have demonstrated their values in the past with posts supporting the MeToo movement and voting in midterm elections. This June, Bloomberg did an in-depth analysis on how and when top brands responded to George Floyd’s killing.

They found that the companies varied widely in their posts — in tone, content, and whether they allowed user comments. Some stuck to their established brand messaging, like Nike’s “For Once, Don’t Do It” video that got over 15 million views, while others like John Deere announced donations to the NAACP. That left 24 brands posting no response, risking seeming out of touch with current events and customer sentiment.

About Scout Social

What Marketers Should Know About TikTok’s Creator Marketplace (TCM)


In the last half-decade or so, several social media apps have come to prominence, given rise to popular social media influencers, and still failed to translate millions of views, likes, and followers into sustainable revenue — think Vine and Snapchat…

Some of their more successful counterparts (namely Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook) are driving significant ad revenue but have had mixed successes or failures with influencer monetization. For the most part, working with influencers across these social media networks takes place largely outside their ecosystem with agencies and influencer marketing platforms facilitating deals between brands and influencers.

Perhaps having witnessed its predecessors and contemporaries wrangle with influencer programs and monetization, TikTok (currently the fastest growing social media app with over 115 million downloads just in March 2020) has decided to take matters into its own hands with the rollout of their TikTok Creator Marketplace (also known as, TCM).

See how TikTok’s Creator Marketplace works, its salient features, and why TCM is important to today’s marketers below.

Click on the individual titles to scroll directly to each section:

What Is TikTok’s Creator Marketplace?

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is essentially TikTok’s own influencer marketing platform (existing within TikTok’s own ecosystem) where brands and top TikTok influencers can connect. TikTok’s official influencer platform gives brands access to top tier creators, the basic tools to construct a TikTok influencer marketing campaign, and offers influencers direct access to brand deals and partnerships.

Previously, influencer marketing platforms have existed outside of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, et. al. to varying degrees of success — data collected by the platforms would need to be verified by influencers (not always the most accurate) and revenue collected would bypass the social media app (the platforms themselves would charge a fee and/or commission for each influencer marketing campaign executed utilizing the platform).

By creating their own “in-house” marketplace, TikTok not only can possibly profit from brand-influencer deals (as of now, TikTok is not charging advertisers to use TCM), but also provides brands and influencers firsthand data/analytics, tools, and direct access and communication without needing to use and/or pay for a third-party platform.

Why Use TikTok’s Creator Marketplace?

For brands and marketers, there are a number of reasons why TikTok’s Creator Marketplace may be appealing and useful.

why-TCM TikTok's Creator Marketplace

As TCM is native to TikTok, marketers can rest assured that data presented about each influencer is authenticated, accurate, and up-to-date. Additionally, the ability to search and filter based on various TikTok analytics, demographics, and data (e.g. follower geography, follower age breakdown) should be both robust and accurate as it’s pulled directly from TikTok.

For influencers on TikTok, TCM gives influencers direct access and communication to brands seeking to run influencer marketing campaigns without having to sign up on different platforms and marketplaces.

How To Use TikTok’s Creator Marketplace

Brands and advertisers will first need to sign up in order to use TCM. Once approved and logged in, TCM presents the following home dashboard prompting you to:

  1. Search creators based on campaign needs
  2. Explore detailed analytics for each creator
  3. Notify creators about campaign participation
  4. Communicate further to collaborate on influencer marketing campaigns



As is, marketers can search creators through the following nine filters – see below for additional detail about each filter and their capabilities:

  1. Country or Region
  2. Topic
  3. Reach
  4. Average Views
  5. Audience Country or Region
  6. Gender
  7. Age
  8. Audience Device
  9. e-Commerce Anchor

At present, both Country or Region (#1) and Audience Country or Region (#5) are limited to the following 18 countries/regions: United States of America, India, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, and Australia.

