As 2023 has just begun, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends to ensure your business stays competitive in the online market. To help you stay ahead of the curve, we have curated a list of the most significant trends we expect for this year.
Trend 1: automation, content, and relevance
Automation and machine learning are becoming even more important in 2023 on the major advertising platforms.
On Google Ads, this trend has been ongoing for a couple of years now, ever since the introduction of Smart Bidding algorithms around 2016. These new possibilities are a potential time saver for online marketers, and give the opportunity to focus attention from, for example, separate keyword bids to more strategic decisions.
After Smart Bidding, this trend evolved on Google Ads with more new technologies, for example, the Responsive Display Ads and Performance Max campaigns.
All and all this new focus on automation means that the input companies and marketers give to the system is getting more and more important. This means that the content, for example, images, video and ad copy, and landing pages are getting more important. The higher the relevance of these items to the user, the better campaign results can get. Highly relevant and good content can for example attributed to lower CPMs (Cost per 1.000 ad impressions) and CPCs (Cost per Click).
Trend 2: Artificial Intelligence tools
Artificial Intelligence has been a hot topic in recent years, and in 2022, OpenAI launched two significant AI tools. The first, Dall-E allows users to generate images from any text prompt they enter. This can result in fun or sometimes complex images and is great as a tool to show the capabilities of AI.
The tool that will be even more beneficial for marketers is the latest version of the GPT natural language processing system, ChatGPT. ChatGPT functions like a chatbot and can generate conversations and ideas that mimic human interaction. Especially for marketers this brings in a lot of new possibilities, for example, you can use ChatGPT for:
- Keyword research – Find new ideas for a specific topic and find ‘long tail’ ideas for new to target keywords.
- Landing page content – let the AI write a first draft for the landing page copy.
- Ad copy – Get new ideas for ad copy you can use and test with
- Create lists – Need a list of all the countries in Europe? Use the tool to easily generate these lists.
- Social media content – Generate ideas for engaging and relevant content for social media platforms
- SEO optimizations – Optimize website content for search engines by using the tool for content ideas and generation, or get new idea’s to write catchy headlines and meta descriptions.
- Translations – In need of a translation? The tool can translate content into lots of languages.
Trend 3: data, privacy, and importance of 1st party data
Ever since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in 2016 and came into effect in 2018, consumers have been getting more aware of privacy. In addition companies and technology providers need to maintain higher standards in terms of privacy. This led to significant changes for example the targeting possibilities of Facebook Ads (now Meta Ads) and software updates on the iOS platform.
In short, the changes that came into effect resulted in the fact that online marketers are less and less able to measure campaign and website performance. However, to be future-proof and to make sure you still can make the best out of your data, there are some implementations that every company should have implemented in 2023. The most important ones are:
- Google Consent Mode: This is a feature from Google to help website owners to comply with privacy regulations like GDPR (and the Californian equivalent CCPA) and still be able to measure website sessions and conversions correctly, even when a user opts out for cookies or when the browser blocks cookies. Google Consent Mode can retrieve about 70% of data that is missing for people who decline cookies, without tracking the IP address and other personal information, in other words, GDPR compliant.
- Enhanced Conversions: Enhanced Conversions is a feature from Google that helps to improve the accuracy of conversion measurement. It enriches the conversion data that is being measured by sending more first-party data to the ad platform of Google. This allows the campaigns to perform better because Google is able to match that data against a Google profile, so it has to rely less on cookies. As a result, Google Ad campaigns have 5% more data available.
- API’s: A Conversion API is a connection between the marketing data of the website (for example the e-commerce platform) and the ad platform (such as Meta, TikTok or Google Ads). The Facebook Conversion API is the best-known example of this. An API is designed to send more conversion data from the website to the ad platform, so the campaigns have more data and can perform better.
- Server-side tracking: Server-side tracking is a way to use the Google Tag Manager on your own server. This allows your Google Tag Manager tracking to be first-party and in this way privacy-sensitive browsers do not block the data collection. In short, it can retrieve the data of users that do allow cookies, but cookies are blocked nevertheless because of technical implications, like a browser or ad blocker.
Trend 4: goodbye Universal Analytics, welcome Analytics 4
As Universal Analytics, the widely-used tool in the digital marketer’s toolkit for over 11 years, is set to sunset in 2023, we thought this was worth a section of its own.
For most of our clients, we have been running Analytics 4 simultaneously with Universal Analytics for the better part of 2022. This allows us to build up data in the Analytics 4 account and make sure that when we completely switch over from Universal Analytics, we don’t have to start with an empty history.
While implementing the new Analytics 4 tracking on your website, it is important to consider the main differences between the two Analytics versions. First of all, the way the data is collected differs per version. Where Universal Analytics made use of pageviews, Analytics 4 is using a ‘event’-based setup. In addition Analytics 4 uses a ‘Measurement Protocol’ which allows the system to gather more data within the current privacy and browser landscape.
Trend 5: diversifying Social channels and the continuing growth of TikTok
Social Media usage is still growing worldwide. According to Statica.com data almost 4.3 billion people use social media, and this is expected to grow to 6 billion by 2027.
This growth will likely mean that advertisers will stay on social platforms to reach their audiences. We do however expect to see a shift in the distribution of ad spend between the channels.
A platform that has gained lots of traction in recent years is TikTok, the short-form video app known for its catchy dance and funny videos.
TikTok has grown into a go-to advertising platform for businesses that want to reach a younger audience. But is also rapidly becoming a platform where advertisers can reach a full spectrum of demographics. With over 1.5 billion active users worldwide, TikTok offers a vast pool of potential customers for businesses to reach.
But TikTok is not the only player in the social advertising landscape. Other platforms such as Meta Ads (aka Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads) and LinkedIn offer a range of advertising options for businesses to choose from. For a comprehensive list of the most effective social media platforms of this year, have a look at our blog.
Overall we expect the social media advertising landscape to further diversify, the times when Facebook Ads was the sole social platform seem to be completely gone.
Trend 6: having useful content on your website is more important than ever
Google has been updating its algorithms to ensure a user-centric service. Content created to rank well in search engines will not work anymore and might even get punished, instead, you should create content for people. This pushes websites to create more content that shows expertise in a field, which in turn also helps respond to the E-E-A-T guidelines of Google.
The well-named ‘helpful content-update’ was launched in August of 2022 and completed the rollout on the 9th of September. Why are we writing about this now? The update wasn’t working globally just yet. Just yet, because in December 2022 Google had its first helpful content update, which was completed on the 12th of January 2023 and made it work everywhere in every language.
What to do when you think you got hit by the update or want to improve your content to be more helpful? Google has provided us with 9 questions to ask ourselves to figure out if our content exists for search engines, or for our visitors.
Do you feel lost when trying to create helpful content? Keep an eye out for a blog with our tips!
Are you curious about which (micro) trends are still developing and would you like to enlist our help to respond to them as well as possible? Contact us via the contact form below or check out our contact page!