Facebook offers substantial reach, defined targeting, and engagement opportunities. That combination makes it a powerful tool to reach your audience. However, as with other mediums, there may be changes to how consumers feel about Facebook, so it’s important to keep an eye on what may or may not change in the future.
The fact is, there’s still a lot to like about Facebook. Ad revenue growth on the platform is ahead of even digital advertising as a whole for 2019, with an expected 19.1% increase in digital and a 20.6% increase on Facebook over the previous year. The scale and targeting abilities are the two primary benefits, and their algorithms to optimize for conversions put them ahead. Small, medium and large businesses all rely on Facebook’s ad targeting and buying options.
In 2020, it’s projected that Facebook users in the U.S. will increase by 1.4%. Middle-age and older people remain a stronghold, with 53% of the population 55+ using Facebook this year (an increase over the previous few years). The percentage of people aged 35-54 using Facebook decreased a bit from 2017 to 2018 but remained even from 2018 to 2019. It’s also interesting to note that mothers in the U.S. have remained strong in their support of Facebook, with 81% using the platform in 2019 (an increase of 2% over 2018).
Looking ahead to the coming years, consumer concerns and increasingly attuned advertisers make it clear that Facebook advertising will change. Here is how we expect various areas of Facebook ads to change over the next two years:
Yes, there may be changes to ad targeting. Facebook has already removed third-party data after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and reduced targeting options for housing, employment and credit advertisers, and we’ll be keeping an eye on any additional changes.
We also expect Facebook to find new ad opportunities for video in all forms and develop better ways to measure user’s attention to those ads. Stories ads (in Facebook and Instagram) are rising in popularity, but their percentage of spend is still quite low. If Facebook continues promoting them, and the tools to create & distribute the ads improve, this is an area that could see grow over the next few years.
While there has been some speculation that Facebook will become a one-stop shop for messaging, socializing and commerce (like WeChat in China), we don’t see the momentum for that in the U.S. (at least not by 2021). However, we do see potential for commerce ads to become more significant, brining shopping posts and content to new audiences that aren’t following an account.
In short, companies are remaining committed to advertising on Facebook, but are aware there may be changes to the targeting capabilities or audience. We’re here to keep tabs on Facebook’s ad performance and changes and can help develop a strategy to reach your goals.