As 2022 nears the end, it is time for the last of Luan and Andy’s social media updates of this year. And what a year it has been!

Here’s the recording of the live session if you missed it, or want to watch it again:

Below is the summary of all of the updates discussed:

Trends and Data

  • Social Media Usage- UK young adults
  • Social Media Usage- US teens
  • Reels continue to gain traction
  • Mastodon continues to grow
  • Social is overtaking search for finding information
  • ‘Inspiration’ is becoming increasingly important
  • Social is overtaking search for brand discovery

Feature Updates

  • Instagram updates
  • Meta updates
  • Twitter updates
  • LinkedIn updates
  • TikTok updates
  • YouTube updates
  • Pinterest updates
  • WhatsApp updates

Trends and Data

Social Media Usage- UK young adults

A BBC study found that the most popular social media app for young adults was Instagram (71%), based on daily usage in the UK. This was closely followed by TikTok and YouTube, both at 68%. Snapchat was not too far behind with 67% and the least used social media app for 16–24-year-olds was Tumblr (8%).

Social Media Usage- US teens

Interestingly, in the US, teens are favouring TikTok (38%) over Instagram (20%). However, it is important to note that this study was measuring the respondents selecting a platform as their favourite, rather than time spent on the app. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to compare this data to the UK data presented above.

Reels continue to gain traction

Reels are played 140 billion times on Facebook and Instagram every day, a 50% increase from six months ago. This is a massive update. Even though Meta has not been shy about the importance of Reels, a 50% increase is huge in just 6 months.

Mastodon continues to grow

Mastodon is filling up headlines, with its current 7 million users, up from 1 million users in just 3 weeks. This growth is so rapid. Some hypothesise that some users are moving from Twitter to Mastodon. Whilst Mastodon is growing at an insane rate, there are still 200 million active Twitter users.

Further, as Mastodon is quite different from a ‘regular’ social media app and is more likened to a Twitter-Patreon mash-up, unique communities can be built. However, this does mean that it can be difficult to get used to. This only furthers how impressive the rate of growth is for this app.

If you are considering moving away from any other social media app, just because a new one is seemingly popular, ensure that it fits in with your strategy first. A ‘knee-jerk’ reaction is certainly not advised. Feel free to look at the new risers but ensure that you nurture your audience where it matters.

Social is overtaking search for finding information

Although everything we share is important, this trend is something to take note of. Gen Z, outside of China, currently use Instagram almost as often as they do Google. Also, TikTok is more orientated around being a search engine rather than a social media app. This has implications for brands and is certainly something to keep your eye on.

‘Inspiration’ is becoming increasingly important

In a study that ranked the reasons that people use the internet. In 2018, finding information was the most popular reason, which is also the most popular reason in 2022. Finding new ideas and inspiration has grown massively over the last few years. In 2018, it ranked as the 9th most popular reason that people use the internet, compared to 6th in 2022. When you don’t know what you need, social media is the answer for many.

Social is overtaking search for brand discovery

GWI conducted a study on just under 4 million users. Across all internet users, the gap between those who use social networks compared to search engines for brand or product information is getting a lot smaller. This means that social networks are optimised for search discovery, so users can discover content more intentionally.

Feature Updates

Let’s get into the last feature updates we will discuss in 2022…

Instagram updates

  • Instagram continues to show support for their creators. Now, they have released fan subscriptions which are helping creators to monetise their content.
  • Virtual gifts are now available on the platform, which are essentially tips for people’s favourite content creators.
  • Public chat stickers are now available. You can now launch a chat with a small group of people from your story, emphasising the community feel.
  • Static posts can now have music.
  • You can now add Reels to your profile grid and pin them to the top.
  • The discover feature now offers related Reels so users can find reels that may be of interest to them. Clearly, the app is becoming much more about discovering other content, rather than interacting with the people you follow. Perhaps this puts less emphasis on follower count.
  • Hiding likes on Reels is now an option. This was released on static images a while ago, but now you can do it on reels.
  • Reels achievements now celebrate creators, which is almost gamifying content creation.

Meta updates

  • Facebook now offer split test on video thumbnails. This shows the importance of video posting on Facebook.
  • Professional Mode is now available to all, not just for Creators. When using Facebook to participate in groups or for work, professional mode may be useful for you.
  • Group prompts are coming. Peer-to-peer groups and conversational groups are hugely valuable and are great ways to engage conversations, and prompts will hopefully help you.

Twitter updates

  • Twitter communities come to professional profiles. Here you can have groups and conversations on Twitter.

LinkedIn updates

  • Auto-carousels are now a feature. Any time you upload more than one image on LinkedIn, it will automatically display in a carousel format.
  • Content recommendations are now a feature that can display recommended posts to your audience. For example, if someone comments on one of your posts, they may receive a carousel of other similar posts from you appearing on their feed.
  • There are new LinkedIn ad formats which make it easier to set up, manage and monitor ads. You can encourage people to click to send a message or send conversation starters. You can also promote an employee post, which is a great way to get a colleague to be involved.
  • LinkedIn have improved their SEO, so if you focus on the relevant titles, descriptions and tags, this will likely improve the search functionality, helping B2B brands connect with potential buyers.

TikTok updates

  • TikTok has launched their Academy. Here small businesses can get help starting on TikTok. This is similar to Facebook Blueprint, which will hopefully help your confidence on TikTok.
  • Audience insights are available, which shows how serious TikTok are about advertising.
  • In-app shopping has been rolled out. With wider inspiration and brand search coming over to social networks, this addition definitely makes sense.
  • Search shortcuts now allow users to find inspiration and discovery in an easier and smoother way. Predictive search is available utilising AI, which demonstrates the importance of keywords.
  • Photo mode is being used heavily in the context of collaging as well as meme creation. Multi-image is working very well and also lowers the barrier of entry to novel TikTok users.

YouTube updates

  • YouTube’s display changes are emphasising the importance of YouTube shorts in their display. The changes are rolling out and shorts are now part of the main feed.
  • Multi-person livestream is available on YouTube, as with other platforms.
  • YouTube shorts are now coming to connected TVs.
  • Product Tags are being rolled out on Shorts, for consumers to be able to purchase in-app.
  • The sounds on YouTube shorts can now be up to 60 seconds long, which used to be just 15 seconds.

Pinterest updates

  • Snapchat has released an app called Shuffles. You can now make collages and animations and then share them to other platforms.

WhatsApp updates

  • WhatsApp communities are here. Instead of giant Whatsapp chats, this allows for tight-knit conversations and higher admin tools.
  • Business search allows businesses to be discoverable on the app.
  • In-app purchases are now available directly on WhatsApp, which is a great tool for businesses.
  • Polls have come to WhatsApp. Here you can get deep and meaningful engagements and get true opinions from your audience.


  1. YouTube is going toe-to-toe with TikTok
  2. Social commerce continues to ramp up
  3. WhatsApp focuses more on businesses
  4. Instagram and Facebook continue to push Reels and focus on creators
  5. Social is beginning to overtake search- and this is impacting social platforms

2022 has been another wild year for social media.

What was your favourite feature update this year and what are you looking forward to for next year?

Tinisha Osu is a Marketing Executive with two degrees in Psychology. She is the first-author of a published psychology paper and is beginning her career in marketing through blog-writing, creating social media content and running marketing campaigns.