2023 Digital Trends & Predictions

Artificial Intelligence
Copywriting

In preparation for the New Year and what’s to come, our experts talk about upcoming trends and their predictions for marketing in 2023. From content to AR and VR capabilities, we break down our top 6 trends to watch as you finalise your marketing strategy for the upcoming year. 

 

#1 PERSONALISATION WITH AI

Personalisation is becoming an increasingly essential part of marketing activity, but this goes much further than the simple ‘Hi, name’, especially with the surge in AI-enabled data. This evolution in data insights means marketers have no excuse for not embracing highly personalised communication strategies. 

But is it enough to simply ‘be personalised’? Our ability to lean into customer-centric marketing hinges on our understanding of human behaviour and the drivers and motivations of our audiences. Brands must take a more proactive approach to data collection, CRM and intelligent chatbots to create the personalised, responsive experiences consumers demand. 

“The key for brands is going to be understanding their audience and the varying customer journeys enough to know HOW to make the most out of personalisation, layering in nudge theory is one of my favourite ways to demonstrate a true understanding of what a consumer needs from a brand, AI amplifies this and gives us access to more data than we ever knew possible. Being smart about how to apply this technology to your strategy to build relationships, trust and in the long term loyalty will be where the best wins are to be had.” - Becky Simms, CEO & Founder 

“With the increased use of AI and data in marketing, tactics like website personalisation that were previously reserved for larger corporates will increasingly need to be undertaken by smaller brands and in the B2B world more often.” 

“Plus, when it comes to ChatBots, consumer expectations are increasing. 82% of consumers say that getting an instant response from brands is important to them - and they won’t care about your hiring overheads during a downturn. AI chatbots are a great way to offer intelligent answers to your audience while still seeming human - and according to Hubspot, these consumers don’t mind whether they’re talking to a human or a bot, provided they get the response they need. Considering the market as it is, it makes complete sense to invest a relatively negligible amount of a chatbot compared to long-term staffing and training costs.” - Thom Standen, Head of Customer Experience

 

#2 THE SHIFT TO GA4 

As of the 1st of July 2023, GA4 will completely replace GA, with Universal Analytics no longer recording hits. With this change, we are gaining smarter metrics, including…

  • Smarter video metrics - GA4 is making measuring YouTube easier, with the famed “pivot to video” finally happening.
  • Greater focus on customer experience - GA4 again will support a greater pivot and focus for marketers from a messaging and targeting strategy to a wider CX view.

For many marketers, the introduction of GA4 is a wake-up call, completely shifting how we look at, report on and track data. It presents an opportunity to lean into data-driven decision-making to inform marketing budgets and ROI more intelligently than ever before - for many businesses, the adoption of

GA4 will be critical to their success in 2023 and beyond.

“GA4’s machine learning will attempt to plug some of the gaps many marketers struggled with up until now. As Google Analytics 4 is event-based rather than “hit”-based, it will help with attribution modelling and understanding your users throughout the journey. I think much of this year, marketers will start to think about the bigger picture of their activity and shift away from thinking of journeys starting with an ad click and ending with a purchase or form submission.

“However, we may also see a change in the market regarding what platforms the industry uses to track their activity. I think it’s fair to say that, at the moment, Google Analytics is the industry go-to. But, with issues in Europe, in particular with using Google Analytics moving forward, we may see several organisations look to migrate to other platforms such as Matomo to track their activity.” - Thom Standen, Head of Customer Experience 

 

#3 AI-POWERED CONTENT

AI-powered content is a hot topic at the moment, and we’ll see it play a much more prominent role in 2023. In fact, Bing recently announced a direct integration with the AI chatbot ChatGPT.

“AI Content Tools have become extremely simple to use, producing quality content at a (currently) free price point. This allows content to be quickly produced specific to any subject, regardless of niche, to a set word count, and a specific tone of voice without requiring prior knowledge or expertise.

