Like me, you must be full steam ahead with your marketing planning for 2023 and beyond. It is only natural that, as the economy continues to show signs of post-pandemic recovery – albeit very slowly, companies will resume investments in marketing to drive growth and increase market share.
In this article, you will find some digital marketing trends and tips on how to apply them in your 2023 strategic planning.
In This Article
A quick overview of the economic landscape
Small and medium-sized companies have never been more aware of the importance of marketing to understand consumer needs, drive sales, and foster customer loyalty, so they are increasingly investing in digital marketing initiatives. To get the best results, it is essential to be aware of new technologies and market trends but constantly adapt them to the reality of your business. Not every trend needs to be followed. Knowing your customers' needs and preferences will allow you to adapt to market trends that will benefit your audience, leading to greater engagement and, consequently, better sales.
In the economy, we will have to live with an uncertain economic scenario, with rising inflation, increasingly higher interest rates, and a reduction in consumer spending, which is why companies of all sizes will continue to feel the pressure next year. However, despite all this, marketers are optimistic, with indications of more significant portions of the marketing budget for the year ahead. According to a recent Matter Communications survey, 89% of CMOs and senior marketing executives plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2023 by an average of 8.5%. This is significant growth from the 4.2% increase in marketing budgets seen in 2020. The survey also revealed that digital marketing would continue to be the top priority for marketers, with an average budget increase of 10.3%. This is followed by traditional media (7.2%), content marketing (6.7%), and social media (6.3%).
What was a trend in 2022, and what is worth betting on continuing?
Some strategies should remain high as brands focus on purpose beyond revenue, or at least try to, as a way to impress consumers of generations from millennials who traditionally care about the inclusion of minorities and the guarantee of rights for these groups and who are engaged with issues related to environmental preservation and sustainability (ESG). I also see a continued focus on the customer experience, which should remain strong, with brands looking for more personalization, particularly in the service sector, aiming for greater customer engagement.
For social media, I see many brands further exploring UGC as a form of strong social proof, especially in e-commerce and tourism. Also, I'm expecting more significant investment in partnerships with micro-influencers, mainly in creating bite-sized video content or short videos that teach something to its users, in addition to partnerships in the development of social selling.
The Metaverse should still be a big buzz next year, and we need to be aware of the opportunities, but I still see a lot of excitement and few practical use cases that present a good return on investment (ROI).
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already present in virtually all marketing activities today, especially in content generation. Over the past few years, there has been a quiet trend of integrating AI into almost every digital marketing channel. Algorithms determine the best times to post, the search results, and the ads shown to your shopping preferences. However, AI in marketing is already going far beyond that.
What are the Artificial Intelligence trends for marketing in 2023?
It's okay that automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are nothing new, but in 2023, they are expected to be two of the biggest trends in digital marketing. The evolution of technology applied to automation will allow marketers to simplify their processes, saving time and money and increasing efficiency.
Artificial Intelligence is a deep technology "as or more important than fire and electricity" - Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc, owner of Google.
According to a Gartner survey of corporate executives in the US, Germany, and the UK, 80% of respondents think that automation helps with decision-making. "The survey revealed that organizations are moving away from a purely tactical approach to AI and starting to apply it more strategically," said Erick Brethenoux, Analyst and Vice President at Gartner. Also, according to the survey, more than 30% of online content is already created using AI.
Automation is getting stronger, and it is a path of no return for improving processes and metadata analysis, which help a lot in the strategic analysis of marketing actions. Automation is also directly linked to the Internet of Things (IoT) and how the popularization of this technology will impact people's lives in 2023.
The perspective is that the focus of automation will grow in allowing interactions between more useful and complex machines. So, the tendency is to develop more global standards and protocols that facilitate communication between devices. Furthermore, the development of new technologies will emphasize IoT security. After all, while automation benefits people's lives, it also creates security risks. Therefore, the focus of investments will also be on improving security features to prevent attacks.
AI will increasingly allow for a better understanding of consumer behavior and preferences, allowing the creation of more personalized and targeted campaigns. Automation and AI will also help marketers better analyze data – a treasure trove in understanding consumer behavior, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their actions. In addition to helping to better optimize campaigns for search engines (SEO), automatic generation of content such as articles, images, and videos, in addition to the aid of other digital marketing strategies.
The use of AI tools in marketing is booming and will exceed $48.8 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 28.6%, according to a report by Market Research Future. I've separated three ways to use Artificial Intelligence in marketing and advertising strategies that are trends in 2023 and can help you adapt to trends in your business.
The best ways to use Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing
1. Produce large-scale content creation.
Although Google has already classified the automated process of writing articles as SPAM - a strategy widely used by news outlets and SEO companies to generate backlinks, for example - I believe this strategy will still be powerful next year.
