By DeVry University
As marketers and their brands keep pace with the demands of increasingly sophisticated and mobile consumers, the digital marketing ecosystem continues evolving. In 2023, expect marketers to drive digital marketing trends as they find innovative ways to cultivate consumer loyalty, allow customers to interact with their brands in real or virtual worlds and make the shopping experience more convenient.
Digital marketing trends for 2023 include updates to familiar concepts and platforms like social commerce, SEO and influencer marketing. Others, like the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), involve technologies that, until very recently, sounded more like science fiction than reality. That’s just how quickly marketing trends are unfolding. Here are some that you’re likely to see in ’23.
1. TikTok and more TikTok
The rapid rise of TikTok has been nothing short of phenomenal. According to Statista, TikTok has reached 755 million users worldwide, and is projected to reach 955.3 million by 2025.
According to Social Media Today, we can expect live-stream shopping to become a bigger and more heavily promoted element on TikTok in 2023. Live-stream commerce is the key earner in the Chinese version of the app, so it makes sense that TikTok is likely to give this a strong push in other parts of the world. Western users aren’t necessarily as used to live-stream shopping in the way some Asian regions are, but TikTok is determined to make it work as a way to maximize revenue and provide another monetization opportunity for creators on the platform.
2. Continued Use of Chatbots
Using AI technology to provide automated, human-like messages to web visitors in real time, Chatbots are an implementation of the digital marketing subcategory of conversational marketing.
As chatbots become increasingly widespread, consumers are getting used to them, and may even prefer them for their 24-hour availability and ability to quickly answer simple questions, while businesses enjoy their cost-saving benefits.
According to Insider Intelligence, there is a promising future for chatbots:
- Key tech players within the chatbot industry, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been investing in the development of chatbot technologies for years and continue to work on major projects in this space.
- An increasing number of brands like Starbucks, British Airways and eBay continue to sing the praises of chatbots and support them for use in their own businesses.
- As this technology strains to keep pace with consumer expectations, the industry is building more human-like chatbots with the help of natural language processing (NLP), a branch of AI concerned with enabling computers to process human language and understand its full meaning, complete with the speaker or writer’s intent and sentiment.
3. Endurance of Email Marketing
The planned 2023-2024 discontinuation of third-party cookies helps puts email marketing among our digital marketing trends. Email addresses are essential first-party data. When you have permission to use someone’s email, you can upload that onto advertising platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This makes building and maintaining email marketing lists crucial in 2023.
One of the reasons email marketing endures is because of its strong return on investment: $36 for every dollar spent. Add to that its simplicity and advanced features like automation and integration with social media, and it’s easy to see why marketers continue to keep this workhorse in their digital marketing stable in 2023.
4. The Rise of Social Commerce
One of the biggest things in eCommerce has been the emergence of social commerce. Brands flocked to Instagram, YouTube and TikTok in recent years to offer shops that would offset decreasing sales in their traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The ability for customers to shop and pay without leaving social media platforms has created a seamless experience. It will come as no surprise then to see social commerce, or social shopping, continue to grow. In fact, according to an Accenture study, this growth will be three times faster than traditional ecommerce, reaching $1.2 trillion by 2025.
5. Streamlined Mobile Commerce
Mobile devices continue to play a significant role in the consumer’s purchasing cycle, motivating online marketers to make the process more user-friendly and profitable. Online marketers understand the crucial step of making their websites responsive so they look good and function well on mobile devices. In 2023, look for online marketers to continue making changes that are intended to make the checkout process easier, with fewer distractions.
Another reason mobile commerce earns a place among digital marketing trends for 2023 is that Amazon recently launched its own online payment processing service, called Amazon Pay, and Google has revamped its Google Pay app for Android and iOS users to help make their customer’s shopping experience easy wherever they go.
6. More Amazon Ads
When the subject is online ads, Facebook and Google come to mind. But with more than 200 million Prime customers worldwide, Amazon is becoming a place for e-commerce brands that want to expand their reach. Amazon’s ad platform can target consumers based on purchase intent because search queries on Amazon are likely to come from users who are actively looking to buy. Four of Amazon’s most popular ad products are:
- Sponsored Products: Self-service, cost-per-click (CPC)-based ads for individual product listings that appear in shopping results and on product detail pages.
