Top digital marketing trends for 2023 — social commerce, conversational marketing, livestreaming, and more
Marketers work at the forefront of the latest social and technological changes. As digital transformation continues to push the needs and expectations of audiences forward, digital marketing trends will continue to develop and accelerate.
That’s why savvy digital marketers are always looking for the trends that define the current market and those that are coming up next. To help you stay competitive, crush your marketing goals, and drive new business in 2023 and beyond, this article will review the top 20 digital marketing trends for 2023.
- Social commerce
- Conversational marketing
- Video marketing and TikTok
- Artificial intelligence
- The evolution of SEO
- Shifting audiences
- Voice search
- Push notifications
- Mobile commerce
- Exceptional customer service and engagement
- Predictive analytics
- Omnichannel marketing
- Privacy and security
- Sustainability and social responsibility
- Amazon advertising
- IoT, AR, blockchain, and emerging tech
1. Social commerce
A small business social commerce store on Instagram.
Social commerce combines social media with purchasing. Customers are able to make purchases within social media applications, without having to open their web browser or another application. Many social media platforms have built-in functionality that allows users to set up shops, list items, and accept payments. It’s convenient for both users and digital marketers.
The idea of social commerce isn’t new, but it’s finally becoming a mainstream shopping alternative. Social media still plays a key role in digital marketing as the number of users and platforms continues to rise. This creates new opportunities for marketers, and the natural progression within social media is commerce.
The role of social commerce will continue to grow in 2023. It offers a foundation for brand-based content and social proof opportunities through customer reviews, employee advocacy, and other forms of content. Removing a step from the buyer journey — tapping from a social media app over to the brand website to purchase — makes it easier to convert social media audiences into customers.
Determine what platform is most suitable for your brand and what kinds of social commerce options it offers. Consider the demographic each social media platform attracts. For example, Oberlo reports that nearly 25% of the total LinkedIn user base are senior-level influencers, making it ideal for B2B vendors. On the other hand, over 50% of TikTok users are under 30 years old, making it more suitable for Millennial and Gen Z customers.
2. Conversational marketing
Conversational marketing — also known as conversational commerce or chat commerce — uses communication platforms and messaging apps to market products, communicate with audiences, and offer support at each stage of the sales funnel in a more casual manner. Examples of this include marketing on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
There was a time when sales and customer service were formal processes, with representatives using “sir” and “ma’am.” However, traditional messaging has adopted a reputation of being overly scripted, forced, or simply too serious. These inorganic interactions now do more harm to a brand’s credibility and turn leads away.
While there’s still a time and place for conventional communication — like offering customer support via email — LinkedIn reports that modern buyers have gravitated toward a more natural experience that suits their timelines.
Conversational marketing also gives businesses the chance to build stronger relationships with consumers, gradually moving them toward conversion. Adopting a natural tone can help a potential customer feel relaxed and more inclined to engage. But making interactions more conversational isn’t a one-time practice. This is an ongoing process that should take place throughout the entire customer relationship.
For example, customer service teams have been instructed to talk to customers in a formal, apologetic tone in the past. This is helpful to an extent but can also have adverse effects by making the recipient feel less comfortable. It’s important to find a balance so your audience has the best possible customer experience (CX).
3. Video marketing and TikTok
Video has always played a crucial role in digital marketing but it’s now the dominant form of content across the internet. According to an annual survey report by Wyzowl, over 80% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. Video has been democratized by the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, the availability of editing tools, and the accessibility of video platforms — allowing businesses and teams of all sizes to create professional videos with ease.
Staying relevant online means maintaining a strong video content strategy. Marketers can leverage various types of video to maintain audience engagement and test responses.
- Customer testimonials make powerful videos since audiences can relate to the client on a more personal level.
- Explainers and product guides are also effective as videos. Users are able to retain 95% of a video message, according to Performante, compared to 10% retention of the same information in conventional text form.
