Market Trends

2020 vision: social ad trends to pay attention to this year

Written by
20 Jan, 2020

Seeing success with your digital advertising means keeping up with the pace of change in ad features, tools, and trends to stay ahead of the curve.

Having new ways to reach customers through digital advertising is exciting, but keeping up with it all can also be overwhelming. To help you out and get you started with clear vision in 2020, here are some of the major social ad formats and trends—from social commerce to AR to machine learning and beyond—that advertisers should pay attention to in the coming year. 


Dynamic Ads

woman holding smartphoneThis revolutionary ad product based in machine learning lets you promote thousands of products using a single template. They’re great for reaching customers and generating conversions faster, more efficiently, and at greater scale. In 2019, Facebook introduced Dynamic Ads for Retail to better serve advertisers in that vertical. This ad format will continue to be a powerful option for advertisers on Facebook and Instagram into 2020 and beyond. 

Facebook Pay

We already wrote a whole article on this, but we think Facebook Pay is worth mentioning again here. The launch of a payment system within Facebook’s family of apps is yet another step into the social commerce space, closing the loop for people shopping on social. And as far as advertising goes, letting people pay directly on social networks has some major—and promising—implications for ad targeting. 


Gen Z friendsWe know that groups have been a focus for Facebook, with the platform introducing more and more groups-focused features, not least of all the groups tab for users to check up on the conversations happening in the communities they’re part of. At F8 2019, Mark Zuckerberg stated that groups are at the heart of the Facebook experience. Today, there are more than 10 million of them on Facebook, used by 1.4 billion people.

Why does it matter for advertisers? First, communities of users with shared interests can offer a good opportunity for building an audience. Second, Facebook has started testing ads in the groups tab, which could be a great way for advertisers to reach the right people. 

Click to Messenger ads

FB messengerClick to Messenger ads have been around for a while, but Facebook has expanded on them. Most recently, Click to Messenger ads have become available to use with Stories ads. As advertising experiences become more personalized, having more opportunities to have one-to-one conversations with customers can be an asset to advertisers. 



While Instagram Checkout isn’t available for ads just yet, they are a game changer for retail and e-commerce businesses on the platform. Still limited to certain brands for now, Checkout lets users purchase the items they discover on Instagram directly in the app, offering a truly seamless shopping experience. This, along with the Product Tags that were already available on the network, is positioning Instagram as an essential social shopping platform as we enter a new decade.

stories ad 1

Stories ads

We recently shared a couple of blog posts on how to ace your Stories ads creatives, because we’ve seen how effective this ad format can be in connecting brands with their audiences. Stories are unique in their vertical format that makes the most of the screen, delivering a visual experience that feels very personal. At the end of last year, Instagram reported it was experimenting with an increased ad load in Stories, so it’s safe to say this format will continue to be important going into 2020.


Video ads

Twitter has reported that video is their fastest growing advertising tool, with some 67% YoY growth. Not surprising, given how effective video can be: Promoted Tweets with videos save upwards of 50% on cost per engagement. To give advertisers more flexibility with their video ads, Twitter introduced a new bidding option in 2019. If you’re not already using video ads on Twitter, 2020 could be a good year to test them out! 


Augmented reality

Screenshot 2020-01-17 at 17.37.14Snapchat has long been a leader when it comes to AR on social. In late 2019, it reported that daily active users of the platform interact with AR features nearly 30 times each day. And signs point to Snapchat building up their AR capabilities: in January 2020, they acquired AI Factory, the creator of their Cameos feature. Snapchat’s continuing AR innovations will be interesting for brands to pay attention to. 

Dynamic ads

In October 2019, Snapchat began testing Dynamic Ads in beta. This format that automatically generates ads from a product catalog has been a hit with advertisers on Facebook and Instagram, and is sure to be an attractive tool on Snapchat as well. It could be an easy way for retail and e-commerce advertisers to reach a younger audience, since Gen Z and Millennials are particularly active on the network. 


Shop the Look ads

Pinterest is emerging as a strong platform for social commerce. Shop the Look Pins let users shop directly from the pins on their or their friends’ boards and purchase those items in just a few clicks. In 2019, Pinterest introduced Shop the Look ads, letting users browse and purchase multiple products from a single ad and creating an increasingly frictionless shopping experience. 

pinterest shop the look animated

Visual search

Launched in 2019, visual search on Pinterest lets users find items on the platform using their smartphone camera. If someone sees someone else carrying the perfect handbag, Pinterest visual search can give her the exact model and tell her where to purchase it. While it’s not an ad format, visual search is a great tool for brands to connect their products to shoppers.

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About Kat Peake Kat is the Content Marketing Manager here at MakeMeReach. She keeps her finger on the pulse to bring our readers the latest news about our platform's solutions and online ad tech.

All posts by Kat Peake