Twitter’s Trending Topics Were Ruled by Video in the Early Stages of the Pandemic

VAB studied the period from March 16 through April 26

At least one video-related topic trended on every day of the analysis period gorodenkoff/iStock
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Video content dominated Twitter’s trending topics during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for three-quarters of them, according to a report from VAB, released earlier this week.

#AloneTogether: Culture in the Time of Covid-19 examined the top 10 trending Twitter topics in the U.S. every day from March 16 through April 26 at 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, looking at both direct (official hashtags of shows, sports content or news programming) and related (associated topics such as individual players, show characters, celebrities and specific news references) data.

VAB said that during the six-week period it studied, content from more than 59 video platforms and networks cracked the top 10 trending topics on Twitter, with more than 140 individual pieces of video content doing so.

At least one video-related topic trended on every day of the analysis period, covering genres including scripted dramas, reality TV, live news specials and sports.

Ad-supported TV accounted for 54% of Twitter’s top 10 trending topics during the study, while Instagram represented 8% and Neftlix represented 1%.

VAB said ad-supported TV programming accounted for more than one-half of trending topics on the social network on five out of the seven nights of the week.

With the pandemic putting a hold on live sports, entertainment content made up 78% of ad-supported TV programs in Twitter’s top 10 trending topics and 64% of ad-supported TV topics.

Sports managed to find its niche, however, as the No. 1 spot was held at points during the test by the 2020 National Football League Draft and ESPN’s presentation of documentary The Last Dance.

Ad-supported TV programming specials also performed well, with three of them ascending to the No. 1 spot on their respective nights: Fox’s iHeart Living Room Concert March 29; CBS’ Homefest: James Corden’s Late, Late Show March 30; and The CNN Town Hall April 2.

VAB senior vice president and director of strategic insights Jason Wiese said in a statement, “Our #AloneTogether study can help marketers understand what type of content people of different ages and life stages are passionate about and how best to reach and engage them across video platforms. Real-time social platforms like Twitter act as a mirror reflecting the topics and interests of importance to our society, especially during this unusual time of home isolation. That knowledge of what content is getting people talking is critical for brands looking to connect with engaged, attentive consumers.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.