Here, we will take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of these two options and what you can do to get the best results from both.
2023 Marketing Trends
The last few years have been disruptive and unpredictable in terms of the economy and technological advances. 2023 will also be marked by rapid change – from developments in social media marketing to the increased use of Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, advanced chatbots and other new technologies, the world of digital marketing is set to transform.
Marketers must already be adapting their strategies to account for these changes. In this article, I’m going to talk more about these upcoming trends and how you can prepare.
No More Third Party Cookies
Third party cookies allow marketers to track user behaviour and use that data to target them with highly personalised ads. Naturally, this comes with serious privacy implications; therefore, these cookies are being phased out (Chrome will be blocking them by 2024; Firefox and Safari blocked them in 2019).
This is an unequivocal win for consumers in terms of privacy, protection from unwanted advertisements, and having greater control over their data. For marketers, however, this change may seem inconvenient but it’s a blessing in disguise. Why? It forces us to prioritise the data that matters most – first party data. The change provides an opportunity to build first party datasets that help marketers to build stronger relationships with their audience and improve Customer Lifetime Value.
If you’re relying on third party cookies at the moment and haven’t made any plans for the days when they’re no longer in use, now is the time. As well as first party cookies, Google are developing new tools within their Privacy Sandbox which will provide helpful alternatives.
According to McKinsey, “71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions” (McKinsey, 2021). The best thing to do is start preparing and implementing alternatives now in order to meet these expectations.
AI is Now Mainstream
Artificial Intelligence is no longer a novelty; it is now a well-established part of operations in many industries, and marketing is no exception. For example, AI content generation is used to speed up the content planning and development process, thereby reducing costs. (Most AI writing tools also have integrated SEO features.)
While these tools speed up the process, they are by no means a replacement for human writers – at least not yet. To make the most of them, use them to help plan and outline your content, always ensuring a writer/editor takes the rough work of the AI and turns it into a polished piece.
Another application of AI used by Google is the displaying of different versions of page titles in search results, for optimal conversion rates. Google can also suggest or produce ads, as well as decide on targeting and bidding strategies.
Other common uses of AI in marketing include business intelligence functions such as predictive analytics, the Natural Language Processing involved in voice search, and AI-powered marketing automation software.
The introduction of new, more advanced chatbots is another trend to look out for which may pose a great risk to search engines. ChatGPT, developed by the research company, OpenAI, based in San Fransisco. It’s much more advanced and versatile than its predecessors and, after its launch in November, it went viral. Not only does its advanced Natural Language Generation capabilities make it adept at answering all manner of queries – it can even write code.
It’s a threat to search engines as it provides an effective way for users to find what they’re looking for – much more efficiently than typing keywords into Google and looking through different sites until you find what you want. If this catches on, we will see huge changes in many areas of marketing.
Web 3.0 is Here
There has been a lot of talk about Web 3.0 in recent years and it’s fair to say that it’s here already. ‘Web 3.0’ refers to the next phase of the internet – an internet based on decentralised technologies, such as blockchain, the result being improved data privacy and greater transparency, along with a whole host of new types of applications. Due to the new technologies involved (such as Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things) – combined with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms – the experience of using the internet will drastically change.
The Semantic Web
Another term associated with Web 3.0 is the semantic web, which illustrates how it will provide a more meaningful way for machines and humans to understand the connections between data on the web.
The Semantic Web is an evolving set of technologies that are designed to create a more intelligent, interconnected world. It enables machines to understand the meaning behind data, allowing them to process information faster and more accurately than ever before. For example, AI algorithms can use semantic web technologies to process large data sets and gain valuable insights.
Semantic web technologies can also help connect different types of data that are usually isolated, making it easier to find relevant information. All in all, it could help create a truly connected world, where data and information are always up to date, organised, accessible, and securely connected to other data sources.
Decentralised Autonomous Organisations
Another aspect of Web 3.0 we should be keeping an eye on is the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO). A DAO is a new type of legal entity based on blockchain technology. It is not governed by any central authority and instead, decisions are made in a bottom-up manner by token holders. Votes and other activities are stored as immutable records on the blockchain, providing transparency.
DAOs will impact digital marketing in numerous ways, offering new opportunities for collaboration. Social-focussed DAOs, for example, will provide a platform for community building in which members are more invested and engaged than they are at-present, because they have more control over the content they consume. DAOs will also provide new ways to gain insights into customer experience, as well as new advertising opportunities, and much more.
Content is Still King
Despite the changes discussed above, content is as relevant as ever. One of the content marketing trends we’ve seen emerging for a while now are changes in the types of content that’s in-demand, with short form and video content increasing in popularity. Audio is also on the rise, so it would be wise to start exploring possible audio strategies, such as podcasts, if you haven’t already.
Long form content is still important, however – the key is to know when to use long vs. short form content. And no matter what form it comes in – whether a blog, TikTok video, or anything in-between – content should always be informative, entertaining, or both.
Social Media Experiences
We’ve seen huge changes in many of the major social media platforms this year. TikTok’s user base now exceeds one billion monthly users, and consumer spending on the platform totalled more than $800 million. We’ve also seen the emergence of several new platforms (Mastodon and BeReal).
Another change to note is that people are increasingly seeking experiences through social media; whether it’s through video or any other medium, users want more from these platforms. They want engaging, immersive experiences, and the benefit for businesses is the positive association that consumers will have with brands as a result.
There have been many other changes within the past year that indicate what’s to come in the near future, from an increase in influencer marketing to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. To learn more, check out my Social Media Roundup of 2022.
Ethics and Gen Z
I’ve mentioned before how much Gen Z care about ethics and authenticity, and that’s only going to continue to be something that all marketers need to keep in mind, as members of Gen Z gain more purchasing power as they move into adulthood.
Issues such as equality and climate change are important to this generation – a generation that has grown up without the prejudices that earlier generations have. Failing to demonstrate support for these issues will alienate this demographic. However, it’s important than support is genuine; pretending to care just as a marketing tactic will be damaging in the long run if a company gets caught out; ultimately, they may lose the favour of Gen Z who will start buying from competitors instead.
SEO is Dead, Long Live SEO
SEO is always changing, but there’s one thing you can do to make the best of it in 2023. In my digital marketing books, I talk about the SEO Triangle. The triangle consists of the acronym, EAT: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google considers all these factors necessary if a page is to rank well.
Here are a few tips to maximise the E-A-T value of your content:
- Post often
- Conduct regular content pruning, revisiting old posts and updating them
- Have an author profile for each contributor. Also make sure that all contributors are experts in their fields.
- Use content blocks
- Use clear headings and sub-headings
- Get links from reliable sources
- Link to trustworthy sources in your content
- Use PR strategies and control negative PR
- Write long content (1500 words+) and ensure it provides genuine value (remember, it must be informative, entertaining, or both).
The best way to prepare for the coming year and beyond is to learn continuously. Keep learning about new technologies, especially those you are less familiar with, and start planning ways to incorporate them into your strategy.
To learn more about the upcoming changes, download my Digital Marketing Trends Report. And if you need help with your marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch – my team and I would be delighted to assist.