2021, much like last year, will be filled with uncertainty for marketers. As much as we all would like to believe 2020 is far behind us, it has had a major and lasting impact on nearly every industry. Businesses of all types have pivoted their paid social strategies, which will influence consumer behavior.

There are three paid social trends we anticipate to have the most significant impact in the near future. 

1. Increased Focus on Mobile E-comm

2020 highlighted the importance of brands’ digital media presence. Since the pandemic began, online shopping became the new normal for many people. As they become more and more accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, ecommerce will continue to be the focus for many marketers in turn. 

Paid social features, such as Facebook Shops, have built trust with customers, ensuring they feel comfortable with making direct purchases. Although ecommerce will continue to grow across devices in 2021, data has shown that there will be a significant increase in sales via mobile. 

This paid social trend was identified in a poll by Dyfed Loesche, a data journalist for the Huffington Post, which showed that mobile devices are expected to make up almost 73% of total ecommerce sales by the end of 2021. The poll also revealed that roughly 30% of online shoppers are likely to abandon their carts if they find that the website is not mobile friendly. Consequently, mobile website optimizations should be a top priority for marketers to avoid diminishing revenue and ROAS. 

Omnichannel retailing, which Facebook and Instagram offer, will continue to be the new normal. Further, providing audiences with a seamless and consistent experience across channels will quickly become a top priority when crafting paid social strategies for the year. 

2. TikTok Paving the Way for More Video Integration in 2021

The rapid growth of TikTok was one of 2020’s hottest topics. In fact, its popularity led to competitors like Instagram and Snapchat introducing their own short-form video platforms, Reels and Spotlight respectively.

Not only has social entertainment stuck around, it’s safe to say that it will make up the bulk of  content and communication on those platforms. Social experts agree, forecasting that more than one-third of social network users will use TikTok in 2021. This is just six percentage points lower than Snapchat’s penetration (40.1%), but still far behind that of Instagram (54.9%).

Due to their rise in popularity, user-generated, short-form videos will continue to play a major role in paid social marketing. According to research conducted just two months ago by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, around 54% of agencies and brands that are expecting to spend money on paid social advertising in 2021 said they would prioritize story video ads and placements.

It’s safe to say that video advertising will continue to be a prominent trend in 2021. Brands should re-evaluate their creative strategies, capitalizing on the increase in viewership around the world.

3. Apple’s iOS 14 Update Impact on Advertising 

As marketers, the need to evolve strategy and tactics is never-ending. This rings truer than ever with Apple’s recent announcement of the iOS 14 policy update, which gives mobile app users the option to block the IDFA identifier. Industry professionals estimate around 50% to 95% of users will choose the Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) option, resulting in a drastic change to paid social best practices across platforms. 

More specifically, it will affect the ways in which marketers reach, understand and engage with target audiences. As there is still much to uncover regarding the Apple iOS 14 update and how it will impact paid social efforts long-term, a post-IDFA world is something we can all expect to focus on in 2021 and beyond.

The most successful agencies have the ability to adapt to the ever-changing industry. Although 2021 may reveal similar obstacles to 2020, we at Mindgruve see tremendous opportunity to adopt new best practices and fine-tune paid social strategy for our clients.

If you’d like more information, please contact us.