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Social media on lockdown: What were the most viewed videos in March?

As the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus forces us indoors and online more than ever, platforms built for social, UGC, and streaming are reaching previously unknown potential. Worldwide streaming has increased 20 percent, and platforms like Netflix and YouTube are starting to combat the increase by reducing their bandwidth and lowering video quality. Social platforms are seeing new accounts created and more uploads made. Even the World Health Organization has joined TikTok to help educate the public and fight misinformation.

So, what’s the type of content society prefers when stuck in social isolation? We’ve all bonded in the past over shows like “Game of Thrones” and videos like Charlie bit my finger — what will bring us together now during our most distant time?

Here’s what people were watching and sharing on short-form video platforms during March 2020. View the full list here.

Top Views on Instagram

On Instagram, singer/rapper Cardi B took five of the top 10 spots, all for content about coronavirus.

Jennifer Lopez and her family made the list for having excellent pool-side service, even while staying home.

TikTok dances, especially by celebrities, were abundant. Many of the most viewed videos in March were actually TikTok videos that took over on other platforms like Instagram and Twitter. LeBron James and his family got in on the fun, as did Justin and Hailey Bieber, who posted two dances that made it into our most viewed list.

Not everything that made the list was coronavirus related. There was a time when people talked about things other than the virus, and videos from early March still came out on top. Kim Kardashian made the list, posting a video of her daughter Chicago singing “rain, rain, go away” on March 14. In 2019, Kim’s half-sister Kylie Jenner dominated Instagram in 2019, but her content didn’t make a big impact this March. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also got top views on his post with his daughter for International Women’s Day on March 8.

Top Views on Twitter

Six of the top 10 most viewed videos on Twitter were directly related to coronavirus or social distancing, like Idris Elba announcing he tested positive for COVID-19.

Twitter’s views are spread across a mix of video types, including broadcast news clips, TikTok videos, homemade videos, and animated/simulation videos.

The top Twitter videos were more about sharing news than anything else. Tweets reminded us about the upcoming US election, shared messages from political leaders about coronavirus testing, reported on spring breakers in Florida who weren’t keeping their distance, and showed us positivity from Italy.

Top Views on Giphy

Gifs are not immune to coronavirus and six of the top 10 gifs on Giphy were related to COVID-19. Primarily gifs were about washing your hands, social distancing, our collective love of toilet paper, and working from home.

Toilet Paper Oprah GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY
Work From Home GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

The best part about the views on Giphy? They were overwhelmingly positive. If you need an uplifting message or a gentle hygiene reminder, Giphy has you covered.

A top-viewed gif on Giphy

Summary

Each social media and UGC platform has its own demographic and style, which made the top viewed videos across each site fairly different.

  • The most obvious overlap was between Instagram and Twitter. While no one video appeared in the most viewed on both platforms, there was an overlap in types of content. Both sites hosted a mix of UGC, TikTok reposts, and celebrity content. We didn’t see this same overlap when we looked at the most viewed videos for 2019.
  • Cardi B is the new face of Instagram, and both cats and turtles aren’t good at tic-tac-toe, at least not on Twitter.
  • The biggest view for music outside of TikTok reposts was Selena Gomez sharing a throwback to her Revival tour on Instagram.
  • Overall, coronavirus dominated the views in March and will likely continue to dominate in April — and possibly May — as governments extend social distancing mandates further and further.

With an abundance of ways to share thoughts online, coming together with dances, songs, and videos is a great way to feel connected to others in such an isolated time. Here’s the full list of top videos so you can watch them all.

Can’t get enough of data posts like this one?

Check out the most viewed videos on social media for 2019.