Gamers and celebrities have dominated Twitter feeds during quarantine, new data finds

Each year around this time, digital publishers and tech platforms announce their content plans for the year ahead. These annual upfront and NewFronts pitches are a bid to partner with agencies and advertisers to reassemble audiences across the ever-changing video landscape. That process will look different this year. 

Still, as we wait for sports to resume, events to reconvene and production schedules to reboot, we’re seeing unique trends in engagement and a shift in what premium means to fans. At the same time, it’s important that the content of today — and the future — is no longer solely delivered in traditional ways.  It’s not just that audiences are seeking high-quality content, they’re newly open to consuming it in new ways and in online social spaces. 

In the following sections, we look at recent trends on Twitter, where premium content is capturing the attention of audiences and bringing people together into communities of like-minded viewers who’ve found new ways to experience premium moments in the same digital space.

Gaming, creators and celebrity-driven content stands out

In this time of quarantine, the numbers make it clear that people on Twitter are engaging with more premium content, and in particular they’re selecting premium video content that helps close the gap between delayed productions, cancellations, and a general lack of fresh linear — and even connected — TV experiences.

-According to the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), in February-March 2020, premium video content accounted for two-thirds (66 percent) of the top 10 Twitter trending topics at night, with ad-supported TV accounting for over half of all topics. The research discovered that 33 TV entertainment shows trended in the top 10 on Twitter, accounting for more than 60% of total ad-supported TV topics.

-People who crave competition are turning to video games, with Twitter seeing a 71 percent increase in gaming conversation in the second half of March.

-Creator content is also on the rise, as creators continue taking on topics like cooking from home, at-home fitness, and comedy. On Twitter, there’s been a 34 percent increase in watch time for creator video over the past few weeks.

-ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” generated 1.6 million Tweets about the first two episodes alone in just 24 hours.

-Twitter also saw record numbers during this year’s NFL draft, including a 65 percent year-over-year increase in ‎NFL video views during the draft. And the draft edition of The Checkdown, an NFL Live show, was the highest viewed of the season with 2 million live views. Altogether, Twitter was the leading social platform for NFL draft video with 167 million views, Tubular reports. 

Connecting through content

As brands rework how they connect with their audiences, especially through premium video content, Twitter is a critical distribution channel within that content ecosystem. Brands are helping Twitter users stay informed and entertained, while encouraging meaningful and authentic connection around content that our partners are contributing at record levels. 

-71 percent of people use their phone for social media when watching TV.

-73 percent of people consider Twitter as their preferred platform when watching TV, according to a DB5 report on TV segmentation.

-Twitter helps brands deliver an average of +27% incremental reach to TV amongst A18-24.

-People are coming to Twitter for more than news: Compared to three months ago, 40 percent of people say they’re coming to Twitter more than they used to for entertainment, Nielsen reported.

-According to Nielsen, 75 percent of people surveyed on Twitter say that the platform makes them feel more connected to others.

In these times of event cancellations and postponements, there’s even more demand for the synchronicity of experience. Social media as a place to consume content and connect serves audiences in the way of gathering at a stadium or other public space.

In times of uncertainty, and with many questions yet to be answered, the video landscape has never been more fluid. The ability for content partners to be more creative than ever about how to engage their fans will drive video outcomes like the performance we’ve highlighted above. It’s clear people on Twitter have a strong appetite for this premium content, and in an unprecedented time they’re reaching for it in new ways.

Twitter helps brands connect with people in the moments that matter — and that has never been as important as it is today. And in these times of event cancellations and postponements there’s even more demand for synchronized experiences experience. Twitter is the new live stadium.

A version of this article ‘Connecting with people through the power of video’ first appeared on

Twitter, internal, partner-managed accounts of Twitter Global Content Partnership team, March 2020
Nielsen Total Ad Ratings (TAR) Meta Analysis commissioned by Twitter across 29 Twitter campaigns from 2/1/2017-12/31/2019, A18-24
Twitter Insiders, U.S. only, April 9-13, 2020, n=727
Twitter Insiders, U.S. only, Twitter n = 727, Instagram n = 597, YouTube n = 672 April 8-13, 2020

More from Digiday

Sliders test article

Agencies hope connected TV and digital out-of-home will play a bigger role in upcoming elections and politics — especially for smaller media agencies that are handling many of the less visible races in the crowded political space. For a number of media agencies looking to place their political ad dollars down in this major election […]

How CTV and DOOH are growing this political season for smaller agencies

Connected TV and digital out-of-home are playing a bigger role in upcoming elections and politics – especially for smaller agencies looking to place clients’ dollars.

CMO Strategies: Advertisers identify the top attributes on ad-supported streaming platforms

This is the third installment in Digiday’s multi-part series covering the top ad-supported streaming services and part of Digiday’s CMO Strategies series. In this report, we examine which ad attributes matter the most to marketers on streaming platforms.