The 2021 creative forecast


Explore five creative behaviours driven by cultural shifts in 2020 that will continue to shape campaigns for years to come.


Extraordinary influences – from activism to a global pandemic – changed culture in profound ways in 2020, and these changes shaped the creative climate. People pushed brands to become more culturally aware, more personal and more participatory. In response, marketers took bold creative leaps.

While 2020 was unique, it marked an inflection point with lasting implications. To pinpoint key creative trends for the future driven by last year’s cultural shifts, Facebook’s Creative Shop reviewed 100 campaigns from around the globe that broke through on our platforms. This high-performing creative was selected based on many factors, chief being business impact.

The analysis identified five ascendent behaviours that will continue to shape creative. Below, we briefly cover these, looking at the underlying cultural shifts, examples from standout brands and creative springboards for your campaigns. In our full report, The creative forecast, we explore the business impact of each trend and delve deeper into how you leverage these behaviours to break through in the future.


1.Build inclusively


In 2020, there was a social awakening across the world. People rose up and spoke up, clamouring for a world that respects, celebrates and sees everyone. Brands broke through by building inclusive creative that reflected and depicted their audiences in representative and insightful ways.


2.Create edutainment


The global pandemic forced people to embrace new ways of getting information in 2020, and brands that excelled earned attention by reimagining learning. Importantly, they did so not by lecturing audiences, but by building edutainment experiences that didn’t feel like a chore.


3.Sell with ideas


With many in-person interactions limited in 2020, social feeds became always-on engines for serendipitously discovering new ideas and interests. And people weren’t just scanning, they were taking action. Brands that thrived understood this dynamic and made themselves discoverable by using ideas not only to stand out, but to close the sale.


4.Speak platform language


People shifted to expressing and connecting online in 2020, leading to an explosion of creativity that often coloured outside the lines and left the traditional polish behind. Brands that turned heads and won hearts did the same, speaking the language of digital platforms through approaches such as lo-fi production and creator content.


5.Reward self-discovery


As entertainment and curiosity moved increasingly online in 2020, people jumped down the digital rabbit hole and loved where it went. Creative that connected deeply fed this desire for digital exploration and delivered experiences that let people actively explore at their own pace.


Creating for the future


When looking to harness these five behaviours, bear in mind that they’re rooted in people. The trends may have been catalysed by the unique circumstances of 2020, but the changes to people’s relationships with and expectations of brands are here to stay. By bearing the underlying shifts in people’s behaviours in mind – and by remembering how culture changed creativity in 2020 – you can effectively leverage these behaviours in your creative for years to come.