Social Advertising in 2021 – What Will It Look Like? Are You Ready?

We won’t waffle on about how “unprecedented” or “unbecoming” 2020 was for the media and marketing industry, instead we think it is important to take a look at the big leaps and changes that were made in the industry throughout the last 12 months.

We can learn a lot from last year and prepare ourselves for a better 2021 to smash our campaign objectives out of the park from the start.

So, what leaps and bounds were made in 2020 you might ask? We’ve summarised the most important ones for easy access!


Social commerce, or eCommerce, exploded! There was rapid growth over the last 12 months especially across the eCommerce sector; more specifically across social. The evolution of this space has grown at such a rapid pace, accelerating trends that were already in motion and encouraging major players to enter the industry and update their business models from a more retail focus to an eCommerce focus.

Facebook & Instagram

The release of Facebook and Instagram Shop was a huge development that helped brands accelerate the rate at which they grew in the eCommerce space. These shops are accessible across both Facebook and Instagram platforms and can be completely customised to suit a brand’s specific guidelines. Facebook marketplace exploded as customer to customer (C2C) selling became more popular among Facebook users alike who wanted to make some cash off unwanted items.

In 2020, we also saw the introduction and rapid growth of platforms like Tik Tok within the organic social media space. This allowed a platform for users to create vertical video content to disseminate to mass audiences while building a following at the same time. In response, Instagram released Reels to compete with Tik Tok’s growing user-base and record-breaking app downloads.

Data Law Changes

With the introduction of new platforms, the debate around data control and privacy models erupted again. In Australia alone we saw proposed law changes that would see Google, Facebook & other media giants pay publishers for the traffic they send to their content. Along with this, we saw the beginnings of the iOS 14 update from Apple that directly affects Facebook paid advertising across their mobile devices.

Influencer Marketing

It was the year of social distancing, and as a result brands changed the way they interacted with content creators and influencers. Heavily edited product shots, headshots and paid ambassador shifts were swapped for organic content integration, raw aesthetics and creative spins across some of the biggest brands we know and love.

User Generate Content (UGC)

User-Generated Content (UGC) continued to grow and be a critical tool for brand engagement. We saw the adoption of platforms like Tribe by brands and micro-influencers alike to drive organic brand engagements across various follower bases. Hashtag challenges made a comeback across many social media platforms with brands questioning the status quo of everyday tasks and encouraging users to get involved across their Instagram, Twitter &Tik Tok accounts.

So, after the rapid growth in many corners of the media space in 2020, this year can’t possibly be better, can it? Oh, but it can.

Despite the impact of Apple’s recent iOS 14 updates and tracking campaign success across multiple stages of the funnel, these platforms are continuing to make strides in the organic and engagement space. Increasingly, brands have access to multiple assets like the paid Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram Reels, Shops, and organic feeds. Shoppable Instagram and Facebook posts have been made available in Australia and will give your brand a competitive edge allowing for users to click straight through to the product on your Facebook Shop and purchase in seconds.


After a rocky few years, SnapChat has emerged as a contender in the social media arena riding off its success in 2020 among younger generations. Looking to diversify your channel mix and reach younger generations with highly engaging content? SnapChat is the channel just for this, increasing usership globally by 17% since 2019. Not only has its organic user base increased, but the advertising platform has also become more sophisticated in campaign builds and targeting options.


Now it wouldn’t be much of a 2021 preparation list without mentioning Tik Tok. That’s right – the global video giant is still on a rapid course of success, growing to the sixth largest social network in 2020. With its unique algorithm giving the best opportunity for content to be found and grown. This is a unique opportunity your brand should be investing in when looking at organic growth channels that engage your follower base and nurture them throughout their online journeys. Coupled with a sophisticated advertising platform backed by the world’s most valuable start-up, Tik Tok should be a staple within your channel media mix in 2021. With 30 million unique active monthly users in the US alone… the growth here in Australia is currently underutilised.


Looking to drive purchase intent across a visual medium? Look no further than Pinterest. With its sophisticated ads manager platform, Pinterest ads integrate seamlessly within users boards and search results inspiring engagement and action. According to Pinterest, 89% of users use the app for purchase inspiration. At the consideration perspective, two-thirds of users (64%) have also stated that they use the platform to find ideas, products and services they can trust before making purchase decisions. With the recent development of the Pinterest Pin Builder tool, Pinterest have made their platform even more accessible for marketers, especially for those teams without designers available.

Finally, we can’t forget to mention the ongoing data and privacy updates not only here in Australia, but across the world. Keeping your finger on the data and privacy pulse is more important than ever, ensuring your customer’s privacy is adhered to while you utilise their information as ethically as possible. Apple’s iOS 14 update is only the first in what we’re expecting to be many privacy updates that will have adverse effects on the media industry and getting ahead of them before they happen will be the best way to tackle them.

This year, diversify your social media mix, engage with your audiences and provide value up front. Create engaging content, drive consideration of your brand by nurturing your prospects across organic channels and utilise the various ad platforms at your fingertips to convert your audience. 2021 comes with its own challenges for media and marketing but taking a human first approach will put your best foot forward by ensuring your media & comms strategy is as effective and prosperous as possible.

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