Possibly more than any year since 2017, 2020 will represent massive change to digital marketing because there’s an American election happening, there’s mounting pressure on available space on Facebook for ads and new focus on the quality of your ads if you want to cut through the noise.

Expect a Trump-slump

Never underestimate the power of an election in another county to have far-reaching impacts on marketing in Australia. With the rise of more extremist candidates in all western countries, the ads platforms have had to respond to ensure that no one candidate or party has any advantage over any other by virtue of what’s available to them on those platforms. Twitter and Google have basically banned political ads in the lead up to the 2020 Presidential Election in the USA. Facebook & it’s stablemate, Instagram haven’t made any changes as yet, but are under mounting pressure to do something. And anyone else is not really in the race. This has placed some pressure on the cost of reaching people in America; not really a massive deal to a local florist in Bundaberg, but to an exporter of homewares in Cowra, this could mean reduced reach and results for the ads they’re placing in the US in 2020.

Facebook ad costs continue to rise

As the ad network that is second only to Google, Facebook is where most regional Aussie small businesses will be carrying out their DIY ads and boosted posts. After all, it’s still where we spend more time collectively than any other network. But as Gary Vaynerchuk has been warning us about since 2011, the big brands and big ad agencies came flooding on to the Facebook Ads platform in 2019. And that won’t slow down in 2020 as both the agencies and their massive corporate clients start seeing the results of their branding efforts come home to roost. This has two effects; first, it has meant that the flow of money into traditional media has slowed considerably. This is evident in the mass redundancies at Australia’s biggest TV and radio network, Southern Cross Austereo. Expect to see the other major TV, radio and press holdings continue that sad trend in 2020. But the second effect is what is going to affect you most. The cost of getting your message out on the Facebook and Instagram network has increased steadily over 2019. And it will continue to do so in 2020. This will mostly affect reach, brand awareness and traffic ads, as they are the easiest for large companies to enact and measure… and much easier for agencies to report on as the metrics bear some resemblance to what they already report back to clients for more traditional media. The arrival of millions of extra dollars in to Facebook from these larger buyers means that there’s less space for our $20 boosted posts and $100 a month branding ads. The silver lining to this dark cloud is that the lion’s share of those millions are being flooded in to metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. And while some of it trickles down to larger regional centres like the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Geelong, Wollongong, Newcastle, Canberra, Mandurah and Hobart, most of regional Australia won’t notice much of a difference. As we get further in to 2020 though, some of the more mid-range Aussie brands will start to look for new opportunities and begin looking at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Darwin, Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Launceston, Ballarat, Bendigo, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Mackay and Rockhampton.

The importance of quality creative

And lastly, quality of ads is going to become a very defining factor in how far your ad spend goes. As we just looked at, the arrival of the big brands and big ad agencies in to the Facebook ads platform has also meant that the quality of the ads appearing has increased noticeably. More creative, more fun, more eye-catching and higher-converting ads from these guys are going to push out poorly written and hastily-executed ads from small town sole traders and family businesses. This isn’t a reason to panic though. There are a tonne of tools that give you the same edge that creative agencies have. From Canva, Stencil and Adobe Spark for graphics to InVideo, Lumen5 and a swag of mobile-based video tools with it comes to motion and video ads, you can mix it with the big end of town. Just do some research in to what is working best when it comes to online ads. Or reach out and message me through our Facebook page and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Get ready!

2020 is going to be a year of big change in marketing as Facebook faces challenges with its limited ad inventory, LinkedIn begins to emerge as a new advertising platform of value, Google continues to get busier and busier and we stare down the barrel of a US election and the need to up the ante when it comes to the quality of what we’re putting out there about our businesses.