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How 2020 Has Transformed Social Media Marketing



Whoever you are or whatever you do, there’s no hiding from the fact that 2020 has been a year of change for everyone. Industries have shut down, and business owners have utilised the word ‘pivot’ more times than Ross from Friends. 

At the start of this year, we had our predictions for how social media would evolve throughout 2020, and we took the time to provide our clients with these and how they will likely benefit their business. Fast forward nine months, and here we are in a very different but seemingly more favourable position than ever before. 


The global pandemic has changed the way we connect and communicate, not only with people we know and love but with brands and businesses. It felt timely for us to reflect on the year so far and start to explore how this unforgettable trip around the sun has shone a light on the importance of social media marketing.


Social media users have never been more active.


Given we’re all spending time inside and isolated, there’s no surprise that more people than ever are flocking to social media for connection and entertainment. 


A special report by DATAREPORTAL shows that 43% of social media users have been spending more time online this year. 

This is the most important change to social media marketing this year. More eyes than ever before are on these platforms, and businesses need to invest their time and efforts in advertising space that is going to net the best results. Given the decline in audience for out-of-home advertising, we’d suggest that social media is the perfect place to target your customers right now.


Social media advertisers have never been so quiet.


As businesses have felt the need to tighten their spending, one of the first cuts made is often in advertising. Many of the biggest global brands and national retailers either pulled or pegged back their social media advertising spend this year. 


Who does this benefit?


Everyone willing to stay the course and keep their ads running or more so. Those that went all-in on social advertising have been the CPC (cost per click) winners. 


Social media advertising is cheap on your ordinary day, with CPC’s significantly lower than a platform like Google. However, social media advertising amid a pandemic has proven to be one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise your business. 


Since March, our eCommerce clients have seen a significant drop in CPC, while ROAS (return on ad spend) has nearly tripled from the same period in 2019.  


Agility and responsiveness


If there are any two words to sum up marketing in 2020, agile and responsive would be at the top of our list. 


Social media has proven itself to be the perfect platform for customer communications for most brands this year. It is responsive by nature and has allowed businesses to get critical information to customers in a time of crisis. 


Further to this, businesses that have followed the same principles, by being agile and responsive with their communications, have won the hearts and loyalty of their customers. People understand how this pandemic is influencing businesses, but more so than ever, they need clear communication on how the restrictions to your business impact them as a customer. Being agile and responsive with your messaging and marketing helps keep everyone informed and engaged.


The pace at which businesses have been able to communicate this year will set the benchmark for the future. There is no excuse for not being transparent with your customers; social media provides you with the outlet to do so, and 2020 has proven that businesses can do this efficiently and effectively. 


Authenticity wins.


Consumers are placing increasingly more value on authenticity, and your communication – not only on social media – needs to reflect that. Building a connection is the most important component of your social activity, and your audience is seeking this now more than ever.


2020 has taught us to stop being perfect. Your audience wants to see the real people behind the brand, and one of the best ways that businesses have done this is via live video. It provides consumers with the information they’re looking for in a raw and real way. 


Video is not an option.


It’s time to stop sleeping on video. 2020 has shown us that video content is not only viewed more now than ever, but it is also the catalyst to more significant results on social media. With Facebook preferencing video content and YouTube being the second most active platform, there should be no question for a business as to whether this type of content is right for you.  


Video can seem daunting and expensive, but that’s not the case. As we’ve said, authenticity will win, and as a result, the barrier to entry for video is low. You don’t need to be polished, and if you have a smartphone, you have a camera. 


While TikTok may not be for everyone – just yet – it needs to be mentioned. 2020 has seen more downloads and more time spent on TikTok than any year preceding it; in fact, in the first quarter of 2020, TikTok was downloaded more times than any other app in any other quarter, ever. 


TikTok has been seen as a younger platform, and while that opinion is still relevant, we have to acknowledge that it is maturing, with many users between 20 to 40 years old flocking to it. 


People want to buy on social media.


People are buying online more frequently than ever, and direct selling from social media is playing a massive role in this. With the introduction of Instagram Shops, and Dynamic Advertising becoming more popular, brands need to double down on these features. 


Facebook’s rollout of personalised ad experiences delivers products dynamically to customers, changing formats (carousel, collection) and calls to action based on who it’s served to.


Mass targeting is missing the mark, but personalisation of marketing is netting incredible results for eCommerce businesses. By mapping your customers and following them online, it allows you to deliver targeted and personalised advertising. Speaking directly to a person and building a connection will always increase your results. 



Thus far, 2020 has been a big year for social media advertising. It has shone a positive light on our industry as we see clients investing more than ever before because they understand the benefits. 


With the pause of out-of-home advertising, now is the time for businesses to make their mark on social media. If you have pulled back or haven’t been as active as you wish you had, there’s no time like now to get marketing. We don’t see these as trends for 2020; we see this as the new normal for social media marketing. 


Need some support for your social media marketing? Whether you’re pulling together your strategy or looking to build connections with your customers, we’ll keep you in the loop with all the updates and tactics you need to be a better brand for your audience. Sign up to our newsletter for more tips and tidbits to help you thrive within your market.


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