What are the major digital marketing trends we are likely to see in 2023? No one can say for sure, but based on careful observation of the recent past and without launching into reckless predictions, industry professionals can offer insight into some of the possible developments.
In this post, we will try to identify the trends that might characterize the immediate future of digital marketing. In most cases, these are phenomena that have already existed for a few years but are now unfolding their full potential: more or less subterranean currents of marketing that seem destined to become even more diversified and inclusive.
Marketing that is not just tuned to customers’ imaginations but also capable of taking on their concrete needs.
According to Marketing Insider Group, the most influential digital marketing trends that will take hold in the coming months testify to a renewed focus on all things related to content visualization, and they will especially affect the customer experience and employee engagement.
We can also add, preliminarily, that in order to succeed in fueling the conversation with customers, acquired or potential, marketers will likely need to draw on topics that target audiences may feel are relevant, will need to avoid simplifications in targeting emerging markets (for example, Asian markets, which have grown tremendously over the past decade and are projected to continue to grow over the next decade), or in interacting with cultural groups (such as the highly courted and very often misunderstood Generation Z).
Before we delve into the digital marketing trends that will mark 2023, let’s make a couple of introductions so as to contextualize the role of automation and give an idea of the complexity of the issue we are going to address.
Automation as a commodity
Technology, which undoubtedly continues to come up with innovative solutions, will increasingly be conceived as an enabler and an instrument: the means through which brands can connect with people. After the two-year period of “forced digitization” that organizations experienced due to the healthcare emergency, in 2023 digital marketing will still be marketing that relies on automation. However, the “human” element will increasingly be more central within a communication ecosystem where technology returns to being a commodity in the service of people (from artificial intelligence applications to data management platforms, just to name the most obvious expressions today of this endless hymn to the magnificent fates of technological development).
Of course, it will in any case be data-driven marketing, which continues to grow dramatically while also increasing the complexity of interpretation. But the widespread feeling among insiders, supported by statistics, is that digital marketing trends in 2023 will have more and more to do with the subjective experience of related to brands—whether we are talking about consumers or workers—and less and less to do with the wondrous special effects of parallel universes, virtual or augmented (unless they pander, as we shall see, to the very human taste for gaming).
The definition of what we consider “marketing” is never definitive but varies as markets, companies, and consumers change. It is a concept that has now transcended the narrow horizon of advertisements, sales tactics, and the activities of building a purely “outward” corporate image. Therefore, when talking about digital marketing trends, we must take into account how companies have evolved today. They encompass both productive activities and social communities simultaneously, which are composed of technological and cultural superstructures and which thrive or fail depending on their ability to be recognizable, memorable, convincing, and on the level of collaboration achieved between different departments, which in turn are composed of human beings with multidimensional lives.
The digital marketing trends of 2023 reflect this complexity. Let’s take a look at the ones that offer the most interesting development prospects.
Digital marketing trend for 2023 #1: gamification and the metaverse
The first digital marketing trend that we cannot underestimate is gamification, a trend that is contaminating very diverse sectors. Experimenting with new languages borrowed from the world of entertainment seems perhaps a risky move that can prove incredibly rewarding, especially in the long term. This is because it opens a channel of communication with younger generations of consumers who are notoriously mysterious and elusive.
The global gaming market, which grew 26% between 2019 and 2021 according to PwC, is now worth more than $198 billion and is expected to grow to close to $340 billion by 2027 (source: Mordor Intelligence).
Fully consistent with both the technological premises and the virtual game world, the metaverse is the place where companies hope to intercept Gen Z and Gen Alpha and, to a lesser extent, Millennials. The “metaverse” generically refers to a virtual space where people meet, play games, socialize, shop, and so on. For some, the construction of a universe through the integration of different game worlds, would allow the realization of the transition from the internet era (Web2) to a later era, Web3, and entering a mythical land where the rules of the game have yet to be written and the opportunities for marketing are all to be discovered.
If we proceed from an abstract plane to a decidedly more prosaic one, we can see how the prospects for gains are very, very real. According to some forecasts, the metaverse market will grow to $800 billion by 2024. So far, the metaverse is still, above all, a universe in power. Beyond the great curiosities and expectations, few companies have successfully developed metaverse strategies, including giants such as Microsoft, Disney, Nike, Adidas, and Gucci.
Digital marketing trend for 2023 #2: content marketing
One of the most significant findings that the pandemic has left us concerns the importance that content marketing has assumed within a brand strategy. For some it was a revelation, for many others a confirmation, a recognition of an approach that has proven successful over the years. Content marketing is a more respectful marketing that no longer interrupts the customer’s time by imposing content that is perceived as useless and annoying, but with content that conveys information that is already profiled and therefore, likely, more useful at the most appropriate time and in the most appropriate (virtual) place.
