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What we learned about Social Advertising in 2020, and what trends will emerge in 2021

This year was a huge turning point for many brands. The pandemic hit some companies hard, while others prospered.

Either way, users’ online behaviour and overall marketing trends are inevitably changed.

During 2020, Hunch helped companies and marketing agencies to automate the production of over 1.000.000 high-quality video and image creatives and optimize their media buying campaigns for Facebook and Instagram.

Last year, we’ve also invested a lot of time researching different online user behaviours.

This allowed us to get first-hand information about the state of social advertising and find valuable insights on what makes winning campaigns.

We’re going to show you some key benchmarks, statistics and trends that will shape the future of social advertising in 2021.

During the previous year, we’ve concluded that traditional ways of doing paid social won’t work anymore. People are eager to get more personalized ads that resonate with their user behavior, which is constantly changing.

If you embrace these trends and strategies, you will have more success with paid advertising in 2021, and get a better return on investment on paid social.

Let’s get started.

Key social advertising statistics from 2020

In order to completely understand the main changes in social advertising and social media marketing that this year has brought, we will need to take a look at some key statistics from this and previous years.

That’s why we at Hunch took a look at some exclusive statistics from the campaigns we automated for our customers.

We pulled this data from:

  • Over 1.000.000 different video and ad creatives
  • Over 16.000 different paid social campaigns
  • 20+ different industries
  • Over 346.000.000 unique people who saw these campaigns

Let’s dive in.

User behaviour social advertising statistics in 2020

Social Advertising

Based on our research:

  • Screen time is up by more than 100%
  • Pre-pandemic average screen time was 3.2 hours per day
  • Current average screen time is 7 hours per day
  • More than 50% of the traffic is happening on mobile devices
  • 60% of the total consumers shop via mobile and desktop
  • 70% of users claim that they would shop exclusively via mobile if that was available

Social AND media statistics from 2020

  • TV Spend and Online spend are closing in at 54% vs 46%
  • Overall spend on digital channels is up by only 1.7%. However, this is heavily influenced by certain verticals stopping almost their entire activity. For example, the travel industry spend went down by 41% in the first half of 2020
  • Paid social advertising spend went from 9% in 2019 to almost 21% in 2020 of the total marketing budget

Shopping statistics from 2020

Shopping statistics
  • Online retail sales are constantly growing. In 2020, the eCommerce market cap reached $4.2 trillion
  • When it comes to local retail stores, in some industries, their eCommerce sales channels grew over 100%. Apparel and Sporting Goods had the biggest growth in online sales

Life-changing social advertising statistics from 2020

Life-changing social advertising
  • In 2020, we saw that personalization is one of the key factors differentiating successful campaigns from others
  • Personalized marketing campaigns generate 25% more revenue than non-personalized ones
  • Recent data shows that personalization can reduce bounce rates by more than 45%
  • Video engagements are on the rise and short video ads are close to a 30% playthrough rate on average (when the clicks happen depends on the length of the videos, but it’s usually in 1st, 2nd or 3rd quartile)

How to take your marketing campaigns to the next level in 2021?

Now that we took a look at these strategy-changing statistics, it’s time to see how we can implement them in our day-to-day activities and take our marketing campaigns for 2021 to the next level.

1. Ad personalization will play a key role in 2021

Ad personalization

Personalization is a common topic among almost every outstanding campaign conducted in 2020. It’s inevitable that it will play a huge role next year.

But that doesn’t come completely unexpected. We can see that consumers, in the era of bad advertising and hundreds of ads and promotions they see each day, are finding personalized campaigns more valuable and engaging.

Further in the article, you can see what types of personalization you can use in your social advertising campaigns.

2. Video is overthrowing image creatives as the best ad format

During Black Friday this year, for the first time ever, we saw that video ads are performing better than image creatives in certain spheres.

Now more than ever before, brands should invest their efforts and budget in video creatives. In 2021, video creatives should have a bigger role in the overall media split.

But, why is that?

Video creatives have a lower CPM, their playthrough rate is constantly growing, and video CTR is booming.

