Based on research by the New York-based Winterberry group, 55% of marketing is now conducted digitally. In fact, an estimated $436 billion was spent on digital marketing in 2021, and that figure is only likely to grow as online marketing strengthens its dominance.
Of course, digital marketing takes many forms, so keeping up-to-date with the latest innovations to attract target customers can feel overwhelming. With this in mind, we’ve summarized some key digital marketing trends we expect to play an important role in 2023 and beyond.
Increased role for AI and machine learning
As the technology becomes more accessible and affordable, artificial intelligence and machine learning are likely to be used more and more by digital marketing teams to aid them in analysing trends and reaching customers more effectively.
AI and machine learning unlock the potential for businesses to automate marketing tasks, including customer segmentation, lead generation, and even aspects of campaign management. Crucially, these technologies can also be effective in personalizing marketing messages, thus significantly improving the reach and effectiveness of campaigns.
Importance of personalized marketing
In relation to the previous trend, personalized marketing is set to reach the next level. Personalizing marketing campaigns has long been a goal for marketing teams, but doing this successfully relies on collecting a significant amount of customer data and then having the capability to convert that data into truly personalized marketing – no easy task when you have large customer databases and patchy data.
But thanks to improved data collection techniques and advanced analytics, many companies have access to more customer data than ever, and the advent of AI and machine learning means that efficiently processing this information and converting it into genuinely personalized marketing campaigns which match each consumer’s needs is now an achievable target.
As personalized marketing becomes more effective, new opportunities to engage and retain customers will emerge to help marketing managers boost the efficiency of their campaigns.
Expansion of social media management teams
The role of social media in digital marketing is such that many businesses will be looking to expand their social media management teams. In the not-so-distant past, one social media manager may have been enlisted to oversee all things social media, but today some businesses are employing small teams to manage each platform. As we move towards a future where companies have separate teams for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok (and the rest!), open lines of communication between these teams will be vital in maintaining consistency and being able to react quickly to new and emerging trends.
Harnessing real-time messaging platforms
In 2022, customers expect a lot from the businesses they purchase from, and this includes rapid response rates. Real-time messaging channels and, to some extent, chatbots have helped companies to respond to their customers quickly and directly. As the use of these platforms becomes commonplace, marketing teams should recognize that this represents a sizeable opportunity for data collection. Not only can existing data be integrated to assist in the customer communication process but these messaging streams can also prove to be a fruitful source of additional customer data. This in turn can be used to tailor future marketing communication.
TikTok Live and the rise of live commerce
Live commerce, or live stream shopping, has been very popular in China for a while. Basically, live commerce allows sellers to connect with their customers in real time using the comments function. It also means that they can demonstrate their products, answer questions, and run occasional promotions to boost engagement.
Live commerce is already taking off in Thailand and neighbouring countries and the West could be next. Outside of shopping, live cooking and fitness streams are also fast-growing areas which are fuelling consumer demand for live streams. Given that TikTok’s algorithm affords even those with low follower counts the opportunity to gain traction, expect to see significant growth in live stream content over the next few years.
The continuing importance of content creators
Research suggests that a massive 85% of consumers view user-generated content (UGC) as being influential when it comes to their purchase decisions. Consumers continue to associate UGC with authenticity, particularly when the content creators are clearly users and fans of the brand themselves.
Indeed, authenticity is key when it comes to getting influencer marketing right as consumers are becoming more savvy in this respect and are beginning to resist bogus influencers who have no real connection with the products or brands they are paid to showcase. Ultimately, influencer marketing is set to go from strength to strength, but choosing the right influencers for the job will be more important than ever, and this may mean looking beyond traditional celebrities and turning to those with strong organic influence in their fields.