“This kind of technology, therefore, becomes incredibly powerful in terms of upscaling content production on large-scale websites, but also comes with the risk of being difficult to tell the difference between AI-generated and human-generated content. 

“The scale AI can offer in content creation means that brands will have a greater ability to create different content for different audiences. However, signposting and architecture will be critical in pairing the right content with the right user and that the content matches the users’ needs. Brands need to be conscious that the content is laid out to meet the audience's needs with the right behavioural triggers for their journey if they want to reap the benefits.

“All in all, AI-powered content presents a great opportunity for marketing departments, freeing up the team to be more strategic and creative when it comes to the briefing and distribution of content as opposed to getting caught up in its creation.” - Andy Mollison, Head of SEO

 

#4 NON-NEGOTIABLE VIDEO CONTENT

Today’s consumers want and expect video content from brands, meaning it’s a non-negotiable channel when creating your strategy for 2023. From how-tos to TikTok dance trends, the way we consume online has moved to a very visual-first approach, with even Google embracing short-form videos to answer user questions. We don’t expect this to slow down in 2023, but it is important that brands take the time to determine what their users really need from them and not just jumping on the latest trend…

Thanks to TikTok, we’re seeing more and more video content on legacy platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Even YouTube Shorts has 1.5 billion monthly active users and more than 30 billion daily views - demonstrating the power of video in our daily lives. 

“With the cost-of-living crisis, we can expect users to turn to Google more for online research ahead of purchasing. Marketers should consider how a video might help answer a user’s question as part of their content strategy, especially as a well-executed video can help establish a deeper level of trust with consumers. Not to mention, with Google favouring user-driven content as part of their Helpful Content Update, brands will benefit from increased rankings for user-first content.” - Becky Simms, CEO & Founder

 

#5 EMBRACING CHANGE WITH DIGITAL PR

In a world where consumers are feeling the financial pinch, and therefore many are moving down the brand ladder. Building brand loyalty and authenticity will be a continual theme for many businesses ensuring they can retain and attract customers. 

Understanding where your products/services sit in your audience’s priority list is a great way to determine which markets you should prioritise. Then it’s a case of outlining the best publications for targeting them. Knowing how your customers are fairing will also give better insight into marketing messages and the best behavioural triggers. 

“Be ready for more chaos, from strike actions to the recession and changes in the weather. Companies need to be ready to respond, adjust and adapt.” 

“The press are demanding more ‘proof’ and authenticity than ever. Make sure you know why your story matters and what problems you’re solving by getting involved. Authentic content is a theme that is growing online, and it’s no different in PR. Journalists and consumers want real content (like TikTok) over the overly-produced videos we were seeing pre-pandemic.”  - Joanna Earle, Outreach and PR Lead

 

#6 DATA-DRIVEN FUNNEL PROSPECTING

Until recently, many advertisers (especially B2B) have relied on the use of ‘similar audiences’ functionality in Google as a means to limiting expenditure on acquiring prospects with upper-funnel activity. 

The feature enabled businesses to automatically target prospects that matched their existing, converting users’ backgrounds, interests and search habits. It was a very effective way of finding new, high-quality users who were likely to be interested in your product or service. Leading to lower CPAs and increased ROAS.

However, this function will be sunset by Google in May 2023.

“The loss of ‘similar audiences’ will leave a large hole in customer acquisition strategies for many brands, meaning that they will have to adapt to new tools if they want to continue targeting high-quality traffic. 

“In light of this, brands need to take the steps to truly understand the audience they want to target, where they are online and what messages will resonate with them throughout the funnel. A deep understanding of user personas with a behavioural lens will help businesses to do this, coupled with a test-and-learn strategy. 

“I’ve been advising clients to start thinking about this now so that come May, they have a working replacement  without any downtime.” - Rob Bridgens, Head of Paid Media

If you're interested in discussing your 2023 marketing plans or how these trends might play a role in your strategy, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.

 

This article was originally published to Reflect Digital on 8th February 2023.