What digital marketing trends will shape the coming year? From the "Gen Z effect" to AI domination, here are the top digital marketing trends we're predicting for 2023.
With the ongoing growth of TikTok, the introduction of AI, and the monumental rise of the creator economy, 2023 is shaping up to be a hectic year for digital marketing. Fuelled by technology, innovation, and a consumer-driven landscape, the coming year will see big shifts in how marketers think about attracting and engaging customers online (and offline).
We predict 2023 to be a year of embracing new technology, revisiting traditional marketing methods, and doing things differently. So what digital marketing trends will shape the coming year? From the “Gen Z effect” to AI domination, get ahead with these top digital marketing trends for 2023.
1. Realignment of Online & Offline Marketing
If you thought the only effective place to advertise was online, think again. Despite the pandemic turning millions of consumers into digital shoppers, brands are beginning to embrace the opportunities presented by offline promotional tactics again too. That’s right – 2023 will be about omnichannel marketing and complementing online activity with real-world, immersive experiences.
Omnichannel marketing has been around for a while now, which means that marketers have become better at building their marketing strategy on multiple platforms,” says Roxana Motoc, Head of Marketing
at SocialBee. “Because this trend brings audiences a fully-fledged experience of the brand, omnichannel marketing will be super relevant in 2023.”
Take Glossier’s pastel-pink pop-ups, for example. These Instagram-worthy installations in locations like London, Los Angeles, and Miami elevate the customer experience by offering a feel-good space to make meaningful connections that translate to digital brand exposure.
“As recent layoffs at digital giants like Facebook suggest, the pandemic didn’t lead to a world where offline marketing is no longer relevant,” says Julia Fernandez, Envato’s Senior Content Marketing Manager. “Now brands need to refresh their approach to digital marketing in the context of how it interacts with real-world experiences and interactions. For brands working across travel, events, and entertainment, a post-pandemic world also means marketing to global audiences once more, which requires a switch in thinking and approach.
Whether you’re a freelance creative or a small business owner, it’s easy to showcase your skills and promote your products – when you know how. Check out our digital marketing guide to learn how to develop a consistent visual identity, solidify your social media strategy, and get to grips with SEO.
2. Gen Z “Enters the Chat”
Next, we’re talking about a generation – Generation Z, to be exact. “Gen Z” refers to people born between 1997 and 2012 – a technology-driven and increasingly financially independent demographic that will be a crucial focus for marketers and advertisers in 2023.
“Gen Z is becoming a key focus demographic for marketers,” says Bogdan Carlescu, VP of Marketing at Creatopy. “Gen Zers are coming of age, becoming financially independent, and gaining spending power. Companies are now looking to attract this younger generation and convert them into paying customers. So far, brands like Amazon, Nike and Shein have stood out as Gen Z favorites.”
As brands seek to convert young followers into paying customers, they must learn to speak Gen Z’s language. Many marketers are now engaging in ‘algospeak’ – a term that refers to abbreviations, code words, or turns of phrases designed to bypass content moderation filters on social media channels. For example, ‘panini’ or ‘panda express’ popped up when platforms started down-ranking videos mentioning the ‘pandemic’ to combat misinformation.
Millions of minutes of #genz content have now been uploaded to TikTok. We’re seeing an influx of short, snappy videos illuminating how this digital-forward generation approaches everyday moments – like texting a friend to say they’ve arrived rather than knocking at the door. And it’s not unusual to see the attitudes of different age groups towards this unique generation – such as this millennial boss who posts montages of emails from his Gen Z employees. Our favorite sign-off has to be ‘hasta la pasta’!
3. TikTok Continues to Dominate
Overflowing with energetic dance routines, relatable comedy skits, and beauty hacks – TikTok offers an endless entertainment loop. However, in a twist no one saw coming, the world’s fastest-growing social media channel is now also being used as a search engine. According to Google, up to 40% of 18-to-24-year-olds use TikTok as a source of information.
