2023 will see a return to economic normality and business as usual. However, marketers will continue to feel the aftermath of the dual health and financial crises that marred the 2020-2022 era. Challenges in marshalling resources and meeting organisational budget constraints will remain.
Overall, marketers will need to adhere to agile principles. They must adopt a flexible, antifragile mindset. They will also need to rein in excess spending as competition for finance will be fierce.
This post explores the most significant marketing trends for 2023. Here are the trends we see emerging over the following twelve months:
- Consumers Will Demand Proof Of Sustainability
Consumers are becoming more suspicious of firms’ eco-friendly credentials. They want organisations to move beyond “greenwashing” and adhere to genuine sustainability principles.
Companies, though, aren’t keeping pace. A 2022 Harris Poll for Google Cloud found that 58 per cent of global leaders admit their firms overstate their green credentials at times.
The business effects of unwarranted greenwashing are substantial. Research from the U.S. suggests that companies that partake in such practices experience a 1.34 per cent drop in their American Customers Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Consumers dislike corporate dishonesty, hypocrisy and the attempt to manipulate public opinion in return for profit.
Going forward, firms will change their tack. 2023 will see more genuine investment in green projects and the fruition of sustainability investment conducted since 2020. Regulators will also file more action against companies engaged in greenwashing, reducing the practice and improving transparency.
- Anti-Tech Sentiment Will Rise, Harming Tracking And Advertising
Consumers are becoming more bifurcated along political lines. While some trust social media firms, many don’t. They dislike the use of technology to track their every move online.
The U.S. is likely to see the introduction of more laws to reduce tracking. This trend will affect UK firms’ ability to advertise overseas to one of their primary markets in the coming year.
- Walled Gardens Will Create A Need For New Standards
The number of walled gardens is growing in gaming, audio, retail and video, reducing marketing data signals significantly. Many platforms are eschewing advertising altogether in favour of subscription models.
Major platforms are also making it more challenging to track their users. Firefox, Apple and others have already made such moves.
Walled gardens will remain in place, but they expect marketers to follow their rules. The power of individual firms to shape their destinies is going down.
Facebook is one of the world’s premier walled gardens, with more than 3 billion users of diverse genders, ethnicities and ages. It has tremendous quantities of data, offering advertisers nearly unparalleled targeting. Campaign performance data remains in-house (maintaining a closed platform), requiring users to use their dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) and data management platform (DMP).
Google is an even better example. Users make more than 100 billion searches on it every month, maintaining more than 1.5 billion Gmail accounts. Google’s Ad Manager is a closed platform.
Amazon will also remain a strong walled garden next year. It is already generating upwards of $20 billion in advertising revenue through Amazon Ads and keeps purchasing data, making it a potent advertising force.
- The Metaverse Will Grow As A Commerce Platform
While Meta may continue to take a beating in the stock market in 2023, the basic infrastructure of the platform will continue to grow. It won’t be a reimagining of Second Life, but it will excel in commerce. Mark Zuckerberg is building a platform that blurs the lines between the physical and digital.
The global Metaverse market will grow at an annual rate of 43.2 per cent over the next few years. The virtual economy, crypto-gaming and online communities will drive most of the expansion. The additions of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will make these platforms more appealing to users and investors.
- Nielsen Views May Cease Being The Only Video Currency
2023 will see significant confusion as to what constitutes a video measurement currency. Nielsen is dominant right now, but other systems could emerge next year. The industry may adopt these as part of its standard toolkit.
Potential alternatives to Nielsen Global Media include Brandwatch Consumer Intelligence, Choozle, G2 Deals, Audiense, Linkfluence, and Infegy Atlas. These firms may offer a more integrated approach, helping marketers make better sense of social data and letting organisations understand their customers faster and easier.
Nielsen will also experience significant cloud competition next year. Mediaocean, Google Campaign Manager 360, Quantcast Platform, Adform Flow, and Adobe Advertising Cloud will all be looking to take market share.
- Podcasting Will Continue To Grow In Popularity
Podcasting’s role in advertising will continue to expand next year. Forecasters predict it will grow to $98.78 billion, growing at 30.65 per cent until 2030.
Podcasting is popular among advertisers for several reasons.
- Long-term market exposure from a single advert. Unlike ephemeral radio ads, podcast marketing efforts persist through time.
- Steep discounts versus other methods. Advertising on podcasts may be significantly less expensive than alternatives.
- The large diversity of topics. Marketers can find niches for their companies and clients most likely to reach their target audience.
Marketers will also benefit from new technologies, including dynamic ad insertion and enhanced transcription to determine whether the content is suitable for their audiences. IAB Tech Labs will continue to work to improve trust in the medium over the coming months.
- The Creator Economy Will Boom
2023 will see a continuation of the boom of the creator economy, which began taking off nearly a decade ago. Today, more than 50 million people identify themselves as “creators” globally and are gaining power versus traditional Hollywood and TV. YouTube’s ecosystem generates more than $25 billion in revenue and supports nearly 425,000 full-time jobs. Audiences receive ads in the form of sponsorships, merchandise and membership platforms. Researchers value the entire creator economy at more than $100 billion.