Given that the long periods of social distancing accelerated digital transformation, it has become obvious to even the most skeptical companies: content marketing is the most predictable way to generate ROI. This is according to Semrush in one of its recent reports, which also contains another interesting statistic: according to 97% of respondents (business decision makers and marketers) in 2021, content proved to be the most important tactic within the overall marketing strategy by far. It’s no surprise, then, that the development of content marketing initiatives will be among the trends in the coming year as well.
One of the most effective applications of content marketing, through which a company can carve out a space of visibility in the daily news flow, are explainer videos: videos with great informational value that explain often complicated concepts, processes, and issues (e.g., the use of a product or service) in a simple and understandable way. They convey even very complex messages clearly and fluently. The direct goal is not sales for its own sake but rather to inform and educate, without rhetoric or pedagogical intentions. In 2023, a digital marketing trend that promises to really work is one that will focus on the production of useful and meaningful content that can “compensate” for the time the user decides to spend on its fruition.
Digital marketing trend for 2023 #3: omnichannel
In 2023, companies that have not yet done so will have to adopt a fully omnichannel approach. This is the only way that they will be able to intercept the trajectories of the consumer (potential customer or already acquired) throughout the purchasing process, at different times and on different channels (largely online but also offline). Digital marketing of the near future will have to involve distributing content across a mix of channels, developing ad hoc versions of each piece of content, for each medium.
Digital marketing trend for 2023 #4: video marketing
Today, video continues to be used by the vast majority of businesses and is the content of choice for users:
- 92% of companies consider video the key content with which to achieve business goals;
- 86% of companies use video as a marketing tool;
- 96% of consumers have watched a video to learn more about a product or service;
- 88% of consumers said they were convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand video;
- 73% of consumers said they would prefer to watch a video if they need to learn more about a product or service.
The irresistible rise of video marketing is nothing new, far from it. Instead, it’s a rather long-lived trend that shows no signs of weakening. However, we can identify three noteworthy elements within this general trend that will influence digital marketing efforts in the coming year:
- Personalized videos. If we look at the popularity of user-generated content, and specifically videos made independently by users and shared on social platforms, a first consideration that would come to mind concerns the breadth of the horizon of contemporary marketing, which, in order to chase this unstoppable trend toward first-person narratives, would have to aim for an elusive one-to-one formula. Until recently, a segment consisting of a single person was nothing more than a guess, but today, personalized videos translate data from numerous sources into stories in which the user himself is the protagonist. In this sense, they represent one of the most powerful technological outcomes of a now widely established trend that is putting customers back at the center of brand communication.
- Interactive video. In recent years, some particularly innovative companies have chosen to use video automation tools to speed up and make the production process more efficient. The most advanced video automation platforms enable the creation of interactive videos, which tend to be more engaging and multifaceted and prove extremely effective in building a relationship with customers, both acquired and potential.
- Video automation. Traditionally, creating effective videos requires time, specialized skills, skilled professionals, and substantial budgets. The production process can be complex and, unless all the factors involved are mastered, result in disappointing results. Among other things, costs also rise as a result of the technical changes that must be made to adapt the video to different channels. Video automation, the automation of routine processes for video creation, is the answer to a need for greater speed and simplification that does not sacrifice the quality of storytelling through images. At the same time, it allows the user to participate in the creation process firsthand by providing him or her with automatic ways of creating the various sequences.
Gamification, content marketing, video marketing, and omnichannel marketing: trends for the digital marketing of the future
The demand for interactivity, along with the demand for greater personalization, will gain even more strength in 2023. Consumers are also increasingly accustomed to omnichannel: they want to be recognized every time they connect with the brand and now take it for granted that they can interact smoothly and frictionlessly. He demands to proceed in his journey seamlessly between the various channels, digital and offline, and positively perceives the transitions that take place in hybrid contexts (for example: buying online but in store).
From the increasing investment in content marketing and video marketing to the pursuit of the younger generation into the digital worlds where they are likely to spend part of their virtual lives in the unspecified future, all the digital marketing trends we have discussed point to the creation of increasingly interactive, personalized and omnichannel experiences.
As we wrote at the beginning of this post, technology is indispensable but does not exhaust the creative reach of digital marketing. It is true, however, that each of the trends we have described could not exist without advanced user and customer data management systems. The digital tools available today enable teams to dig deep into the company’s information base to identify preferences, needs, consumption behaviors, and perhaps latent issues that characterize the profile of each user-consumer.
The balance that digital marketing will try to find once again, as it does every year, will never be final, but will have to be negotiated continuously along the path of purchase and consumption. It will be a seeming state of stillness, the result of balancing technology enabling processes with the human quality of the experience.