The new year is upon us, and with it, a host of changes to the digital marketing landscape. Knowing what to expect in the new year will help you beat out the competition. So we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2023.
1. The Rise of SMS
Apple’s iOS 15 update put privacy control into the hands of consumers and raised several red flags for marketers. Features like “Hide My Email” and “Private Relay,” among others, will wind up hurting email deliverability and success metrics tied to open rates and email conversions.
This caused SMS to gain more traction.
Not only is it unaffected by the constraints Apple has placed on email, but product messaging is placed directly into consumers’ text messaging inboxes.
Since Americans are more likely to send texts than emails throughout the day, your message is more likely to be seen.
2. How MarTech Is Closing The Gap In Attribution Data
Big tech has been causing some significant problems for marketers over the past few years. Apple struck a major blow in 2021 with the release of iOS 14.5 and iOS 15, and Google is still mulling over when it will use the ban hammer on data cookies.
In the meantime, new tools are emerging that marketers can use to get better attribution data. Triple Whale is one of the most prominent emerging MarTech companies; the e-commerce platform launched back in mid-2021 and has provided marketers with tools to gain the vital data they need.
With the introduction of the “triple pixel,” Triple Whale helps brands effectively bypass Apple’s walled garden of user data.
Thanks to Triple Whale, brands no longer have to rely on attribution data provided by social media platforms. Instead, brands can now use first-party data gathered by Triple Whale to track conversions back to their original point of contact.
3. The Google MUM Paradigm Shift
Last year, Google unveiled its plans to completely overhaul the way searches are performed.
In the search engine’s current state, users might have to complete multiple searches with various queries to uncover the information they need to understand complex subjects.
Google hopes to streamline this process with MUM—also known as the Multitask Unified Model—and provide a search experience that guides users to all the information they need in a single search.
MUM will use ai-powered algorithms to provide users with all the information they need regarding a specific inquiry—from background information about a topic to a product or service that best suits their needs.
So if a user searches “what is email marketing,” not only would they get information about what email marketing is, but they would also learn what makes an effective email marketing strategy while being introduced to an agency that provides email marketing services.
Once this paradigm shift takes hold, SEO leaders must focus on delivering holistic content that leads users from educational resources about a topic to a sales pitch for a service.
4. Video Content Maintains Its Prominence
Video is playing a more prominent role in marketing than ever before.
Video content has been gaining prominence for several years, but the medium exploded after TikTok broke onto the scene in 2020.
Instagram followed suit by launching Instagram reels the same year. Even Twitter, which is known for its short-form text, has shown that video content increases engagement tenfold.
Instagram Reels and TikTok are continually growing in popularity within digital marketing strategies.
The most significant advantage these mediums provide is that users don’t have to be followers for your videos to wind up in their feeds.
To be successful in 2023, companies need to find creative and unique ways to incorporate video into their marketing strategies.
More viewers = more potential customers. So get engaging video content out there, stat.
5. Story-Driven Content Is Still Key
This should be ingrained in the minds of every brand’s marketing leadership. Stories are the key to improved sales. It’s marketing 101, and it’s a fact that isn’t going to change any time soon.
Regardless of your industry, the most powerful marketing strategy you can have is to create a compelling brand or product story. If you’re an outdoor retailer, you don’t sell the idea of buying tents, trekking poles, and hiking gear; you sell the story of going on an adventure.
Think of all the different car ads you see on tv. The advertisements prominently feature cars driving open roads or rough terrain; they’re selling you the story of freedom that the car provides.
This idea encompasses everything from your creative content to your copywriting. As we enter 2023, make sure you build a cohesive brand narrative and build your marketing campaigns around it. Sell the story.
6. Expect More Branded Audio Content
Audio is making a comeback.
There are two critical facets of audio marketing that we need to take a look at: Podcasts and Twitter Spaces.
Podcasts are rapidly becoming an American pastime.
According to Senior Vice President of Eddison Research Tom Webster, 56% of Americans aged 12-34 listen to podcasts at least once a month. Webster also stated that research shows nearly 30% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a week.