YouTube and Facebook are the leading creator platforms by brand awareness, but Instagram, TikTok and Twitter are close behind. Once peripheral platforms, such as Reddit and Twitch, are slowly going mainstream, opening up more opportunities for advertisers to reach diverse communities.
Sophisticated marketers see a change from “influencer” to “creator” marketing in the coming year. Companies need to understand what motivates creators and how to create omni-channel campaigns that bring creators further into the fold.
Accessibility will also change in 2023. Next year, the barriers to creating new media products will decline significantly. YouTubers, podcasters and independent writers building digital media products will find the process easier. The cost of setting up a studio with great lighting and camera quality will decline significantly over the coming year, as it has done for the last two.
Personalities outside the social media ecosystem will soon move thanks to lower costs. Many with existing audiences will use their current reach to generate new followings on their favourite social platforms.
However, several factors are contributing to the growth of the creator economy besides increased affordability. For instance, platforms are building tools that enhance creators’ capabilities. YouTube, TikTok and Facebook are all offering more options.
Twitter is also making a move with its new newsletter option. It’s yet another monetisation option which will attract new creators to these platforms.
Creators are also finding new ways to generate revenues by diversifying their distribution channels. The pandemic led agencies to adopt the creator-first approach and adjust their marketing campaigns to a new paradigm. Large-scale networks had to report from where they were and use community-focused platforms, driving engagement that way. The only place to go during the height of COVID-19 was online via social media.
- Attention Metrics Will Grow In Importance
Traditional metrics, such as “ad impressions,” will decline in importance in 2023, with new measures of attention taking their place. Advertisers will want to see users comprehending and digesting their ads instead of simply letting them enter their view screens.
Attention metrics are the evolution of engagement. These ensure marketers record meaningful engagement.
Such statistics are essential because of changing user behaviour. Research, for instance, finds that 86 per cent of users experience “banner blindness,” where their brain automatically blocks out advertisements on pages.
Viewability is currently the attention metric of choice for many marketers and brands. It measures the degree to which users can view an ad. However, many other attention-measuring methods will emerge next year.
For instance, we may see the rise of:
- Time-of-day-related attention metrics which respect the user’s time zone and the decisions they are likely to make at any given time relating to brand interactions
- Fold position, such as the appearance of the ad within the browser window
- Exchange viewability, where ad elements compete with other on-page content to appear more visible to users
- The number of historical clicks and interactions users have with ads
Attention metrics is still an emerging field. Therefore, marketers are still defining their scope and usefulness. However, innovative brands are experimenting with them already.
- Retail Media Networks Will Continue To Grow
Amazon pioneered the growth of retail media networks. Its platform now generates more than $31 billion per year in revenue. Independent sellers pay it to display their products higher in results, knowing they will make more sales.
However, Amazon is no longer the only retail media network in town. Other stores, including Kroger, M&S and Walmart, are also experimenting with similar technologies. Large retailers want to turn themselves into platforms that charge for digital space on their pages, as Amazon does.
Expect to see the emergence of more cross-industry partnerships over the coming year, too. Marriott International is already working with Yahoo to power its Travel Media Network. However, new data partnerships are emerging, such as Walmart and Paramount and Kroger and Roku in the U.S.
- Video Marketers Will Shorten Their Content
According to HubSpot research, 20 per cent of marketers say they will leverage short-form for the first time next year. Marketers are learning that getting to the point is more valuable than the long-form approach. Therefore, video marketers will shorten their content significantly in 2023.
Taking a short-form approach offers several substantial benefits. Companies, for instance, don’t have to spend as much time or money on video production. They can also make their content for dominant social media platforms, such as TikTok and Reels, which only display snippets.
- Companies Will Prioritise Social Responsibility
Companies will also prioritise social responsibility going into 2023, just as they will avoid greenwashing their content and advertising. According to reports, eighty-nine per cent of marketers making social responsibility content will increase or maintain their budgets next year.
Ethics, transparency and social responsibility matter a great deal to modern consumers. Forty per cent of millennials and 50 per cent of Gen Z-ers want firms to take a strong stance on various justice and rights issues.
Seeing the writing on the wall, many companies are pivoting to social media strategies highlighting causes they support. For example, they are launching competitions or initiatives with a clear social justice message.
Firms are also doing this to market more effectively internally. They want to attract top talent and know the best way to do that is to discuss these issues. Many graduates come from universities which train them in critical race theory, feminism, and environmentalism. They will expect the firms they work for in 2023 to reflect these values.
- Experiential Marketing Could Make A Return
Lastly, 2023 could see the return of experiential marketing. The approach saw a decline during the pandemic years. However, it is now making a comeback, thanks to new technology and the opening up of the economy.
M&Ms are a good example of this trend in action. The confectionery brand is investing in pop-up “rooms” filled with foam pieces where people can experience its products. These spaces look a bit like M&Ms and are highly photo-able, making them great for social media shares.