- Sponsored Brands: Self-service, CPC-based ads for brands that appear in shopping results and feature a custom headline, brand logo and multiple products.
- Sponsored Display: Display ads that use automatically generated ad creatives from relevant Amazon shopping interests.
- Stores: Free, multi-page brand destinations that feature a product portfolio and help brands tell their stories.
7. Changes to Google Ads
Google has announced that starting in 2023 it will make several changes to its popular advertising platform while stepping up to meet people’s expectations for privacy. This will include more powerful automated solutions related to audience segments. A new feature called audience insights will help advertisers learn more about their customers’ interests and how they engage with their ads, enabling them to connect with consumers in more meaningful ways.
8. New Facebook Ad Tactics
According to Social Media Today, Facebook parent company Meta will be looking into the growth of messaging on the platform as a potential revenue opportunity, and will rebuild its ad tools to reduce reliance on user data collection due to Apple’s iOS 14 privacy updates. Meta’s main solution to this is its Advantage+ ad suite, which cuts out all the targeting and asks advertisers to set budgets and date ranges, upload their creative and let Meta’s algorithms do the rest.
9. Improved Instagram Features
Instagram, which remains one of the most popular social media platforms, has projected growth to 1.44 billion monthly active users by 2025, according to Statista.
According to Graphic Design Junction, Instagram marketing trends in 2023 include:
- Live Rooms: Now up to four people can host a live room together, something that may be useful to brands hosting webinars or organizing events with marketing partners.
- Longer Stories: Instagram may increase video lengths from 15 to 60 seconds. This may not sound like a big deal but eliminating the need to break up longer content into 15-second segments would enhance the user experience.
- Doubling Down on AR: The platform has been developing an Augmented Reality shopping feature that could be used to launch AR ad campaigns to make advertising and selling on Instagram more interactive than before.
10. A New YouTube Ad Strategy
YouTube’s worldwide advertising revenues totaled $7.07 billion in the third quarter of 2022, according to Statista.
Look for the platform to implement new strategies in 2023 to try and push ahead of TikTok. According to Search Engine Journal, creators in the YouTube Partner Program will be eligible to monetize Shorts videos starting in early 2023, allowing them to make money on ads that run between videos in the Shorts feed. A new revenue-sharing model is structured to provide an incentive for the community to support Shorts and, according to YouTube, is built for long-term sustainability.
11. A Focus on Influencer Marketing
According to influencer marketing agency InfluGlue, top influencer marketing trends to watch in 2023 focus on long-term influencer partnerships, video content and authenticity:
- Long-Term Partnerships: Long-term relationships allow influencers to learn more about the brands they’re associating with. Influencers also have more time to cultivate unique ideas that will appeal to the brand and their audience.
- Video Content and Live Streaming: When blended with influencer advertising, live streaming allows prospective buyers to engage with influencers who are familiar with, and talk about, products.
- Nano and Micro-Influencers: Having smaller social media presence than the typical celebrity influencer, this group is expected to come on strong in 2023. With audiences of up to 100,000 followers, these influencers can provide more consistent engagement and tend to communicate more as a confidant or a friend, making them an intriguing option.
12. Ever-Increasing Digital Gig Economy
The emergence of online services and apps like Airbnb, Postmates and many more have offered new ways of working outside the traditional 9-to-5 job in recent years, and this is likely to continue as a marketing trend in 2023.
According to the MBO Partners’ State of Independence in America report, the overall number of independent, or gig workers in the United States grew sharply in 2021, to 51.1 million, an increase of 34% over the previous year, and 87% full-time independent workers report they are happier working independently.
According to Brodmin.com, the value of the global gig economy is expected to reach $455 billion in 2023, and the number of freelancers in the United States is expected to reach 86 million by 2027.
The HR tech platform Picked makes the following gig economy predictions for 2023:
- Gig workers are expected to be better educated and have higher incomes. While currently dominated by the transportation and asset-sharing sector (Uber and Airbnb, for example), businesses are understanding how to tap into this external workforce and will look for workers with high-level skills in 2023.
- The gig economy will become more globalized. The biggest market is the United States, with 36% of U.S. workers participating, followed by the EU and India. For recruiters and their HR departments, the opportunity to bring the right workers onboard at the right price will expand almost exponentially through globalization.