The 20 filterable Topics include: Food & Beverage, Sport, Performance Skills, Gaming, Fitness & Health, Fashion & Beauty, Dance, Outdoor Activities, Daily Life, Pop Culture, Animation & Fan Culture, Transportation & Vehicle, Science & Education, Professional Life, Family, Oddly Satisfying, Travel, Animal, Celebrity Account, and Comedy.

Reach is sortable through the following three brackets but also customizable: 1) 10k to 100k, 2) 100k to 1 million, and 3) 1 million to 10 million.

reach-TCM TikTok Creator Marketplace

Age can be filtered through the following three default age spans: 1) 18 to 24, 2) 25 to 24, and 3) 35+.

Similar to Reach, Audience Device can be customizable and/or chosen between Android or iOS.

Audience-Device-TikTok Creator Marketplace

Lastly, there’s an option to filter by creators who are qualified and have enabled TikTok’s e-Commerce anchor function. These creators are able to insert a link in their content that directs viewers directly to a brand’s product or external landing page.


In addition to sorting and surfacing TikTok influencers by the above filters, marketers can search for creators directly by name/handle.

Influencer Profiles

Clicking into an influencer’s profile presents a wealth of data separated into four major sections:

  1. Core Metrics
  2. Sample Videos
  3. Audience Demographics
  4. Performance Trends

Core Metrics include:

  • Total reach
  • Average views
  • Topic(s)
  • Top audience segments (Audience Country or Region and Gender %)
  • Total views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Engagement Rate

For Sample Videos, marketers can toggle between sponsored and non-sponsored videos, most recent and most popular.

The Audience Demographics section presents fairly standard information (e.g. Gender, Age) but also gives insight on the percentage of Active vs. Inactive followers an influencer has and the brand device used (e.g. Apple, Samsung, Huawei, etc.).

Performance Trends shows data on followers, video views, and engagements across the last three month period.

In order to contact a TikTok creator, advertisers must fill out the following form:


The information to be provided is fairly standard. TikTok does require advertisers to specify their Industry (as some industries are prohibited from advertising) and select a main goal for working with creators from the following:

  • Gain more brand exposure
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Increased exposure or followers for TikTok account
  • Encourage downloads
  • Increase product sales
  • Produce ad creative
  • All of the above

Finally, there’s a Suggested Talent Fee section where marketers can toggle between a) to be negotiated or b) providing an initial suggested fee per sponsored video.


TCM also offers a campaign reporting tool. Again, as TCM is native to TikTok, advertisers can rest assured that the data presented is verified and accurate.


The caveat to accessing TCM’s reporting is ensuring every influencer hired is 1) associating their sponsored video to the proper campaign and 2) disclosing the videos as sponsored — otherwise, campaign insights will not be available.

How Much Does TikTok Creator Marketplace Cost?

At present, TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is free for advertisers to use. TikTok is still in its early stages of testing and sorting different monetization avenues — some of its existing ad offerings do include and package promotions with TikTok creators of varying sizes.

Monetizing an influencer platform can be tricky and pose a number of obstacles to both brands/advertisers and influencers. If TikTok does decide to charge advertisers a fee for using TCM, it may push advertisers away from the platform (towards working with TikTok agencies).

Similarly, if TikTok decides to take a cut of influencer rates/earnings, influencers may opt to bypass TCM in favor of working only with management or agencies.

8 Statistics Showing How Quickly COVID-19 Is Changing Social Media

socialstats covid

The emergence of COVID-19 and its worldwide spread has altered many facets of our daily lives and social lifestyles. Coronavirus is the first global pandemic widely documented and shared across social media and as such, we’ve begun to see COVID-19’s effect on social media consumption, user habits, behavior, and more.

From greatly augmenting the average time spent on social media to altering how we use and approach social media platforms, here are eight emerging statistics showing just how quickly COVID-19 is changing social.

1. Social media consumption increased for 32% (U.S.) and 44% (globally) of internet users in March alone

In a worldwide online survey of internet users age 16 to 64 years old, Statista found that close to half of all internet users had increased their use of social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) just in the month of March.

