There’s an old saying that stipulates brides who want good luck on their wedding days should carry “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.”
The same can be said of digital marketing in 2023—with perhaps the exception of something blue.
This year, we’ll continue to see familiar themes, like user experience, personalization, data, automation, and videos, as new trends—such as blockchain security and metaverse marketing—gain steam.
So what exactly are the top digital marketing trends you need to know as we kick off the new year? We asked 22 experts to share their predictions and insights. Here’s what they had to say.
10 biggest 2023 digital marketing trends
Use these insights and trend predictions from marketing experts to inform your strategy this year.
1. Zero- and first-party data
Marketing without third-party cookies will continue to be top of mind throughout the new year.
In fact, according to Jenelle Fulton-Brown, digital marketing advisor at VPN Reactor, finding solutions to cookie-less advertising will “go up another gear” in 2023.
“A recent study showed while 95% of advertisers are committed to finding a solution for a cookie-less future, only 20% have begun implementing a solution,” she added. “These numbers will shift in favor of finding solutions [in 2023] as restrictions on privacy and personal data increase with cookies very much in the firing line.”
This, of course, includes collecting first-party data to “minimize the pain of losing third-party cookies and maintain their CPMs and hyper-targeted ads,” said Fernando Lopez, marketing director at Circuit.
In order to offer personalization without third-party cookies, marketers will also have to get creative.
“We’ll see more newsletters, forums, and gated content as marketers look to pull first-party data from users and rebuild their marketing strategies,” Lopez added.
But this also includes zero-party data, or data customers offer up about themselves through sources like surveys.
2. Blockchain security
In fact, Stacey Kane, business development lead at EasyMerchant, said the blockchain could “revolutionize how brands store and share customer data.”
That’s because marketers can use blockchain as an open-source resource for managing customer information across all channels instead of using centralized databases that are vulnerable to hacks or siloed systems that are only accessible within certain organizations.
“Blockchain technology is likely to revolutionize how we do business online by creating new ways for companies to share data securely without having third-party interference or censorship issues arise,” added Toby Dao, marketing specialist at Tigren.
3. Blockchain marketing
Beyond securing data (and, of course, trading cryptocurrency), Jonathan Merry, co-founder of CryptoMonday, sees potential for the blockchain in marketing in 2023.
“One example of how blockchain can impact marketing is that it can completely change how advertising campaigns work,” he said. “People will be able to opt-in for reward programs where they receive digital currency in exchange for viewing ads.”
In other words, “Instead of paying for advertising space, [brands] can give that money to their customers and turn them into life-long brand advocates,” Merry added.
Another benefit of blockchain: Transparency. That’s because it allows customers to track the entire supply chain, including vendors, and whether they are being paid fairly.
“Since people are a lot more conscious about the brands they support, this level of transparency can represent a competitive edge,” Merry said. “It gives people a clearer picture of how your company conducts business, allowing them to better gauge whether their values align with yours.”
4. Video content
Videos have exploded in popularity in recent history—and 2023 will be no exception. In fact, tech giant Cisco estimated video traffic accounted for 82% of all internet traffic in 2022.
And, according to Luke Fitzpatrick, marketing officer of Drsono.com, Cisco has also found videos are 53x more likely to generate page one rankings than other SEO (search engine optimization) tactics—and 84% of consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video.
“It’s a more personalized way to connect that builds trust so much faster than text [or] graphics and it’s also a better way to gain traction on social media,” said Cortney Galster, owner of digital marketing agency Amplify.
Mike Hinckley, marketing manager of Growth Equity Interview Guide, recommends brands start by analyzing data to determine when and where their audience is online—and then nudge them to the next stage of the sales funnel using customized videos and advertisements.
5. Short-form videos
This video content includes short-form videos on platforms like TikTok, which has “so many niche categories…we’re doubling down on TikTok outpacing Instagram in 2023 in terms of engaged audiences and conversions,” Galster added.
In addition to Instagram and Facebook Reels, Georges Fallah, marketing manager at VBOUT, also recommends YouTube Shorts to improve organic reach and collect email subscribers.
Learn more about how to make YouTube Shorts.
These short-form videos can go a long way to increase engagement online and help businesses reach a new audience.
Speaking of videos, live content will continue to dominate the social landscape. According to figures from Bram Jansen, co-founder of VPNAlert, mobile users spent 548 billion hours streaming content in 2021.
“Marketers are trying different ways to leverage livestreaming across channels like TikTok, Instagram, and Amazon Live—and they’re seeing some significant results,” said Maximilian Wühr, CGO of FINN.
“Influencers and marketers see the power in talking, engaging, and even selling products throughout a content stream. When maintaining user attention seems impossible, livestreaming is one of the few solutions to pull customers in long enough to reach conversion.”
In turn, he expects more livestreaming options—and streaming platforms—in 2023.
7. Social commerce
More broadly, expect to see social platforms continue to merge with commerce in the new year. With 4.59 billion consumers on social media by some estimates, there is a huge potential audience for brands and marketers.
