2021 Social Media Trends – a year in review

With 2021 coming to an end, we’ve decided to take a look at what has happened on the internet this past year. From great marketing campaigns, to TikTok crazes, to groundbreaking Netflix series, we have compiled the key trends of 2021.

It can be so hard keeping up with everything going on online. With new content being uploaded every second, unless you are constantly glued to your phone, it can be extremely difficult to stay up to date with new trends. 

But we all know how important it is to know what’s happening online to produce amazing, creative, viral content. 2022 is going to be the year of social media, so here is some inspiration to get you started.

Your 2021 internet recap:

February: Weetabix and Heinz Beans

This unexpected collaboration between two major brands took the internet by storm at the start of the year. By suggesting adding Heinz Beans to your morning cereal (gross!), they created a cost effective campaign that was highly successful due to its creativity and humour. 

Other massive brands such as Innocent Smoothies and Lidl were quick to respond, further promoting this collaboration. Well done Weetabix and Heinz….but we’re not about to try this recipe any time soon…

April: Colin vs Cuthbert

Cuthbert the Caterpillar is in jail!! In April this year, M&S opened a dispute against Aldi arguing that Cuthbert was too similar to Colin. Aldi did not leave the outcome to courts, but instead brought the case to the public. Their marketing team were on overdrive, creating humorous content that won the public over #FreeCuthbert! – extra points for spotting Cuthbert being arrested in Aldi’s 2021 Christmas advert.

June: It’s Coming Home!

Similar to 2018, this was the summer of football. With England reaching the finals of the Euros, the nation was captivated with “it’s coming home” being chanted in every pub and living room. Brands did not overlook the chance to create some great reactive marketing, with Tesco and Specsavers showing everyone how it’s done.

September: Emily Mariko TikTok salmon bowl

The record breaking social media app – TikTok – became engrossed with a lunchtime salmon bowl created by Emily Mariko. From the leftover rice with an ice cube added, to her ASMR style editing, to her perfectly clean kitchen, TikTokers everywhere were fascinated. 

Staying on top of trending content on social media is crucial for brands in this changing digital landscape. A quick google search will bring up multiple brands sharing the recipe on their websites along with links to buy the specific mayonnaise featured. This sort of reactive marketing will grow even more in 2022 with the continued rise of social media, so keep your eye out!


♬ original sound – Emily Mariko

September/October: Squid Game

The Korean gory thriller captured the world this year, becoming Netflix’s number one show with 1.65billion hours of viewing in the first 28 days after release. This is not only astounding in itself, but it is incredibly exciting to see a non-Hollywood show that was not created in English (although English dubs and subtitles are available) to reach such a wide audience. 

Keep an eye out in 2022 for new releases of shows and get your marketing teams ready to create some great reactive marketing campaigns.

Squid Games Netflix

October: hello literally everyone

On the 4th of October 2021, the world went into chaos after Facebook and its affiliated apps including Instagram and WhatsApp went down. With limited information about when the social media platforms would be back up or why they had crashed in the first place, people began to turn to Twitter. The original iconic “hello literally everyone” tweet reached 3.3M likes and 590.4K retweets. Well done Twitter!

October/November: Duolingo on TikTok

Brands have been killing it on TikTok lately, notably Duolingo. Consistently racking in views in the multi-millions with their green bird mascot, reactive marketing and humour, they have become an iconic part of TikTok despite being a language-learning app. 

Take notes if you want to grow your brand in the new year: take risks and stay up to date with digital trends.

@duolingoevery time you open Google Translate, I lose a feather. #duolingo #swiftok #enchanted #languagelearning #trend #brandtok #comedy

♬ Enchanted Taylor Swift – Kaylen

Round up

Well there it is: 2021 in a snapshot. The growth of social media and its importance for brands has become increasingly obvious due to the pandemic, the expansion of e-commerce and working from home becoming an option within more companies. 

Social media is expected to expand even more in 2022, so make sure you’re staying up to date with what’s trending and how to navigate new platforms.

If you need any help with your social media marketing, get in touch with us today.