- Short-form video is also popular because users can consume a lot of content in a short period of time. TikTok is no longer a niche service that’s targeted toward younger audiences — it’s an example of how short-form content has become a worthwhile investment for most brands.
If developing video content on your own is difficult, connect with influencers who can provide assistance. Influencer marketing offers advantages like being able to connect with an audience that’s already engaged, outsource creative and content production, and you only pay for results. This type of marketing is successful when there’s a strong alignment between your brand and the influencer’s image and audience. Ultimately, the partners you choose to work with will determine the success or failure of your influencer marketing campaigns.
4. Artificial intelligence
AI has become more relevant as digital marketing has come to require more repetitive tasks and data analysis. Routine tasks like sending the next email or unifying new customer data is best left to artificial intelligence, so team members can focus on other responsibilities.
This rise in popularity is also a result of AI technology becoming more accessible, powerful, and affordable. The $20-billion AI industry is expected to see more than 200% growth from 2022 to 2026, according to Statista, and it offers several benefits to marketers.
- Enable data-driven marketing. You can’t remain stagnant while the rest of the industry progresses, especially as marketing becomes more data-driven each year. AI tools are the key to unlocking and using the huge stores of customer data that most companies are collecting.
- Increase efficiency. More efficient practices can be developed by using AI to support your workflow. Customer data is one area where artificial intelligence can consistently outperform its human counterparts. It’s difficult to match the scale, speed, or accuracy of modern AI systems.
- Improve insights. Machine learning tools can analyze customer behavior to predict the next move and plan accordingly. This could help you deliver more relevant ads and increase your conversion rate without spending any of your own time on ad targeting.
One of the biggest challenges for digital marketers is finding ways to personalize content without adding too much time to their workflows. Audiences have come to expect experiences and messaging that are catered specifically for them. According to Adlucent, 71% of shoppersprefer ads that are tailored to their personalized interests and habits.
While basic personalization tactics like including the recipient’s name in an email subject line are helpful, they’re also quickly being outpaced. Recommended content from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video are examples of effective personalization in marketing. These platforms use petabytes of customer data to identify media that’s related to the content a user typically watches and tailor thumbnail images and messaging to individual users. This strategy increases viewing time and the length of their subscriptions.
Gathering customer data is the first step to creating personalized experiences that stand out from the competition. You can personalize customer experiences at every stage of the buyer journey.
- Personalized landing pages that recognize previous visitors can offer quick links to products they previously viewed or recommendations based on browsing behavior.
- Personalized product recommendations might appear on product pages, retargeting ads, or in follow-up emails. Recommendations can be based on options related to a previous purchase, browsing history, or the user’s demographics.
- Personalized email follow-ups can follow a purchase or a site visit. You might thank a customer for a purchase and ask for a review, or alert them to an item left in their cart.
- Personalized offers should be sent on customer birthdays or other important anniversaries. Birthday emails can be easily automated and sent with a small discount code.
Manitobah tells their brand story on every product page.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to build personal connections and cultivate a strong brand identity. Our brains are hardwired for stories and people especially love human-centered stories.
Instead of simply providing customers with normal marketing materials, content that shares a real experience centered around your product is more effective. It can be tricky to tell stories effectively in a marketing context because it takes time for a narrative to develop. But it can also attract readers and eventually get them to consider your product.
There are several ways to use storytelling in your marketing.
- Testimonials are a common example of brand storytelling. Testimonials highlight how your brand fits into the unique stories of each of your clients. Viewers or readers are able to relate to the experience, helping your brand connect and earn valuable social proof.
- Visual storytelling is also important for your strategy because images and video enhance content and improve readability. This could range from brand photos to videos to graphics.
- Brand stories are a powerful way to incorporate storytelling even before you have good reviews or graphics to share. Be intentional about crafting the story behind your brand or your products and then highlight it across channels as often as you can.
Chatbots have become vital to any customer service workflow, but they’re particularly useful for companies that receive high-volume support requests.
