As the year comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on this year and look forward to next year. This was a big year in advertising, ad tech, and social media from TikTok's prosperity to CTV making a splash. Next year, we can expect some of these trends to continue with the potential for a few new trends to take over.
TikTok reached a billion active monthly users earlier this year, which was the most rapid growth seen for a social platform. Advertisers had to shift gears with this new platform this year. There were more opportunities for influencer marketing and paid ads on the platform because of the level of authenticity that is associated with TikTok. Gen Z especially prefers the genuine, down to earth content and finds these influencers trustworthy. This means that people are more likely to actually remember the ad, have brand awareness, and even make a purchase from that brand.
According to eMarketer, spending in programmatic display ads in the U.S. is predicted to increase by 18.4%.
Overall ad spend is continuing to grow as a whole. eMarketer also states that "total worldwide ad spending is set to increase 19.9% this year, reaching $780.59 billion." Ad spend for this year exceeded expectations as it was previously projected to grow 15%.
Social commerce is taking off as more brands sell through social platforms and social-like experiences. These experiences include Spaceback Social Display and companies like Firework, which uses shoppable video.
More brands have been selling products directly through social platforms like Instagram. A Social Grain blog mentions that "Instagram has 1 billion users, and 90% of them already follow active shopping brands, with many visiting these profiles daily."
TikTok and Pinterest are other platforms that have honed in on the social commerce experience. Digital Information World has found that 49% of TikTok users have made a purchase in the app, leaving the social platform with the highest in-app purchase rate. According to Pinterest, people are seven times more likely to buy products from pins they've saved. Making your e-commerce store available on social and other platforms that have a social feel will deliver direct results to your brand.
With the state of the world and the rapid depletion of the planet, more consumers want to see brands address how they're making the shift to be more environmentally-friendly. In a 2020 Statista survey, 45% of consumers find it very important for brands to be environmentally responsible and sustainable and 32% found it moderately important.
Earlier this year, Levis launched a campaign known as "Buy Better, Wear Longer" to bring awareness to the impacts fashion has on the environment and encourage consumers to develop more sustainable habits. Carlsberg released a paper beer bottle made 100% of sustainably-sourced and bio-based wood fibers. Eventually, it intends to have their bottles made of wood and fiber to make them completely biodegradable.
"The mobile environment of the 2020s is experiencing a vertical video revolution. The portrait, or vertical screen format is replacing the traditional landscape, or horizontal, format to become the default for mobile video production and consumption," explained marketing expert Lana Mulier.
It's becoming less important to create video content that's exclusively landscape. And, on smartphones, it can be a hassle for people to rotate their phones sideways to watch something, which adds a level of inconvenience for people to watch altogether.
According to Outbrain, "The vertical 9:6 ratio is here to stay, already filling 75% of the screen and 100% when tapped to full." With that being said, vertical mobile advertising will continue into the new year.
As mentioned above, influencers have been huge on TikTok. But the vast majority of influencers are found on Instagram, with TikTok coming in second. Just this year, we saw influencer marketing increase by 42%, which came out to $13.8 billion, according to this MediaPost article. Influencer marketing can be a great strategy, especially because people tend to trust the word of other consumers in addition to something coming directly from the brand.
During this year, 60% of B2B businesses now use Instagram, which doubled the number of businesses using the platform in 2020, according to Econsultancy. HubSpot predicts that both Instagram and Twitter will increase in value, especially for B2B businesses. 70% of those surveyed said they want to expand the time and efforts spent on Twitter.
Since we're approaching the end of an era for third-party cookies, advertisers are scrambling to find alternatives. And, with the new privacy rules that iOS released earlier this year, targeting consumers will be challenging in the coming months.
While a singular option hasn't come out on top as a full-on replacement, advertisers can take advantage of some other important opportunities: Using more UGC, sending out more marketing emails, retargeting, using creative, and boosting social posts, to name a few. Brands will simply have to get more creative with the way they advertise by finding and testing out new methods.
While we addressed influencer marketing as being a huge trend this year, we don't see influencers slowing down next year. Even B2B marketers will start finding influencers for their brands. This year, Adobe, SAP, GE, and PWC all embraced the idea of influencers and used them for their B2B marketing. MediaPost predicts that by the end of next year, influencer marketing will reach $15 billion.
It can be difficult to see the value of content that will only have screen time for 24 hours. Because of the short timeframe that consumers can access disappearing content, marketers will likely limit time spent on creating content for stories and instead focus on content that will be around long-term.
During the pandemic, we saw podcasts boom. Next year, in the B2B space especially, podcasts will be a huge investment for businesses to make. They can serve as a meaningful space for thought leadership, networking with others within the industry, and bring brand awareness to your company. Some people predict that podcasts will diminish because they're time consuming. But people are still listening to podcasts. It's unlikely listenership will decrease anytime soon.
We saw a huge increase in the use of video content this year, and we think it'll continue to be popular for the next 5-10 years. 61% of marketers view video as either "very important or extremely important" for their marketing, and 74% have said that video brings a higher ROI than still images, according to a Biteable survey.
Just look at CTV. It's taking the ad tech world by storm, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Being prepared to test some video content next year will be beneficial for your brand.
We've seen Social Display ads everywhere this year. Who wouldn't want to see social content outside of the walled gardens? With strong growth both internationally and in the U.S., we predict Social Display's growth will continue to accelerate as brands unlock their best social content experiences across more screens.