“In my opinion, in the next year, TikTok will become a more popular network for information search,” says Daria Ahieieva, Outbound and Inbound editor at Serpstat. “While TikTok is known for entertainment, the share of people replacing Google with TikTok is constantly growing. TikTok’s algorithms adapt better to the user’s interests, and the ranking factors are more obvious than Google’s. In addition, TikTok is a UGC platform, so the content is “first-hand”. I won’t be surprised if more brands publish how-to or other educational content on TikTok to connect with the younger demographic.”
As more and more brands aim to establish a presence on the platform, learning how to rank for SEO on TikTok will be an increasingly important digital marketing skill in 2023. Cue a myriad of how-to and explainer videos posted to – you guessed it, TikTok – telling people how to do just that. When we last checked, the hashtag ‘tik tok keywords’ had already amassed 3.9 million views. Influencer marketing is also expected to take off in TikTok in 2023, with more micro- and macro-creators spruiking brands on the platform.
“Similar to Instagram’s first years, TikTok is a platform populated mostly by creators,” Elena Cucu
Content Manager & SEO Specialist at Socialinsider. “Even if some brands have come up with a strategy that succeeded in getting people’s attention and sympathy on TikTok, with the platform’s audience’s increased need for authenticity, TikTok influencer marketing is expected to take off. With TikTok’s most famous creators, like Charli D’Amelio, starting to create more content for different brands – like was Instagram’s case back in the day – influencer marketing on TikTok is likely to become the next big thing on social media.”
Make your TikTok videos pack a punch with these TikTok templates designed especially for the visual-first channel. The animations and pop-up icons add professional polish to every video and ensure viewers can’t help but click like, comment, and share.
Take your TikTok marketing skills to the next level with tips and tricks from Envato’s very own TikTok manager. From using the algorithm to your advantage to creating captivating content, Hannah Copeland shares her best practice advice to grow your brand or business.
4. More Emphasis on Digital CX
We’ve already talked about the importance of interacting with consumers in the real world, but in the same breath, digital CX is becoming increasingly important.
“As the world returns to ‘normal’, businesses will have to up their digital CX game because people are no longer constrained to online shopping,” says Jen McKinnon, Video Marketing Manager at Envato. “Digital CX now must be as personal, convenient and enjoyable as a trip to the shopping mall.”
The answer lies in understanding your digital touchpoints and how they affect consumer perception and brand loyalty. For example, over 65% of customers say that their experience on a website or app significantly influences their willingness to recommend a brand. Brands continue to close the digital and physical gap by delivering compelling customer experiences – such as virtual changing rooms and interactive product demonstrations. The Ikea Place app, for example, relies on AR technology to help shoppers see how an item would fit into their space before they visit a store.
“I think that interactive product tours are really going to take off in 2023,” says Todd Kunsman, Marketing Team Lead at EveryoneSocial. “Instead of filling out a form to get a demo, more people want to experience a product without talking to sales upfront. It could be a video walkthrough of the product or an interactive experience where the person can click around, but brands implementing this will have a competitive edge going into 2023.”
An excellent digital customer experience rests in your ability to provide a great user experience – so make 2023 the year you upskill your UX abilities. This wireframe and sitemap creator from Envato Elements will come in handy for web designers who want to streamline the customer journey. Additionally, including interactive content elements such as product-related quizzes or onboarding flows across digital touchpoints may improve user experience while providing you with more insights about customers’ needs and wants
Learn how to optimize the user experience with our UX design trends blog, which explores the importance of personalization, the demand for data visualization, and a move towards micro-interactions.
5. Brands Prioritize Authenticity & Transparency
Authenticity has been an essential element of digital marketing strategy for some time – and transparency will continue to be crucial to brand storytelling in 2023. More than ever, people want to see a genuine commitment to a cause, and 45% of Gen Z say that a brand ‘appearing trustworthy and transparent’ is a significant motivating factor for engagement.
“Consumers today aren’t just buying a product or service, but also the identity that comes along with it,” says Laura Moss, Content Marketing Manager at EveryoneSocial. “In 2023 we’ll see more companies using digital marketing to authentically tell their brand’s story, as well as in improving their employer brand to attract not just customers, but also employees. This kind of storytelling involves using all the tools at marketers’ disposal – especially social media – to communicate the company’s mission, values, and employee stories. Investing in this kind of digital storytelling isn’t about a quick conversion; it’s about securing consumer trust and loyalty and transforming these customers into long-term brand ambassadors.”