Consumers and buyers in every industry are demanding round-the-clock availability and service. Chatbots are increasing in popularity among businesses and consumers alike. In fact, a Tidio study revealed that 69% of consumers would rather talk to a chatbot than wait for a human customer service representative.
You might be concerned that chatbots are generic and impersonal, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Chatbot platforms today are flexible enough and can be adjusted to meet your specifications, like improved customer response times or pinpointing customer pain points. In fact, Insider Intelligence reports that 40% of internet users actually prefer interacting with chatbots over virtual agents.
Chatbots can act as a first line of defense since they allow you to respond to customers around the clock. They can provide quick and straightforward responses to simple questions or help customers find the appropriate resources, so your support team can focus on more complicated cases.
Let’s say your support team spends 20% of its time responding to the same five questions. You can simply program your chatbot to redirect those users to the corresponding page in your knowledge base or FAQ instead of spending money on that repetitive task.
Livestreaming is when media is simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real time, usually on a social media channel. It’s one of the fastest-growing forms of content in the world and gives audiences a unique way to engage with their favorite creators.
And it’s growing increasingly popular. Twitch, one of the most popular livestreaming platforms in the US, averaged 2.5 million viewers per month by the end of 2022, according to TwitchTracker. Additional popular livestreaming platforms include TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Amazon Live.
Businesses are taking advantage of the growing livestream trend. For example, American clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger advertised products through a livestream. Viewers were given the chance to make purchases by clicking through from the stream itself. This type of seamless experience reduces friction and helps maximize the value of a successful livestream.
9. The evolution of SEO
Keywords are still relevant to search engine optimization, but modern search engine algorithms are very different from the ones marketers were working with in the past. Five or 10 years ago keyword stuffing could get you ranked well in organic search, but now a practice like that could get your site penalized.
Modern search engines are run by machine learning programs that monitor engagement metrics for billions of searches per second. They’re looking for content that answers users’ questions and meets their needs better than anything else, so modern SEO has evolved to develop strategies that focus on user intent and engagement. Google calls these “micro-moments.”
SEO that wins qualified organic traffic in 2023 and beyond needs to:
- Focus on the intent behind the keywords
- Ensure that sites are fast and mobile-responsive
- Investigate winning content in the space and develop strategies to answer intent better than existing content
10. Shifting audiences
Target audiences don’t act the same as they did in the past. Gen Z and Millennial buyers have more purchasing power. According to Bloomberg, Gen Z generated more than $360 billion in disposable income alone in 2021 — more than double the amount from 2018 — and that figure will continue to grow as they begin to enter the workforce.
And their preferences strongly contrast with what brands have come to expect from demographics born before 1990. Meeting audience needs and ensuring you’re targeting the correct audience are priorities. Brands should adapt strategies to appeal to this new generation of consumers.
This trend of shifting audiences also includes the rise of emerging international markets and the relative decline of the United States market. According to Euromonitor, Asia will continue to be one of the most exciting regions among emerging markets in the next two decades. This includes the economies of China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
American consumers still play a vital role in global commerce but they’re no longer as central as they were in the past. The global pool of consumers will be expanded to new middle-class consumers from countries around the world.
Consider how you can reach these new consumers since different cultures, languages, social norms, and online behaviors can present new marketing challenges. This is especially true when it comes to content creation.
11. Voice search
The 2010s saw a dramatic increase in voice search, voice commands, and other voice services, with smart speaker usage more than doubling from 2018 to 2022, according to Statista.
If you aren’t already building content for voice search, you could be missing out on a substantial source of traffic and brand authority. Consumers continue to perform voice searches from smartphones and other devices, creating additional opportunities for digital marketers.
As people become more accustomed to interacting with voice-activated devices, the use of voice search will increase and the technology will improve accordingly. Google’s BERT algorithm update is a prime example. Search engines used to analyze queries word by word, but this update added natural language processing to the search engine’s capabilities, to better understand phrases and natural language.