- Gig workers will become more independent, and gain more control over their work. Having more in-demand skills and experience will give the freelancer the ability to choose their clients more selectively.
- Innovation and technology is expected to drive the gig economy forward. The diverse range of gig work that is available through online sources is one of the main drivers behind the gig economy’s growth and technological advances will propel this growth even further.
13. Advanced AI Optimization
Over the last decade or so, artificial intelligence (AI) has become embedded in many different aspects of our lives. Without it, chatbots, voice search and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa would not be possible. Many expect this digital marketing trend to be a strong one in 2023. As AI is employed in planning and forecasting, human augmentation, mapping processes and more, spending is expected to top $500 billion in 2023, according to IDC research.
Here are a few ways AI is influencing the digital marketing experience:
- Providing Real-Time Insights: Using AI, marketers will have richer insight into their data when devising or modifying marketing strategies.
- Improving User Experience: Real-time insights gained from AI tools and applications enable brands to better predict consumers’ demands and create highly customized user experiences.
- Automating Campaign Optimization: Programmatic advertising can automate the manual tasks of creating ads and optimize them to improve ROI.
- Content Creation and Curation: AI can be used to author content without human input for applications that range from business reports to product reviews, stock market reports and sports recaps.
14. Increased SMS Marketing
Living at the confluence of eCommerce, social commerce and mobile commerce, SMS is an informal and highly accepted method of keeping in touch with customers.
Look for SMS to grow as a customer experience channel in 2023 due to the many customer service functions that it can perform, including:
- Payment confirmations and order receipts
- Delivery tracking information
- Appointment reminders and confirmations
- Getting feedback on products and services
15. Expansion of Metaverse Marketing
Simply defined, the metaverse is a network of virtual 3D worlds that people can connect to through Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Minecraft, Roblox, Pokémon, and Fortnite are well-known gaming platforms already operating in this area. While the metaverse has existed in some form or another for a few years, consumers weren’t familiar with it until October 2021, when Facebook changed its parent company’s name to Meta.
As a digital marketing channel, the metaverse is relatively new, but brands are beginning to use it to engage with the youngest generation of consumers. Roblox, for example, hosted Gucci Garden, a virtual place where visitors could try on and buy Gucci products for their avatars. Will large numbers of consumers be clamoring to dress their avatars in 2023? We’ll find out.
16. The Evolution of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) remains crucial to marketers, and as Google continues to refine its platform, marketers will need to increase their emphasis on content marketing to keep pace. High quality content is still king, but fundamentals like keeping sites mobile-friendly and loading quickly to maintain positive user experience will be more important than ever.
SEO trends for 2023 include:
- Answering Complex Search Queries: Google will use an AI model called MUM (Multitask Unified Model) to help understand abstract languages and intentions to help users find more information faster, with fewer separate search queries.
- Focus on Core Web Vitals: Launched by Google in 2020, core web vitals are metrics that measure how quickly all the bits of content load, how quickly the site processes user interactions and how many layout shifts a site makes without user interaction. Sites with core vitals that stack up well may be more likely to deliver better search results.
- Analytics: With the introduction of Google Analytics 4, Google aimed to help marketers get better ROI from their long-term marketing through better understanding of their data. Key updates included better integration with Google Ads, granular data controls, machine learning, customer-focused data measurement and privacy.
- Blogging: Blogs will continue to be an important SEO tactic in 2023 because of the increasing importance of high quality, original content in organic search results. Marketers may look to expand their use of blogging with the availability of AI tools that make content creation faster and easier, and through better planning.
17. The End of Cookies
Wrapping up our list of digital marketing trends is the discontinuation of the third-party cookie. It may have been pushed to 2023, but this cookie will crumble over consumer privacy concerns.
More specifically, consumers have been concerned about their online activities being tracked without their knowledge or consent and about what brands were doing with their data, known as personally identifiable information (PII).
According to GetApp’s 2022 Privacy-Focused Consumers Survey, 68% of consumers say they want more control over how companies collect and use their information, and 84% say the way a company treats their data reflects upon how they will be treated as customers. 82% have stopped doing business with a company because they disapprove of its data practices.
Google is taking a privacy-preserving API (Application Programming Interface) approach in response to this concern, so advertisers using Google will have to find alternative ways to identify and target consumers, such as a first party data collection via email or other means.
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