Consumers no longer tolerate performative activism or brands jumping on the bandwagon of a cultural moment. Just think of the backlash businesses (rightly) experience when their logo lights up with rainbow colors during Pride month, despite failing to demonstrate their support of LGBTQ+ rights throughout the rest of the year.
To get this right, marketers must communicate their company’s mission, values, and employee stories accurately and effectively across channels. Successful influencer partnerships can also be beneficial for driving a business’s purpose, but it can be easier said than done in a crowded and evolving creator economy.
Brands should avoid inauthenticity at all costs, so be sure to put your audience’s values first, speak their language, and work with well-aligned content creators and influencers to build trust. Above all, be transparent – like The Ordinary, whose social posts go behind the scenes to explain the exact ingredients used in the company’s products and talk to laboratory staff about their favorite formulations.
6. Integration of AI Tools
As digital marketing becomes increasingly complex, artificial intelligence tools will become mainstream. AI is already used to perform various tasks, from analyzing audience data to generating and delivering content, achieving impressive results.
“With content creation like video marketing and blog content becoming increasingly in demand and taking up a ton of resourcing, I think a lot of marketers and brands will lean into AI generated content,” says Tony Do, Marketing Manager at HubSpot. “AI is becoming more and more humanlike, with content becoming better day by day. In the past, AI-generated content seemed robotic and bizarre. But, with the improvement of AI over the past few years, you can easily access AI generators whether it be for blog or content creation, branding and more. With companies looking to downsize or save costs, AI content for SEO provides a new avenue to create SEO-optimized content that is both cheap to produce and likely to trend. There was even an article about an artist winning an art contest using AI-generated art. This is going to become a thing of the future.”
For example, when eBay used an AI-powered platform to optimize the language used in its email marketing, the eCommerce giant saw substantial improvements across many metrics – including a 31% increase in clicks. Brands like Sephora, Whole Foods, and Pizza Hut also use increasingly sophisticated AI-powered chatbots to communicate with customers, offer highly personalized experiences, and guide decision-making.
AI can even uncover our secret eating habits. Ben & Jerry’s used AI to dig into data from various sources to reveal a link between ice cream and breakfast. The result? A range of cereal-flavored ice creams like Fruit Loops and Frozen Flakes.
Thanks to its ability to boost business productivity and give marketers better insights into a target audience’s activity than ever before, the rise of AI is only going to continue.
“While AI-generated content will be heavily sanctioned in the future, AI systems that refine customer buying journeys, create interactive experiences, and improve targeting and segmentation are likely to become widely used,” says Roxana. “Why? Because digital marketing is more complex than ever, and AI reduces the workload for marketing execs and small business owners.”
7. Podcast & Audio Marketing
Podcasts continue to be popular among influencers, content creators, media outlets, and publications, providing a way to connect with audiences without needing visuals or video. In 2023, we predict that even more brands will explore audio marketing – a potentially more personable way to connect with consumers than other forms of marketing.
“With podcasts becoming more and more popular among influencers, marketers, and companies, a ton of brands are opting for audio marketing,” says Tony. “In early 2022, Joe Rogan signed an exclusive deal with Spotify to host his podcast show worth over $200 million dollars. Podcasts are a huge way to connect with people without extra work like visuals or video marketing, thus allowing people to create more content on scale with less resourcing. In addition, we’re seeing podcasts being seen as more personable for listeners compared to traditional media like email or content marketing.”
This shift to spoken word-of-mouth marketing has also given rise to audio advertising opportunities, with ads from fashion labels to electric car manufacturers and digital banks popping up before, during, and after third-party podcasts. For example, Canadian whisky brand, JP Wisers, ran a campaign on Conan O’Brien’s Needs a Friend podcast which was spoken by the talk show host himself.
As podcast listening grows, marketers are sitting up and taking notice. After all, 49% of ‘super listeners’ – people who listen to an average of 10.5 hours of podcasts a week – say the format is the best way for a brand to reach them.
