Last year, we asked Tinuiti experts to predict what changes will most impact social advertisers in 2019.
- The increased investment in the Stories format
- Improved automation and incremental testing features
- More video placements across Facebook & Instagram
- Improved attribution reporting
We’re proud to say that most of our experts’ forecasts were spot on.
Investment in Instagram stories surged last year, especially during the Cyber Five shopping weekend. We also saw improved functionality for smart campaign features like Campaign Budget Optimization, as well as improvements to reporting with updates to Facebook Attribution and the Learning Phase in Ads Manager.
Now, what do the experts predict will change in the year ahead?
Here are seven predictions on what will most impact Facebook and Paid Social advertising in 2020.
1. Creative & Cross-channel Storytelling As Social Differentiator
It’s no secret that customer acquisition costs are rising across all social media platforms. More and more brands are investing more ad dollars to reach audiences.
Audience overlap will continue to drive campaign costs in 2020, which is why strategic creative will be key to raising the ROI of your social campaigns in the year ahead.
“Increased volume of direct brands has led to increased audience overlap and competition. This calls for a renewed focus on leveraging creative as a strategic differentiator. Brands need to design with conversions in mind if they want to stand out from millions of creative agencies and competitors.”
-Jon Gregoire, VP of Growth Marketing at Tinuiti
A Nielsen survey found that 47% of a brand’s sales lift from advertising came from the creative.
With Facebook’s push towards automation, creative poses the largest opportunity for performance and growth.
“The right creative can really elevate your marketing program and help convert users on Facebook. At Tinuiti, we take a cohesive approach to strategizing social activations and combining it with the type of creative that will compel users to convert. We know the importance of this because during all parts of the year, 63% of a brand’s sales lift from social advertising can be attributed to the quality of the creative. Therefore, creative is always one of the largest drivers of success.”
-Avi Ben-Zvi, Director of Paid Social, Tinuiti
2. Creative Testing Capabilities
Testing was a priority in 2019 and it looks like that will remain the same in 2020. Incremental testing in the upcoming year will be especially valuable for businesses to test out new pilot programs without worrying about spending too much on unproven methods.
Some interesting discoveries in 2019 that will pave the way for what’s to come in 2020:
- Dynamic Creative Optimization on Facebook ultimately performed best in terms of ad placement
- Single image product ads drove the most success from a ROAS perspective
- Single image product ads were successful in several placements such as Carousel, Collection, and Video
Ultimately, the future of Facebook advertising lays in vigorous testing, whether it’s testing out new overlays, frames, or pricing. Facebook is also placing an increased emphasis on video, making it important for organizations to focus their efforts on leveraging video to increase their ad performance.
3. Advertisers Ramping Instagram Investment to Capture Cheaper Impressions
Instagram now accounts for roughly a third of all Facebook ad spend, up from only a quarter a year ago.
Strong impression growth and expanding ad inventory that helps close the bottom of the funnel (such as Stories that can link directly to checkout) has attracted increased investment in Instagram over the past year.
“Between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Instagram accounted for 32% of all spend across Facebook properties, compared to just 22% for the same period last year, as Instagram growth continues to far outpace that of Facebook proper. Instagram Stories has been a meaningful part of that growth, and over the course of the Cyber Five accounted for 38% of Instagram spend compared to 12% for the same period last year.”
— Andy Taylor, Director of Research at Tinuiti
4. A Growing Focus on Mobile
US mobile ad spend will increase to more than $120 billion on mobile investments in 2020, becoming nearly 80% of all digital spend, according to a report by eMarketer.
Consumers are more comfortable than ever before with browsing and shopping on their devices, and this trend will continue into 2020.
Mobile app plays will be crucial for reaching your audience, especially when you consider that three-quarters of all Facebook users now access the platform on mobile phones, and mobile holiday shopping increasing by 22% year over year, according to Facebook data.
Our consumer survey also found that a higher percentage of younger shoppers use their phones for shopping: 61.7% of Gen Z and 59% of Millennials say they planned to use their phones for gift shopping last year — a number that is sure to increase as the mobile shopping experience improves.
“Mobile-optimized creative and video will help brands break through the clutter in 2020. Video doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to create. Brands are making their ads more visually engaging by transforming existing still images into video using lightweight animations.”
-Suzie Chudzik, Paid Social Strategist at Tinuiti
5. More Opportunities for Brands That Diversify Social Investment
Although Facebook is still the king of social media channels, reports show that time spent on the platform continues to decline.
With engagement becoming more costly, brands will need to look to additional social channels for more affordable growth opportunities rather than limiting social spend to a single channel.
This is why it’s necessary to diversify your media mix across multiple channels and pivot to inventory where there is faster growth potential, such as TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest and others.
“While Facebook has historically been the king of direct response, each social channel has a unique offering that aligns with real business goals. Each of these channels should be considered when pulling together a holistic paid social strategy.”
— Katy Lucey, Director, Paid Social at Tinuiti
6. Consumers Using Social for Discovery & Amazon for Purchasing
Many shoppers in 2020 will begin the buyer’s journey on social media and finish their journey on Amazon.
Amazon now rivals (and in some cases overtakes) stores as a starting point for holiday shopping, and outranks all other online gift sources — making a presence on the platform all but mandatory.
“Amazon’s presence will only continue to grow in 2020. A clean A/B test is essential to measuring the success of driving traffic to a brand’s website vs. driving traffic to Amazon,” says Baber Ghaznavi, Senior Paid Social Specialist at Tinuiti.
“Additionally, your team must be aligned on attribution measurement as the Amazon Attribution tool only offers a 14-day window. This strategy will allow you to accurately measure sales data and success with Amazon.”
7. Brands Closing the Social Funnel With Native Checkout Features
Facebook launched a limited beta for ecommerce clients called Checkout on Instagram. While the feature only launched for organic posts, it is fully expected Instagram to roll this feature out for paid Instagram in 2020.
For organic posts that are shoppable (when products from the merchant’s product catalog are tagged in the post and the post includes a “View Products” callout), customers clicking on those products will be directed to check out directly within Instagram instead of getting pushed to a merchant’s website.
Facebook Native Checkout
While very similar to Instagram Checkout, the native checkout beta on Facebook will allow checkout from Facebook’s dynamic product ads — unlike Instagram which only currently allows checkout from organic posts.
Instead of being taken from a dynamic product ad to a merchant’s website, this checkout format will let customers check out directly on Facebook.
“Instagram Checkout will help with overall conversions rates on Instagram, as it could decrease purchase friction consumers might have if they are required to leave Instagram to buy. We currently see decent rates for offsite conversions on Instagram, so adding in the ability to checkout directly within the app should make it easier for consumers to purchase and increase overall conversions. The one challenge here is for brands that rely heavily on third-party tracking (like Google Analytics), as it remains unclear how these purchases will be tracked.”
-Katy Lucey, Director of Paid Social at Tinuiti
The Future of Paid Social: Key Takeaways for 2020
If 2020 is anything like 2019, then brand marketers can expect plenty of changes and improvements coming their way in the year ahead.
Here are some of our key expectations for 2020:
- Creative quality and testing capabilities will be key for improving campaign ROI as targeting overlap and acquisition costs rise
- Advertisers will continue to ramp up spend on Instagram and emerging channels like TikTok to capture cheaper impressions
- Mobile ad spend will continue to increase as major platforms release more mobile-centric and interactive ad inventory akin to stories
- Amazon’s presence will continue to be felt as the preferred conversion engine for shoppers, smart brands will need to adopt social strategies that can account for this
- New native checkout features will play an important role in how brands can close the gap between discovery and purchase without a shopper having to leave the app
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