Socialbakers Reveals Major Shifts in Digital Ad Trends During 2020 as Digital Transformation Became a Top Priority

Facebook ad reach jumped 96% in North America and 30% globally, with year over year comparisons showing ad spend will likely continue to climb into 2021

Socialbakers, the leading social media marketing platform, today released a new trends report: “State of Social Media Marketing: A Year After COVID.” The report reveals multiple insights highlighting the impact of the pandemic on social media marketing trends and underscoring the resiliency of the digital marketing community.

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According to Socialbakers’ data, Facebook Ads Reach (the number of users who view an ad at least once) increased 30% globally in 2020 compared to 2019, with regional lifts varying between 12% to an astounding 96% jump in North America. 

“This increase in ad reach can be attributed to a number of factors, one being that users are spending more time online interacting with branded content,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, President at Socialbakers. “Another factor is the sheer size of the Facebook audience. With over 2.7 billion users, no other platform can offer brands the same reach for their ads. The shift we’ve seen in consumer behavior driven by the COVID19 pandemic has been dramatic. And with more people spending time online, it’s likely consumers have been more eager to engage with ads — making it easier for Facebook’s algorithm to serve more ads to its users.”

When looking at Facebook Ad Spend, North America saw a drop at the beginning of spring followed by a quick recovery with advertisers spending record levels. Socialbakers’ data show year-over-year Facebook ad spend during the holidays doubled as digital channels became a key tool for reaching audiences sheltering at home.

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“Year-over-year comparisons show ad spend has continued to climb into the first quarter of this year, indicating a strong confidence in digital advertising across regions,” said Ben-Itzhak.

Based on the past 12 months of ad spend and ads reach trends, the biggest takeaway for advertisers is that the digital marketing community is resilient and able to adapt to the most challenging circumstances. The digital transformation efforts that have taken hold over the last year — from in-app purchasing to the influx of businesses launching online buying options — will only bolster digital marketing tactics and deepen confidence in social ad spend.

In addition to Facebook Ad reach and Ad spend trends, Socialbakers analyzed sentiment trends toward vaccinations and found that Pfizer was the top healthcare brand worldwide when measuring Facebook interactions for posts related to the vaccine or virus. But when it came to sentiment, AstraZeneca was the brand that saw the most significant increase in negative sentiment over the same time period.

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