That means you could reach almost 100 million Americans by partnering with podcasters.
Twitter Spaces has been around for a while, but it started gaining more popularity in late 2021.
Why are spaces relevant?
Because they provide you with the unique opportunity to connect and converse directly with your audience on Twitter.
Instead of sending tweets into the void for your followers to find, you get to deliver your message directly to them.
Brands should expect these mediums to continue growing in popularity throughout 2023.
7. The Marketing Skill Shortage Is Intensifying
While most of the digital marketing trends listed in this article deal with new marketing methods that are gaining traction within the industry, the talent shortage is a worrying phenomenon that merits a mention.
Since the start of 2021, employees have been quitting en masse in what’s known as “the great resignation.” By the end of the year, nearly 1 in 7 Americans had left their jobs. Some left for new jobs, others changed career paths entirely, and some decided they needed a break from work and to reevaluate their lifestyle choices. Whatever the reason, these resignations caused the employee attrition rate to skyrocket. And contrary to what older generations speculated, the trend of quitting has not slowed down. And the marketing industry is starting to see the results of this trend.
As more employees begin changing careers and freelancing, brands and agencies alike are having trouble keeping the marketing experts they need in-house. MarTech skills are especially in demand as executives seek data that justifies their marketing efforts. And unless an influx of data analysts floods the labor market, companies will wind up paying exorbitant prices to keep these skills in house. Or they’ll simply have to do without.
8. Social Commerce Boom
Remember when we mentioned omni-channel experiences and marketing earlier? Social commerce is the other half of this growing digital marketing trend.
This trend runs parallel with your social media marketing strategy. But instead of inviting users to go to your website and shop, you allow them to shop on the social media app.
Social commerce tools allow you to drive revenue directly from your social media posts.
You tag the items in your social media content with a link to your in-app shopping page.
Social commerce allows users to seamlessly transition from consuming content to purchasing products without ever having to leave the app. And the fewer clicks that stand between a user and a purchase, the better.
Why? Because the easier it is for audiences to purchase your products, the more likely they are to do so.
One thing for smaller businesses to note is that some platforms charge fees for selling in the app. Meta charges a flat 5% fee per shipment. On the other hand, a platform like Pinterest does not. So when choosing where to sell, keep in mind that you could hurt your profit margins.
9. Focus On Mobile Experience
Over the last decade, the share of searches being performed on mobile devices has been slowly increasing. And there are no signs that this digital marketing trend will end anytime soon.
According to research expert Joseph Johnson, almost 50% of searches are on mobile devices.
Since mobile devices continue to gain prominence, businesses must ensure that they optimize their websites for mobile users.
A seamless user experience is the key to conversions.
If it’s difficult for potential customers to make purchases, they’ll start looking at your competitors.
10. Retiring the Sales Funnel
Companies are changing how they view their customers.
And that change has largely left the traditional sales funnel obsolete.
In a sales funnel mindset, marketers and salespeople focus on turning their audiences into customers. The journey ends at conversion, and has nowhere to go from there.
Brands must focus on turning audiences into brand ambassadors.
This is a digital marketing trend we’ve already seen take off, even if companies haven’t realized it. Brands are directly profiting from good word-of-mouth whenever their customers create user-generated content.
So even though most companies still use the sales funnel, the underlying philosophy behind the brand-customer relationship has already changed.
It’s time for companies to adopt a marketing model that matches this philosophy, and the “sales flywheel” matches this philosophy perfectly.
In the sales flywheel, you attract an audience with engaging content.
Then you position your messages to elicit buy-in.
Once they’ve become customers, you continue providing value to them to turn them into brand ambassadors.
This mindset is all about generating word-of-mouth referrals and views the customers as the most impactful drivers of growth.
Considering that most people trust their peers more than they trust brands, getting customers to advocate for your brand is a must-have in your 2023 digital marketing strategy.
11. Influencer Marketing
Influencers have quickly become a vital component of a sound digital marketing strategy.
It would even be fair to say that influencers have permanently changed how we view marketing.
Because according to Businesswire, 61% of consumers trust influencers’ product recommendations. And according to Shopify, the average company is making $5 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
That’s a pretty good return on investment.