In direct correlation, social media messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.) also saw a slightly greater uptick in use. As expected with shelter-in-place, quarantines and lockdowns, people are leaning on social media networks and their adjoining messaging capabilities to stay in touch and/or communicate during COVID-19.

2. Facebook use is up nearly 30% with a 50% increase in messaging

The original social media network is experiencing a resurgence in popularity (after periods of decline) but also seeing its users significantly leverage the platform’s messaging capabilities. Amid COVID-19, messaging across Facebook has surged to the tune of 50% as people attempt to stay connected in an increasingly digital world.

3. With 315 Million downloads, TikTok becomes the most downloaded mobile app ever (Q1 2020)

TikTok demonstrated its global, viral, and addictive appeal amid the spread of COVID-19. The Byte Dance app received more downloads in Q1 2020 than any in history. Its focus on short, fun user-generated content is a hit for people hungry for fresh, unique social media content.

4. Instagram’s overall use surges by 40% with a 70% increase in IG Live (Streaming)

Like its parent company, Facebook, Instagram usage has also grown during COVID-19. Instagram users are taking to the platform’s live streaming function, IG Live, as brands and influencers share every day streaming content to appease audiences stuck at home.

Some Instagram influencers are amping up content (some as much as 50% more) in order to entertain, engage, and connect on new levels with their followers. In a recent COVID-19 agency guideline deck published in Business Insider, Mediakix shared that likes on sponsored posts on Instagram are up by 76%.

5. With YouTubers seeing 20-30% more views, YouTube engagement & views are at an all-time high

YouTube influencers are seeing a 30% spike on their channel viewership compared to March of last year. Across popular YouTube categories, fitness and health video views increased by 63%, while arts & culture videos saw a 29% increase in views. YouTube has long focused on community connectivity efforts. In response to the outbreak, it created a “With Me” playlist on its brand channel.

The popular #WithMe video format features users and influencers cooking, exercising, gardening, studying, and completing daily tasks. While these videos were trending pre-pandemic, they have shown greater traction during COVID-19, specifically to Gen Z users who “feel a need for connectedness.”

6. Sponsored posts on Instagram Are Getting 76% More Likes

influencer coronavirus marketing

At the start of COVID-19, many brands and advertisers were unsure how to approach marketing during a global pandemic with many pausing their campaigns altogether. For the brands who have marketed during this time, many have seen positive results as audiences are spending more time online and perusing social media.

Marketing during a global crisis requires a different and new level of tact to ensure messaging does not appear tone-deaf and acknowledges the problems at large.

7. Influencers are creating 50% more content


While there are three main ways influencers are responding to the pandemic, a new study shows 50% of influencers are creating more video content than before coronavirus. As a result, more and more brands are working with influencers to create entertaining content for their followers.

The opportunity for brands to use/re-purpose influencer content is especially appealing due to the lockdown obstacles brand channels face to produce original content.

Influencer-hosted IG Live Takeovers and Stories are also on the rise during quarantine, with a notable uptick in the fitness industry where brands are partnering with fitness gurus to share home-workout content.

8. Twitch streaming has increased by more than 30%

As an industry better positioned to handle a worldwide lockdown, eSports has fared particularly well during the coronavirus outbreak. TIME reports that viewership on Twitch rose 31% in March. Twitch’s competitor YouTube Gaming, similarly saw its viewership increase by 15%.

This rise in viewership is not surprising to marketers who recognize gaming as an important way for people to stay connected. With a daily average user base of 15 million, Twitch has become an advertising outlet to both gaming and non-gaming brands. GUESS, Hershey’s, and KFC are just a few non-gaming brands who have launched influencer marketing campaigns on Twitch.

How Influencers & Celebrities Are Creating For Good Amid Coronavirus


With lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and quarantines in effect around the world, people are confined to their homes passing the time online and on social media. Statista estimates that social media usage during the month of March rose by 32%. Coronavirus may be the first global pandemic chronicled across social media — people are looking to online news sites and social media to find updates, voice their opinions, and entertain themselves.

