Social Media: 2018 A Year in Review

In a year where Mark Zuckerberg had to answer some questions to USA Congressmen, and Cambridge Analytica became tarred with scandal and subsequently plunged into administration, we saw social media get serious in 2018. The public wised up to social media’s influence, and with it, a full force PR campaign from TV and print to claw back their chunk of the ad spend pie.

It was ironic that social media turned to print to apologise with full-page ads, with ‘impact’ becoming more important than likes, and brands wising up through carefully placed, bold social-first campaigns. As we know, it only takes someone like Kylie Jenner to post a negative comment about your brand to wipe millions off its value (we’re looking at you Snapchat).

Despite this, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat still managed to grow their net audiences. So, here’s my curation of 2018 social media highlights, with zero royal wedding talk or Brexit in sight...

Disney Domination

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase, and if Disney’s growing footprint on entertainment is anything to go by, 2018 was certainly wonderful. One social standout from the House of Mouse was the Lion King trailer debut, which became the most viewed video within 24 hours EVER on the largest video and social media platforms. It set social alight, perfectly promoted before the Christmas rush, and complete with a James Earl Jones return and a little-known celebrity called Beyoncé joining the cast.

However, its reign was short-lived, with Disney’s other property, Marvel’s Avengers: End Game trailer debuting and usurping the Lion King with 289 million views in the first 24 hours. 

 And if that wasn’t enough, Disneyland in Tokyo is the happiest place on Earth, according to Instagram, claiming the title of the most popular place on earth geo-tagged with ☺ in the caption.

Disney is definitely feeling the love tonight

Disney is definitely feeling the love tonight


If you’re over the age of 21, you’d be forgiven for not knowing the global boyband and K-pop phenomena BTS. In 2017, the band won the Favourite Social Artist award at the American Music Awards, and in 2018 they proved why.

Their Twitter account amassed 17.6million followers as 2019 ushered in, starting 2018 with under just under 12 million – as well as being the most retweeted celebrity, group or duo in the world for the second year running.

BTS interviews on hugely popular shows such as Radio 1 in the UK and Ellen DeGeneres in the USA, has worked to increase their digital footprint even further. Not only are these shows popular on TV in their respective territories but have a reach of millions across streaming and video platforms such as iPlayer and YouTube.

BTS the ABBA our decade

BTS the ABBA our decade

The seven-piece boyband left no stone unturned in their relentless global, and Western-focused domination. Among their social media credentials, they became the most popular pop act on Tumblr, #BTSarmy was the most popular fandom community on Instagram, and they had the fastest music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube. 

Commercially, BTS became the first-ever Korean act to top the Billboard 200 with Love Yourself: Tear, which also scored number 8 in the UK album charts. And to boot, South Korean president Moon Jae-in congratulated BTS on their first No. 1 album – through social media, of course.

Social Influencers are Celebrities

The blue spike demonstrates the interest of Celeb Dad since 2012, the red, shows Celeb mum during the same period

The blue spike demonstrates the interest of Celeb Dad since 2012, the red, shows Celeb mum during the same period

Celebrity Dad of the Year the inaugural U.K. award was won not by a telly fave but a social media “everyday” dad. Full disclosure. I worked on the campaign and found it fascinating that, in terms of social conversation and sheer numbers, one vlogger made 2018’s Clas Ohlson Celebrity Dad of the Year not only the biggest (in terms of search) but bested the usually more popular Celebrity Mum of the Year. A genuine campaign by Mark Hoyle aka Lad Baby caught tabloid media’s attention and generated a national conversation. Yes, having Prince William and Liam Payne on the shortlist didn’t hurt press covering the story but it was Mark’s use of social and his eventual win that drew in the social conversation.

So, if you are still drawing lines between Insta and general fame, stop now. You just need to look at Strictly’s contestant YouTuber is Joe Suggs and Queen of the Meme GC to see the lines aren’t just blurred; they’ve been wiped out of existence.

2018’s Social media hero

And new for this year, I thought I’d list my own social media hero with the crown going to the original IT girl, Paris Hilton! No, it isn’t 2005 all over again; Paris’ Instagram has interjected a bit of cosmic fun for her adoring 10 million-plus followers, and adding over two million more in 2018 alone.

 Way back in Jan ’18 (and a personal highlight) was when Yeezy (owned by Kanye West, aka Mr Kim Kardashian) recruited Paris for a promotion where she dressed as a Kim Kardashian clone. The result was flawless. Quick history lesson for the uninitiated, Kim Kardashian was once Paris Hilton’s stylist/shopper/less famous friend long before stardom came knocking. This article will give you the noughties recap that you need. Additionally, two of them share similar tapes which I’ll leave you to discover...

So, Miss Hilton, we hope to see many, MANY more fantastic posts in 2019!

And yes, MySpace still continues to exist for another year.


Top five social media campaigns of 2018

5)   Victoria Plumbing | Deadpool 2 License  

4)    Yeezy | Paris Hilton x Kim Kardashian

 3)  Clas Ohlson | Clas Ohlson Celebrity Dad of the Year

2)    SEGA | Sonic the Hedgehog Adventures

1)      M&S | World Cup / Gareth Southgate #WaistcoatWednesday