Chad Price, CEO of ChadPrice.com, pointed to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, which have made it simple for users to buy products directly from brands.
In addition, TikTok has launched features for influencer marketing such as its Creator Marketplace, which allows brands to find influencers who align with their products and interests, said Anahit Manukyan, a digital marketing strategist at 55Brokers.
“This trend will continue as social media platforms become increasingly integrated with e-commerce features such as tools that allow businesses to showcase their products directly on these sites rather than having an external website where visitors have to search for them,” added Chris Muller, vice president of Money Under 30.
In another familiar trend, brands will continue to tap into augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help consumers try out their products—and, naturally, to enhance the shopping experience and increase sales.
Per Ashish Goswami, senior digital marketing analyst at Krish Technolabs, 83 million U.S. consumers are using AR once a month—and this figure is expected to rise to 95 million by 2023.
“People expect to have access to information and products on demand, whether they’re shopping on Amazon or browsing through Instagram,” said Chris Wainwright, director of marketing at Humi. “Expect companies to use augmented reality to help customers find what they need when they need it by placing virtual items in real-world locations.”
An example of IKEA’s VR experience that allows you to see how their furniture would look in your home.
In addition, AR provides a more personalized and immersive advertising experience, said Claire Jarrett, founder of ClaireJarrett.com.
“The lockdowns already showed us how the digital world provides businesses with opportunities to offer a great customer experience without being physically present—all while keeping consumers connected to the brand,” she said. “So AR will definitely be a huge factor in 2023.”
9. AI content generation
As artificial intelligence (AI) improves and helps marketers do their jobs better, we can also expect to see more AI-based content generation, including both text and images.
“Marketers can save time generating different content for emails, landing pages, blogs, and ads while enhancing their personalization strategies and driving more conversions,” Fallah said. “AI has gone even beyond to generate realistic and original images based on text descriptions.”
Adam Binder, founder of digital marketing agency Creative Click Media, noted these AI image generators use text prompts to create images that are not found in stock galleries and that would be difficult to recreate with photography.
“This AI technology even allows users to select the style of their image—such as realism, cartoon or 3D—to provide your business with unique, tailormade content that reflects your branding,” he said. “AI image generation technology is still very much in the early stages of development, but it will become more beneficial to businesses across industries as its capabilities continue to expand in the new year.”
An example of an AI-generated image on Canva.
In addition, Jen Jones, a dog trainer who runs the site Your Dog Advisor, noted AI can be used to distribute content.
“Not only does this save time for the user, but the AI can create texts about any topic without ever running out of ideas,” she said. “This is a developing field that has the potential to change how content is created and consumed.”
If you opt to use AI content generation, make sure to pay close attention to the output to ensure your content is relevant and clearly communicates your marketing message. While AI content generation is a helpful place to start, it’s still not a full replacement for the real thing (humans!).
Learn more about AI content marketing (including how to and how NOT to use it) here.
10. The metaverse
2022 saw the likes of Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Gucci experiment in the metaverse, which will also continue in 2023 as more brands tap into its potential.
According to Fallah, revenue from virtual real estate is projected to grow to $3.6 million by 2025.
“Companies can use their digital assets to advertise their products, organize virtual product launches, and create a unique customer experience,” he said. “Another way marketers can take advantage of the metaverse space is through native advertising such as billboards on a virtual street or product placement.”
An example of native advertising within the metaverse.
On a related note, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) will expand in utility from “cool art” to tickets to gated content or events.
“The possibilities here are endless, especially within the wider context of ‘digital passports’ being created for such things as travel,” said Geoff Parker, managing director of Blue Ocean Media.
“Finally, NFTs have continued to add functionality, such as fractionalized ownership of assets and passive income through ownership. Again, this model can be rolled out to other similar industries such as company structures, real estate investing, and venture capitalism.”
What do these digital marketing trends mean for small businesses?
Technology is making it much easier for smaller businesses to adopt emerging trends and stay ahead of the curve. But, as with any trend, it’s important to weigh your options and analyze which trends might make the most impact to your marketing in 2023. Think about your overall goals and objectives and determine which of these trends might layer nicely on top of your existing strategy to help you reach those goals.
For instance, if building your audience on social media is a goal for your business in 2023, then you might try short-form videos, expanding to sites like TikTok and Snapchat, and testing livestreaming. If increasing sales for your products is a top goal, then you may look into AR or VR technology to help your customers experience your product from the comfort of their homes.
It’s important to stay on top of the trends so you can anticipate customer behavior and help your business stand out. Use these 2023 digital marketing trends to help your business get a leg-up and start the year off strong 💪
2023 digital marketing trends to watch:
- Zero- and first-party data
- Blockchain security
- Blockchain marketing
- Video content
- Short-form videos
- Social commerce
- AI content generation
- The metaverse
Want more? Hear from LocaliQ President Kris Barton on the marketing trends he’s watching this year–plus what to expect from us in 2023.