You can optimize your content for voice search in several ways.
- Address long-tail keywords. This type of search engine query tends to contain longer search terms compared to traditional methods. The search focus has shifted from terse, short keywords to long-tail phrases or entire sentences.
- Produce content around audience questions. Research the kind of questions your target audience most frequently asks and produce content around those queries. This could be accomplished via a detailed FAQ page or a blog post for each question.
- Optimize your website for location. Geotargeting uses location data to display content to customers based on their location. Keep social media profiles and contact information updated, including business hours.
12. Push notifications
A push notification is a direct, real-time alert that a user receives on their phone or other mobile device. They are quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to gain your audience’s attention. Push notifications can drive open rates, conversions, and audience engagement. Receiving permission to send these notifications can be a challenge but they offer a uniquely direct connection. Many audiences are looking at their phones more than they are checking their email inboxes.
Use push notifications sparingly and make them as personalized as possible. Sales and discount offers are great reasons to send push notifications, but the products or solutions highlighted need to be relevant to each user. Sending push notifications for a sale on pet toys to a user who has never shopped for a pet will only earn your brand an unsubscribe.
13. Mobile commerce (m-commerce)
In the past, marketers utilized mobile ads to nudge leads toward a desktop or in-person purchase. However, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital wallets have made it easier to sell to mobile users. Consumers today are likely to use mobile commerce — especially if there are easy payment options available. Statista expects mobile retail commerce in the U.S. to exceed $710 billion by 2025.
To prepare your customer experience for better mobile commerce, start by making sure your website is mobile-friendly. Google offers a free Mobile-Friendly Test that will identify any problems for you. Then, test your checkout process on every mobile device you can. Make sure the process is intuitive and easy to complete.
14. Exceptional customer service
Customer service is crucial to every aspect of the customer journey, which is why simply offering responsive support is no longer enough. Find additional ways to develop a seamless experience and make it easier for the user to shop with your brand. This will be one of the most dynamic areas of digital marketing in the 2020s and beyond.
- Before a purchase decision, customer service might look like live chat support or assistance troubleshooting the user’s problem.
- Near a purchase decision, customer service includes sales support like custom demos or specs.
- After a purchase, customer service includes support for problems or upgrades.
Early support interactions can help remove doubts and motivate leads to complete a purchase. Even after the initial conversion, strong support will improve your relationship with the customer and help maximize their lifetime value to your brand.
15. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics extends trends into the future to see possible outcomes. It’s similar to artificial intelligence, but not quite the same.
Both technologies use existing data and insights to help improve future interactions with customers. But AI is completely autonomous while predictive analytics relies on human interaction to query data, identify trends, and test assumptions. The latter focuses on the past and gathers data to predict what will happen.
Data is the key to many advanced marketing trends, and big data and analytics become more important each year. Expect to see an increase in this type of technology, with more sophistication and in more industries.
According to Gartner, 75% of enterprises will move to using AI for their operational needs by the end of 2024. The number of predictive analytics tools and applications — such as advanced lead scoring, customer segmentation, and personalization — will also increase in the coming years.
16. Omnichannel marketing
Your audience is on multiple channels so your brand should be too. Omnichannel marketing provides a cohesive brand message and customer experience across every channel. Most companies are already reaching audiences on more than one platform so moving to this type of marketing is ideal if you haven’t done so already.
Early omnichannel marketing was complicated due to brand inconsistency across platforms and internal data silos. But contemporary SaaS tools have simplified how brands set up complex campaigns across multiple channels.
In contrast to multichannel marketing, omnichannel unifies customer data and experiences from each channel into a single customer profile. Omnichannel marketing means that the sales team can see which web pages the user has browsed, customer support can see in-store purchases, and marketing teams can choose email campaigns for individuals based on social media activity. The customer experiences one unified conversation with the brand.