If, on the one hand, Google is committed to improving its algorithms to identify and penalize AI tools' content, on the other hand, human creativity in creating new applications to circumvent these actions will always be at the forefront. I have seen this cat-and-mouse fight going on for a long time, especially with the recent release of GPT-3.5, a new version of the already world-renowned GPT-3 released two years ago by OpenAI. The latest version was perhaps the first tool to demonstrate that AI can write convincingly - if not perfectly - like a human. In 2023, we await the CPT-4 version that will arrive even more powerful.
"Auto-generated content using AI writing tools is against Google's Webmaster Guidelines" John Mueller, Google's Search Advocate.
Another application that is already being used and that will gain more and more space in the coming years is the creation of videos through the use of Artificial Intelligence. This application goes beyond image and short video creation apps for social networks and helps more in creating "how to," DIY, and educational content in the coming year.
With the ever-increasing need to create high-quality advertising material, I see Artificial Intelligence as a vital tool to produce it at a scale, precision, and customization superior to humans. On the other hand, advertising is a very human-centric industry and must always be contextualized. So, while a programming resource is unlikely to replace the interaction between brands, consumers and publishers entirely, it is a technology that can elevate and enhance the way creative professionals deliver their work.
2. Create more accurate and far-reaching ads and emails through contextual targeting.
One of the most incredible benefits of this technology lies in the use of programmatic advertising based on Artificial Intelligence, which generates thousands of distribution compositions, provides more accurate segmentations, and allows personalized ads with a high response rate and greater efficiency. With the help of AI, the capture of digital behaviors of potential customers in real-time will be increasingly accurate, resulting in better optimization and personalization of ads.
Through machine learning, agencies can create dynamic ads based on a prospect's online behavior. An example of this is the demand-side platform (DSP) StackAdapt, which uses Artificial Intelligence algorithms to extract the content of an article, and evaluate its context and sentiment, allowing the company to create personalized, contextual definitions that consider the needs of each advertiser. StackAdapt processes over 2 billion auctions daily and nearly 6 billion decisions per second, which is why the heavy lifting is left to AI. In this way, it is possible to choose the most relevant ads for each user.
With 4 billion daily email users sending around 340 billion messages every day (Statista), anyone who thinks email marketing is outdated is wrong. But with this volume of messages, it's not hard to imagine that marketing executives need more and more help to stand out in their consumers' inboxes. And AI-powered tools play an increasingly important role in optimizing email marketing campaigns such as:
Write email subject lines by yourself.
Companies like Phrasee, for example, use AI and machine learning to automatically write email subject lines based on data analysis, resulting in higher open rates.
Write parts of emails.
Content generation tools like Copy.ai - ideal for short texts, and Jasper - more used in long texts, offer content creation solutions based on GPT-3, the largest Artificial Intelligence language model ever created, to create content automatically.
Optimize shipping times.
Using AI, you can optimize shipping times by adapting your delivery according to the best receipt time for the user. This means that each person on your list receives an email when they are most likely to open it, based on the data.
Clean up email lists.
Through AI, you also can clean up email databases by removing outdated contacts and updating information, automatically improving email deliverability and open rate (OR).
Automatically create email newsletters with unprecedented personalization.
Some AI platforms are dedicated exclusively to creating hyper-personalized "smart" newsletters. These tools generate automated emails containing customized content for each reader, dramatically improving subscriber engagement.
Rasa.io is one of those personalization tools. Once you've chosen your favorite content sources for your newsletter, the platform takes over, regularly scanning your content pool, tracking who clicks on what, and customizing your newsletter by the individual subscriber. Then, each time you press send, rasa.io generates a unique email newsletter for each reader. It's a level of customization previously impossible with traditional automation tools.
3. Provide efficient communication between brand and consumer
The days when companies relied solely on a human customer service department are gone! Instead, platforms that use AI to communicate with their audience can develop a precise and personalized language available 24/7, as it is possible to attribute the brand identity to the service. Artificial Intelligence also helps marketers establish individual conversations with consumers when they click on an ad, allowing them to explore new services, ask questions, or learn more about a product.
Google Assistant has been almost a new family member for a few years now, and I see these voice-activated chatbots becoming more and more popular in the coming years. But more than telling stories and jokes to kids or helping you with the "find my phone" command, in 2023, I see them quickly gaining popularity for online searches and shopping. This means that corporate communication also needs to follow this trend. According to Juniper Research, by the end of 2023, there will be 8 billion voice assistants worldwide. It's a market we can't ignore.
With the recent advances in digitalization that the pandemic has forced companies to adopt, data collection and interpretation have taken on a critical role. As a result, one of the vital challenges for businesses in 2023 will be using growing customer insights to influence chatbot behavior. And this is where Artificial Intelligence will play a significant role in creating new data analysis methods to extract valuable insights from the collected information.