Influencers aren’t a digital marketing trend that is going to disappear anytime soon, but you need a sound strategy when choosing influencers to partner with. If a partnership seems tactless or forced, you’re likely going to alienate more consumers than you convert. But if you can create a genuine relationship with an influencer and collaborate on ways to make the promotion seem natural, you should have no issue getting conversions.
Expect to see Micro and Nano influencers to continue gaining prominence throughout 2023.
12. Transitioning from Facebook to Meta
The jury is still out on how Facebook’s rebrand to Meta will pan out. While, on the one hand, the company is touting its “metaverse” as the next phase of social media, the change happened to occur when intense controversy struck.
One change that marketers will need to adjust for is the removal of thousands of targeting categories across its social media platforms. The change took place early in 2022, and removed what the company deems to be sensitive categories that deal with politics, religion, and social issues.
How the company’s “metaverse” will affect marketing long-term is still unknown. But as brands position themselves for the transition away from traditional social media to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) social media, it’s worth turning on Google alerts to keep up with the latest Metaverse news.
13. Marketing in the Metaverse
We could write an entire series of super articles on the various aspects of the metaverse.
For now, we’ll stick with the basics.
First things first.
Contrary to how Meta positions itself, they are not the only metaverse on the market.
Meta is just catching up with this digital marketing trend.
And if we’re being frank, they’re having a hard time getting it right. The social media giant has dumped tens of billions into the project over the last few years and has very little to show for it.
Meanwhile, fully functioning metaverses are already available and being widely used; and the most prominent one isn’t even connected to traditional social media.
Fortnite, a game that came out to little fanfare in 2017, has become the internet’s most popular metaverse. While you won’t see any avatars sitting and doing office work on Fortnite (sorry Zuck), you will find every manner of event and crossover happening.
With collaborations from fashion brands like Air Jordan, and Moncler to partnerships with sporting organizations like UEFA, NFL, and the NBA to even performers like Ariana Grande and Marshmello. Star Wars, Marvel, Rick & Morty, The Walking Dead; there are so many collaborations it’s impossible to keep track of them.
While the game gained popularity as an FPS battle royale game, it has become a venue for “live” concerts, a place where you can watch tv shows with friends, and more.
The metaverse is here. It just doesn’t look like Mark Zuckerberg described.
14. NFTs Are Flopping, And Likely Won’t See Widespread Digital Marketing Adoption
Before we jump into this, let’s go over what NFTs actually are.
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are essentially unique digital items on the Ethereum blockchain that can be bought, sold, or traded.
When people receive an NFT, they become the “owner” of that digital item.
Since there can only be one owner of an NFT, and each NFT is one-of-a-kind, there is inherent consumer value in NFTs that is worth exploring.
If you had asked us last year, we would have said that NFTs were going to revolutionize brand marketing. And it would have appeared like we were right during the first part of the year! But NFTs, much like crypto, have been crashing over the last few months. And while cryptocurrencies might be able to make a comeback, it seems like the NFT craze has died off.
The space has also been embroiled in controversy. In early December 2022, Yuga Labs—the company behind the Board Ape Yacht Club NFT collection—was named alongside several prominent celebrities including Justin Beiber, Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, and more as defendants in a class action lawsuit alleging that Yuga Labs hired the celebrities to artificially inflate the price of their NFTS. And as fate would have it, those same NFTs that were trading for millions of dollars each once celebrities endorsed them, are now worth a fraction of that initial cost.
The NFT world is murky at best, and the questionable value is bound to have brands and marketers alike wondering if the juice is really worth the squeeze.
15. Follow The MER
If there’s a section of this list of digital marketing trends to remember, it’s this one.
Your digital marketing strategy can implement many new technologies, tools, and channels, but you must take a measured approach.
Going all-in on a new strategy without testing the waters first is a fool’s errand.
Mastering your existing techniques while incrementally expanding into new areas will ensure that you don’t waste your marketing budget frivolously.
After all, an increase in revenue is the most important digital marketing trend for your company to follow in 2023.