Change is the only constant when it comes to social media advertising. The strategies and tactics that worked well this year will soon become obsolete, and unfortunately, those who remain stagnant, and use the same approach for every campaign, will find themselves increasingly frustrated.

2019 was an interesting year, in which we saw the continued rise of video, the explosion of info-marketers selling courses, and the confirmation of good data being a core aspect of a strong social media advertising campaign. 

Throughout 2019, our team has spent well over 6-figures in media dollars on social media advertising, and there are a few key trends that stood out.

Based on what we’ve experienced, here are five key social media advertising tips for improving your approach in 2020.

1. Consider Increasing Budgets

Boom – right out of the gate I hit you with the nasty b-word. 

Social media channels have become increasingly competitive over the years, especially Facebook and Instagram. I’ve been doing digital advertising since Facebook implemented ads, and have been witness to the rising costs that come with successful campaigns.

In 2020, you absolutely must consider increasing your budgets if you want to be competitive. And I’m not just saying spend more because I’m a dastardly advertiser, there is logic to this approach. 

All social media platforms are improving the machine learning behind their advertising platforms. For these machines to learn, they need data, and as social media advertising campaigns run, they collect and aggregate data in search of users who are most likely to convert.

Essentially, you’re paying for that data, therefore, the fewer dollars you spend, the less data you’re aggregating. Less data means longer times to optimize, and a longer waiting period to positive ROI.

Take a hard look at your budgets and make sure you are setting yourself up for success next year.

2. Video, Video, Video

Did you know that marketers who use video grow revenue roughly 49% faster than non-video users?

If you haven’t been using video in your social advertising campaigns, you’re missing out. Not only is video more engaging than other media, but it can supercharge your targeting on Facebook.

With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can create a ‘warm’ audience of people who’ve watched a certain amount of video from your page. Then, you can create a Lookalike Audience to prospect for users who look and behave just like the original video watchers.

Why is this important? Because anyone watching more than 50% of a video is likely interested in its content, and therefore more likely to buy.

A lot of brands we work with are frustrated because they don’t have video content to use, however Facebook now has some really great, lightweight tools which enable you to string together even still images to build a video. This can a perfect way to ease into using video in your social ad campaigns.

3. Get More Familiar with Pixels

Every social media platform that offers advertising has pixels, and these little snippets of code enable websites to share data with the social media providers to help inform advertising campaigns.

Facebook’s Pixel, in particular, is incredibly powerful, and should be used with every campaign.

From creating Custom Audiences to creating Custom Conversions, getting pixel-savvy is an absolute must if you want your social ad campaigns to be competitive in 2020. Not only is the access to data amazing, you can actually tell Facebook what objective you want to optimize against. This is a great way to build an effective sales funnel.

4. Test Out Chatbots

There are now more than 300,000 active chatbots on Facebook Messenger, and while they may seem a bit invasive, studies show that 56% of people would rather message with a brand than call a customer service line, and that 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses that they can message.

You might be surprised at the results that can be generated by deploying a chatbot in a Facebook Messenger ad campaign that provides value in exchange for user information.

Even if you aren’t out there fishing for emails, chatbots can help you create the feel of a 1-on-1 interaction which can help resolve customer service issues, provide FAQ information and more.

Your imagination is really the limit when it comes to the use cases ripe for chatbots. We will see adoption of them increase in 2020, so it’s a good idea to get familiar now.

5. Optimize at Scale

One of the biggest things we’ve learned this year is the power of optimizing ads and ad sets quickly and at scale.

This means keeping an eye on how your campaigns are performing, both at macro and micro levels, and cutting out non-performers or elements that are generating results at a higher than average cost.  

At the macro level, you’ll want to ensure that all your ad sets are performing within your desired KPI. Any ad set that doesn’t perform, or isn’t generating cost-effective results, must be turned off to preserve budget for your better performing campaigns.

The same goes for the micro-optimizations at the ad level – don’t get sentimental about your creatives. If an ad isn’t generating results, it has to go. 

The main reason here is that while Facebook will always try to prioritize spending budget on ad sets and ads that are converting, it’ll still spend money those that don’t also. Those dollars add up over time, and can hurt your long-term performance. This is how you scale results to stretch each dollar as far as you can.

While nobody has a crystal ball, we can learn from our past experiences to predict the future. Based on a year of wins, lessons, and innovations, these are five ways to take your social advertising to the next level next year. Article by Mat Bullock, Social Command