By: Brooklyn Wilson (@brookwilson97)

By now, the use of social media for promotion is nothing new to marketers or PR professionals. In fact, it is no longer used as a supplemental tactic to these efforts, but rather it’s a necessary tool and has become the main platform for audience communication. Although the idea of social media isn’t new, it is constantly evolving and changing in response to culture, society, business needs, users’ desires and more. 

Not only is social media as a whole changing, but Facebook seems to have new updates and features every year. More specifically, the Facebook ad platform has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. This tool is not only being used by advertising or marketing professionals but because many PR professionals are responsible for managing organizations’ social media pages, it’s an important tool for them to take advantage of. 

So, to help PR professionals become more Facebook savvy and enable them to optimize their use of the platform, here are the top 10 Facebook ad trends coming in 2020. 

  1. Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO)

Campaign budget optimization is a way of optimizing the distribution of a campaign budget across your campaign’s ad sets. By September of 2020, Facebook mandates that everything will move over to CBO. This means the ad set will live under the campaign in a way where you can’t really control the budget. Instead, Facebook will automatically reallocate budget without human intervention to the most efficient Consumer Acquisition where it will perform best. The best way to get ahead of this is to continue testing – test campaigns with many ad sets vs. few, auto vs. manual bids, minimum and maximum budgets by ad set, etc.

  1. Increasing CPMs

Cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) are steadily increasing each year. On Facebook, the CPMs have increased by an average of 51% over the past 14 months, according to data from AdStage. This means advertisers must convert a higher percentage of impressions in order to succeed with similar acquisition costs. They also must improve ad copy, videos, and images, be more creative with targeting and continually optimize landing pages to improve conversion rates. 

  1. Rules

Through Facebook, you can create a rule that makes changes to your campaign, ad set or ad automatically, or sends an alert when your campaign, ad set or ad meets the rule’s conditions. The usage of these rules can be an efficient way to cut back inefficient spend or take advantage of strong performance. More features are now available on rules than when they first came out, and that will continue to grow. However, it’s a careful balance to set the right parameters to ensure optimal functionality; don’t underdo it or overdo it. 

  1. Ad Creation Automation

As of 2017, there are over 4 million active Facebook advertisers worldwide. Facebook is now offering automated videos and slideshow creation based on existing assets to make ad creation even easier. This trend will continue to improve further with more advanced capabilities on both fronts. A similar tool, Lumen5, is already a step ahead of this. 

  1. Rise of Facebook Strategists

Facebook continues to expand its ad strategy support team as more companies join the platform, giving Facebook a more hands-on role to advise on operations. While some may benefit from this, it has made it difficult for ad agencies to separately advise clients on best practices. Take caution when taking advice from their strategists as it is usually not as tailored to an account’s specific needs; make sure you’re testing everything on your own and trust your own experience. 

  1. Facebook Replacing Agencies

Over the past 5 years, the Digital Advertising Agencies industry has grown by 16.8% to reach revenue of $17 billion in 2019. As Facebook seeks to grow net income, they have started pitching themselves to companies to be their in-house agency in an effort to phase out the other agencies. They’re staffing up on strategists and in-house creative capabilities to attack both of the core services offered by agencies. 

  1. WhatsApp Placements

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February 2014 and announced in August 2018 that it had plans to roll out WhatsApp ads in the app’s status feature in 2019, but a specific launch date hasn’t been given. Facebook Messenger placements took shape in 2018, which paves the way for WhatsApp to come next. Facebook’s Click-to-WhatsApp ads offer marketers and advertisers a way to start a conversation with consumers on its encrypted messaging app, making it a great resource to build relationships with audiences and create a more personalized experience for them.  

  1. Facebook Analytics

In the past, you were able to create custom audiences and look-alikes off of purchasers, adds to cart, and things of that nature. Now you can create more advanced lookalikes off age segments, devices, locations, even people who Googled your site and came through the search engine to buy your product after seeing your ads. The ability to use Facebook Analytics to create custom audiences and lookalikes is probably one of the most valuable things you can do with Facebook Analytics right now. You can also learn deep insights relating to the user journey, cross-device activity, stacked audience insights, as well as edit ad budget and schedules. You can expect more widespread integration with Ads Manager in 2020. 

  1. The New Facebook

Facebook is quietly starting to move toward prioritizing private messaging, local events, stories, etc. you may have noticed things like stories are at the top and contacts are right at the side. Stories especially will become a much larger percentage of your admix because your core audience on Facebook now is going to be using stories more. 

  1. In-App Purchases

Although we haven’t seen this too much on the ad platform, there are some organic pages right now that you can check out and purchase items directly on Instagram without having to go to the site, which is obviously great for conversion rate. However, you really need to make sure that you’re a trustworthy brand by looking at your organic presence, Google search results, and other indicators to ensure success with this.

Keep these trends in mind as you’re developing Facebook campaigns and using the platform to promote your organization. Even if your campaign is doing well right now, because Facebook and its algorithms are constantly changing, the success of your campaign could change within a very short period of time. To get ahead of these trends and truly optimize your use of the platform, start testing now and find what works and what doesn’t; by the year 2020, you will be steps ahead of the competition and able to start strategizing for the following year.


Brooklyn Wilson is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying advertising and public relations, with a minor in business. She is an active member of the GVSU PRSSA chapter and GrandPR, the student-run PR firm at Grand Valley. Her passion for communication and relationship building, in addition to writing, led her to the PR field. In her free time, you can find Brooklyn watching countless episodes of Fixer Upper and spending time outdoors.