Many brands have already taken the initiative to launch coronavirus influencer marketing campaigns. Most have been met by positive reactions while some influencers have made headlines during the outbreak for the wrong reasons.

Many influencers are using their social presence to aid, encourage, and inspire others. We share how influencers are responding to Coronavirus and share examples of influencers who are taking the extra step by creating charitable content for social good.

3 Primary Ways Influencers Are Responding To Coronavirus

COVID-19 has caused many influencers to rethink their social content strategy and re-align sponsorships. The lockdown presents an opportunity for influencers to engage differently with their followers, have well-being and mindfulness conversations during times of adversity, and for some, use their social clout to generate donations for COVID-19 relief charities and nonprofits.


  • Many influencers are using their time in isolation to up their content by creating IGTV tutorials, hosting Instagram LIVEs, and posting more frequent Stories.
  • Influencers are taking the opportunity to create specific at-home tutorials including loungewear clothing hauls, DIY crafting for kids, self-care routines, etc.
  • Goodwill Content: A study shows that 88% of influencers are actively seeking ways their content can help small businesses during economic hardship.
  • Coronavirus Influencer Trends: Boredom is bringing influencers to TikTok. Many Instagram-focused influencers have created TikTok accounts in the wake of the national lockdown.
  • Fitness influencers are energizing followers by posting at-home fitness workouts and challenges.

2. Business As Usual

  • While nearly 50% of influencers recommend brands acknowledge COVID-19 in current campaigns, some influencers are partaking in campaigns with a “business as usual” approach.
  • The same study shows that while influencers are worried about seeming insensitive during the pandemic, they are more concerned about a lack of collaboration opportunities.
  • In a transparency effort, most “business as usual” influencers are careful to clarify any posts that include content taken before the quarantine — especially travel influencers.

3. Social ‘Media’ Distancing

  • Some influencers are taking this period to take a social media break altogether. These influencers are welcoming the systematic downtime to escape work and also possibly avoid creator burnout.
  • While many influencers are postponing partnerships that may come across insensitive during these times, some influencers like Sina Duvinage of popular account @happygreylucky are pausing content altogether before deciding how to best serve their quarantined followers.

How Influencers Can Continue To Adapt During Coronavirus

  • Leverage their platform(s) to share a socially positive voice
  • Utilize ‘Swipe up’ links in Instagram Stories to share health information, donation links, etc.
  • Take the time to connect with their followers without “capitalizing” on the moment

12 Influencers And Celebrities Creating For A Cause During Coronavirus

Health officials have repeatedly stated that the millennial generation is the core demographic that’s going to help stop the spread of coronavirus around the globe.

Well managed, close relationships with influencers can help companies and brands continue to deliver high-quality content during uncertain times. Influencers work as ambassadors for brands by providing valuable exposure and trust through relevant and appealing influencer content.

Here are 12 examples of influencers and celebrities using their influence to address and aid communities:


Dr. Leslie was one of the first TikTok influencers to address the coronavirus back in January and has since grown her platform to over 560K followers. Her first coronavirus video generated over 4.2 million views and her light-hearted humor resonates with her Gen Z audience.

Dr. Leslie answers health questions, busts coronavirus myths, and incorporates TikTok challenges in her content to stay relevant and peak viewer interest.


Macro-influencer Courtney Quinn was quick to shift her usual content to focus on COVID assistance creating a small business movement where her followers promote their favorite businesses and business owners could share the best ways to help.

Her audience praised her for her quick thinking initiative and Courtney received more than 3x the average number of comments on her post. The candid influencer known for her motivational captions also launched a #ColorMeChallenge to help her followers through quarantine.


Reality TV star and influencer Tyler Cameron forms TikTok supergroup @TheQuarantineCrew keeping over 560K Bachelorette fans entertained.