Furthermore, chatbots power various business operations, including marketing engagement, brand awareness, customer support, sales, and lead generation. The knowledge available to AI-powered chatbots will increase, and they will be able to understand even more customer needs based on their interactions with brands. Today, any organization can benefit from deploying a low-cost chatbot in its business operations. Many solutions on the market integrate with Messenger and WhatsApp and can be easily and quickly implemented to improve customer interaction.
Artificial Intelligence is making marketing smarter, connecting consumers to products with accurate messages at the right time. You must be aware of how AI is frighteningly changing critical aspects of the marketing channels we use today. You need to become familiar with algorithms and how they impact results, optimizing the content strategy according to your business's and your consumer's characteristics.
Top 3 Marketing Expert Recommendations to Include in Your 2023 Strategic Plan
Now that you're on top of the leading marketing trends for 2023, you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. So I separated some recommendations to start the year at high speed.
1. Focus on the consumer experience
Reassess your product or service by putting yourself in the customer's shoes, but first, you need to have your persona very well defined. Then, be prepared to separate time and money to get improvements that benefit your customer's experience. Virtually all algorithms are based on enhancing the user experience and how well you meet their needs, so improving delivery and experience will help protect you from future algorithm updates.
Personalized User Experience
Artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in improving the consumer experience. Identifying individual needs and delivering customized solutions is becoming easier with the help of AI.
Uninterrupted work 24/7
With AI, you can provide 24/7 assistance to your customers. Such solutions also ensure that employees only need to work short hours. This ensures that business flows smoothly and uninterrupted.
Create smarter content
AI algorithms can track which pages on your website users read, identify hot spots and visit times on landing pages, and generate email read data, for example. This technology helps, among other things, the production of relevant content in articles, social posts, and personalized emails for customers.
2. Produce short videos
It is not new to anyone that the goal of each social media platform is to keep users on the app for as long as possible, and the viewing time dedicated to videos is much greater than that of photos or short texts. That is why companies like Facebook and Instagram (Meta), YouTube (Google), and TikTok (ByteDance) have their algorithms focused on video delivery, and that does not happen by chance.
More than just following the trend, it is necessary to adapt your communication to what the major media outlets are determining. Therefore, brands need to appear in their customers' channels and formats to remain relevant. And your customers are unlikely to be on just one of the abovementioned channels.
If you are not yet active on these channels, now is the time to join! First, track how your audience uses TikTok or Instagram Reels, for example. Then analyze how your brand can interact with audiences on these channels and start experimenting with short video content for your business.
While many video production companies are already using AI to rejuvenate film casting, script writing, idea generation, storyboarding, and AI-supported voice-overs, its massive use in video content production is yet to happen. But some solutions are already emerging and can help you, like DeepStory, a platform dedicated to generating AI-based scripts. Another great example is Adobe's AI-powered character animation feature that lets you bring your characters to life simply by acting out their movements in front of a camera.
Straight to the point
A study by Pearson found that nearly 60% of Gen Z (1997-2012) and 55% of Millennials (1981-1996) prefer to learn by watching YouTube videos rather than printed books. This shows that short-form video has already taken over the public's attention and companies need to be able to communicate through bite-sized video content to capture attention, particularly on mobile devices.
Dedicate yourself to producing shorter, simpler, and straight-to-the-point content. For example, challenge yourself to present your differentials in more concise messages by adapting them to be shown in the video.
3. Micro-influencers and community building
Influencer marketing has been on the rise for years. This trend will continue to grow, with brands looking for opportunities to break through the noise with organic-looking content through influencers and their ability to influence their community's buying habits.
The relationship between fans and celebrities was replaced by that of a local leader and the community. Brands cannot only look at the reach and number of followers because it is possible to manipulate some numbers on social networks, which is why decisions based only on followers are a mistake. It is necessary to remember that the creator is the union of the message with the environment he lives in and that it is a persona endorsing his product or service, a powerful merchandising that influences an entire community. Therefore, the influencer must be relevant, that is, be relevant and appropriate to the brand segment.
More than ever, Artificial Intelligence is present in social media, playing an essential role in measuring relevance, engagement, and persuasion in the influencers' community. For example, AI algorithms show content suggestions based on your profile habits. In 2023, the advancement of this technology promises to make curation even stronger, aiming to detect and filter out information such as false profiles and inappropriate and low-quality content.
Additionally, AI will continue to help identify which posts are most relevant to each user based on their past interactions and interests. I see an even more significant decrease in the relevance of likes at the expense of retention time (and attention) of the content produced, which is why videos are so popular.
In general, brands should focus on creating great pieces that are relevant to their target audience and designed to encourage natural interactions. In addition, it is necessary to constantly contact the audience, promoting conversations and debates so that the profile becomes a place of direct exchange between the company and the community.
Finally, we must remember that platforms based on Artificial Intelligence are constantly evolving, so it is vital to stay updated on algorithm changes, new tools, solutions, and market trends.
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