Not to mention that with video creatives, you have greater opportunities when it comes to telling a story, unleashing emotions with your target audience, and improving your brand awareness.

The main key for having a successful video campaign is, again, personalization. The most relevant content will get more clicks or views. The more engagement the ad has, the more reach it attracts while CPM goes down as well.

3. Broad targeting & AI will force us to create better campaigns

Many of the supply side algorithms (from Facebook, Google, etc.) are each day getting better at identifying relevant audiences.

This means that your ads will get better CTRs and conversion rates on your website.

But in order to take advantage of this, you should avoid broad targeting.

In exchange, having crisp, relevant and niche targeting on one side, and creative, engaging ads on the other will become a major differentiating factor between “regular” and outperforming campaigns.

That’s why investing more efforts and resources into knowing your TA better, creating lookalike and custom audiences from Facebook Pixel will pay off in the near future immensely. Beware of iOS 14 update.

Personalization trends that will bring the best results in 2021

So by now, we can see that personalization will play an important role in the life of every marketer and eCommerce business next year.

But how exactly can you personalize your Paid Social campaigns?

There are a couple of great, engaging and yet pretty cost-effective ways to personalize your video and image creatives.

4. Geo personalization targeting brings enormous success

Geo personalization allowed brick and mortar stores to control when and where to allow their customers to come, even with rigorous covid-19 measures.

Geo personalization

It’s also an emerging trend in lead generation campaigns in automobile, banking, apparel and other industries.

The opportunity to let your customers come to the right place at the right time is important for both consumers and advertisers.

Not to mention that personalizing your ads by the user’s current location is an immersive strategy that will amaze the users and make them come to you.

5. Weather-based creatives bring the best results

Weather-based advertising has been very attractive in the last couple of months, and it brought a lot of sales in 2020.

Today’s technologies allow you to personalize your creatives almost any way you want, and one of the most interesting ways is to personalize them according to weather and time.

In a nutshell, we at Hunch created over 120.000 different weather-based video and image ads for our partners and customers in 2020.

One of the best examples is the campaign we conducted for Sport Vision – the leading sports apparel brand in South-East Europe.

Weather-based ads

Each creative was personalized with:

  • The image of a user’s location
  • The current time of the day
  • Current weather conditions
  • Different types of clothes appropriate for the current weather
  • Copy that resonates with the weather conditions

Sport Vision and its social media agency partnered up with Hunch to create 820 weather-based ads for 15 store locations and 6 weather types with day or night conditions.

The results were immersive.

The winning combination of retargeting and dynamic creatives

Did someone leave your website without buying? Or they put your items in the cart but didn’t purchase? It’s time to engage with them in a completely different way.

But how are you going to do that? Most retargeting campaigns are dull. Not to mention that people start to freak out when they see a certain brand following them everywhere on the web with their products.

The solution lies in personalized retargeting.

Retargeting campaigns that are personalized in different retargeting segments (7 days, 14 days, and so on), +always overthrow generic retargeting campaigns and ads.

Now you can go step forward by combining retargeting and dynamic creatives.

For example, Air Serbia used the 1st party data of their website visitors (the locations they were looking for), and 3rd party data (users’ current location), to create amazing retargeting campaigns.

This is a definition of a high impact ad.

If someone was looking for a two-round trip from Belgrade to Amsterdam but didn’t purchase the tickets, they would start seeing this ad.

This way, Air Serbia combined multiple personalization factors:

  • Geo-location targeting
  • Multi-language campaigns
  • Personalized offers

Social advertising trends 2021 – the bottom line

As you can see, social advertising trends are changing every single day. Videos are taking over and personalization plays an important role.

But the question is, will we change our approaches the same way user behaviour changes?

If you want to take early advantage of this, then personalization should play an important role in your social advertising campaigns in 2021.

In case you want to take your marketing activities to the next level, Hunch can help you with personalizing your creatives on a scale, without wasting your budget on designers to create 10.000 different creatives.

Hunch can create that for you, in minutes.

Schedule a demo of Hunch with our customer success managers.