The crew made headlines when Hannah Brown, Tyler’s famous Bachelorette-ex joined the quarantine party fueling romance rumors. The friend group creates comical TikTok skits, many of which provide users with relevant health information.


Early on in the Coronavirus outbreak beauty guru Carli Bybel took to her YouTube channel to give back to her fans. In the “Get Ready With Me” video Carli announces the worldwide giveaway will have two winners, and each will have all of their bills paid for the month of April.

The contest took place on Instagram and YouTube and Carli further promoted optimism by requiring giveaway contestants to each share “a positive thing they are taking away from this scary time.”


Seth Phillips, aka dude with sign is a @fuckjerry influencer who captured America’s heart by sharing first world grovels on a cardboard sign. His simple content garners millions of likes per post and has allowed him to work with Jimmy Kimmel and Justin Bieber.

On March 16, he partnered with Instagram and the WHO to create a 6 picture post to publicize best health practices to his over 7 million followers. His blunt approach was well received with a 32% engagement rate, 12% higher than his average.


kids together coronavirus influencers

A study shows that 75% of Gen Z and Millennials want to become YouTubers when they grow up. With the line between celebrities and social media stars becoming increasingly blurred it is not a huge surprise that social media influencers account for almost one-fourth of Nickelodeon’s LIVE programming talent.

YouTubers David Dobrik and Emma Chamberlain, and TikTok stars Addison Rae, Annie Leblanc, and Charlie D’Amelio were some of the influencers included in the children’s channel event. The “#KidsTogether Nickelodeon Town Hall” sought to answer children’s questions about COVID-19, and share how kids can make an impact during the health crisis.


The recently crowned “Favorite Male Social Star of 2020” returned to YouTube after a month break only to surprise fans with one of his biggest giveaways. The star drove around Los Angeles gifting families in need video game consoles, $10,000 checks and even cars!

David’s generous video immediately started trending worldwide on Twitter. Fellow YouTube vlogger @RyanAbe tweeted, “David Dobrik shooting $10,000 checks out of a t-shirt cannon at random people from his car is the kind of energy I needed to see in the world right now.”

5 Celebrity Influencers Rising to the Cause During Lockdown


With a $3 million donation, TikTok announced a new partnership with the former governor’s charity to provide relief to families during the virus outbreak. His After-School All-Stars program was quick to modify their operations to help children and families affected by the nationwide school closures.

While the partnership may take some by surprise, TikTok has long been a fan of the Terminator. In April 2019 TikTok excitedly welcomed Mr. Schwarzenegger to the app in a newsroom post that launched the #LikeArnold trend.


Anastasia Karanikolaou better known as @Stassiebaby, is a celebrity influencer whose high-profile friendship with Kylie Jenner has helped her amass to near 8 million Instagram followers.

Using her platform for good, Stassie posted a video starting the #DoYourPartChallenge. The challenge has since collected over 1,082 posts and caught the attention of @doordash who eagerly assisted by gifting meals.


In a video post notably different from her usual content, Selena Gomez showed her 176 million followers how she washes her hands. The actress/singer got candid with her followers in the one-minute long video, showing she too is abiding the stay at home orders.

Her raw approach to the #SafeHands hashtag challenge was viewed more than 5.6 million times and the star tagged a chain of celebrities friends to help continue the health-conscious trend.


John Krazinski created ‘Some Good News’ in hopes to make people smile amid the chaos of COVID-19. While the one month old channel has only 12 videos, it has raked up 2.3 subscribers with an exceptional average of 4.3 million views per video.

Synonymous with its name the channel features uplifting, positive news stories and is filled with celebrity guest appearances. Oprah, Steven Spielberg, and Martha Stewart are just a few of the big names who have virtually joined the news show.


Kylie Jenner joins a posse of business owners who are switching operations to make COVID-related products in wake of the health crisis. The CEO announced that her cosmetics brand will be producing hand sanitizers to be donated to emergency and healthcare workers. The makeup mogul is just one of the many celebrities who are giving back to the community by making considerable coronavirus donations.