Whatever your podcast preferences, you’ll find the perfect intro music or backing track on Envato Elements, like this laidback hip-hop track from OddVision – just one of the many royalty-free audio files available for download. A picture says a thousand words, so ensure your podcast’s cover art is on point with these eye-catching and fully customizable templates.
8. Employee Brand Advocates & Influencers
Don’t underestimate the power of employee endorsement; for many brands, employees can be their biggest cheerleaders. We know influencer marketing works because people trust people over brands, so who better to market a company’s products and services – or the company itself – than the people who know it best?
“It’s one thing to provide educational and valuable content to your customers,” says Julia. “It’s another to do that and have that content be written, presented, and delivered by those in the same circumstances and roles they are in. This is what brands like Later are doing – operating as a colleague, peer, or cheerleader. Not only is their content targeted and highly relevant for the social media manager audience, but it’s also produced by people going through the same challenges as their target audience. As a result, empathy, authenticity, and expertise are through the roof.”
Statistics show that employees can reach a 561% larger audience than official brand channels, so in 2023 we expect to see more and more companies investing in social media training and employee advocacy solutions.
Many brands are embracing their employees’ authentic voices – including us! For example, Tom Graham, Tuts+ Video Editor, shared Envato’s font prediction for 2023 on TikTok, adding a human face to a snappy selection of type-themed trends. And when Envato went officially carbon neutral, the leader of our very own Sustainability Committee took to LinkedIn to spread the good word.
Similarly, Bulla’s PR and brand communications manager received plenty of positive reactions when sharing the news of a recent product launch with her professional network. Not only did she advocate for the brand, but she also shined a light on the sustainability initiatives that make her proud to work for the company.
“Influencer marketing will continue to be effective in 2023, but I think more organizations will recognize the value of employee influencers specifically,” Todd explains. “We know influencer marketing works because people trust people over brands, so who better to market a company’s products — or the company itself – than the people who know it best? Leads generated by employees convert seven times better than paid ads, and nearly 31% of high-growth organizations have an employee advocacy program in place – more than double the average of low- to medium-growth companies. These top brands – including Meta, Adobe, Highspot, United Airlines, and Qualtrics – have seen the ROI that employee influencers generate.”
Social media testimonial templates are great for displaying real-life reviews – from customers or colleagues. Post them across various platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and start sharing your fabulous feedback. Or, to launch an influencer campaign that will reel in your audience, check out our influencer marketing guide.
9. A Shift in SEO & Search
The way we search is changing. There are now more options to find what we’re looking for, thanks to Google’s image and voice search options. Users can now drop an image in the search bar, upload a file, or paste a link to find similar visuals, which is especially useful if you don’t know how to describe your query. Alternatively, click the microphone icon to speak your search request. These new search opportunities will likely significantly impact how we discover and purchase products. And as a result, SEO will become much more complicated.
“Google and SEO are becoming increasingly complex. In the past, SEO and rankings were typically dominated by content, backlinks, domain strength. But with Google’s new rich results and SERP features, I think SERPs and SEO rankings are becoming more and more complicated,” says Tony. “The algorithm isn’t as easy to hack and a lot of search pages are looking to change. Rich results have added ratings, pricing, FAQs, videos, and more. Companies have had to quickly adapt to the new SERP features in hopes to get covered by Google. I think Google and other search engines will continue to test new features to see which one fits best.”
Up until recently, rankings were dominated by content, backlinks, and domain strength. But with Google’s rich results adding ratings, pricing, FAQs, videos, and more into the mix, marketers, and businesses must quickly adapt to appear at the top of search engine results pages.
“With the trend towards visual search, Google now uses augmented reality to make the results more visual,” says Daria. “You can use images instead of text or keywords, which is especially useful when you don’t know how to describe your query. Continuing this technology, Google invented Multisearch – which helps to shop by picture or add additional parameters for search – which is likely to become a big eCommerce trend this year.”
If you want to know how to run cost-effective advertising on a paid platform, it’s time to boost your SEO skills. Learn everything you need to know about SEO – from using keyword clusters and writing great featured snippets to optimizing your video thumbnails and YouTube channel for search.