17. Privacy and security
As marketing relies more on customer data, customers are also becoming increasingly concerned about how their information is gathered and used. Consumers are even more threatened by the possibility of third-party data breaches, which can impact both small and large businesses. You might think it won’t happen to you, but Statista reports that millions of records are exposed every quarter as a result of data breaches.
A security breach is one of the most costly events that an organization can experience. It can take years to recover from the reputation damage associated with compromised user data — not to mention the direct costs of the breach itself.
Taking steps to protect data improves your credibility while reducing risk. The security of your website itself is also non-negotiable. A study conducted by John Cabot found that 46% of users said they wouldn’t enter any personal information —not even their names — on a site that wasn’t secure. And 64% of those same users said they would leave the website instantly.
While governments around the world are taking steps to limit data gathering and put consumers back in control of their personal data, marketers are still faced with finding innovative ways to continue leveraging data while respecting consumer privacy and engaging in transparent practices.
This will be one of the most complicated and controversial issues in digital marketing for the next five years and likely well beyond.
18. Sustainability and social responsibility
Sustainability has been a major corporate concern for years and it’s only increasing in importance. According to IBM, more than 50% of global consumers feel more strongly about environmental sustainability in 2022 compared to how they felt about the same subject in 2021.
Historically, many companies have focused on business and refrained from making public statements or engaging in controversial issues. But modern audiences prefer businesses that are sustainable and demonstrate some level of mindfulness.
- A Global Sustainability Study recently found that “sustainability is rated as an important purchase criterion for 60% of consumers.”
- Statista reports that 45% of consumers are interested in finding brands that are sustainable or environmentally responsible.
Virtually every business can benefit from sharing about how their brand is committed to social or environmental causes. If your business hasn’t considered sustainability or social responsibility, it might be time to start.
Implementing green language into your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complex, but it does need to be more than a statement. The brand needs to demonstrate that you’re truly concerned about an issue, because modern buyers can see through the lip service.
19. Amazon advertising
We expect 2023 to bring many changes, but one thing that’s staying the same is Amazon’s reign as the largest ecommerce platform.
Some brands are still successfully selling their products independently, but Amazon is currently the number one place for most ecommerce businesses to generate visibility, clicks, and sales. The Amazon ad market grew by 18% in Q2 2022, according to CNBC, making it the fastest-growing online ad platform among giants like Google, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
One of the key differentiators that makes Amazon so successful is the presence of high-intent leads. Someone entering a search term on Amazon usually isn’t window shopping — they’re ready to make a purchase as soon as they find a good product. So it’s no surprise that a well-crafted paid campaign on Amazon can generate a significant increase in sales virtually overnight.
20. IoT, AR, blockchain, and emerging tech
No list of marketing trends would be complete without a nod to the latest emerging tech. While the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain are still hard to predict, all three technologies are changing how brands approach digital marketing.
For example, the Internet of Things is technology that allows us to add connectivity to a dormant object, like lighting that can be controlled by a smartphone. IoT has already been embedded in our daily lives in ways that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago.
The number of users connected to IoT devices and smart objects is expected to increase more than threefold between 2020 and 2030, according to Statista. This growth introduces unique opportunities for digital marketers to advertise organically throughout a customer’s everyday life.
Augmented reality has also been integrated into a variety of innovative marketing strategies. For example, the IKEA app uses AR technology to render virtual objects in a real space. Brands in cosmetics, clothing, and other industries are also exploring ways to implement AR into their websites and apps. AR can create a significant boost to the customer experience while providing interactive advertising.
The metaverse is another promising example of emerging tech for marketing. While the user base is still relatively small, integrated digital experiences such as the metaverse have the potential to completely transform the way we understand the internet.
Stay up to date with the latest trends
New technologies and changing consumer preferences are just a few trends that digital marketers need to know to effectively complete their jobs. There are many other changes occuring in the world of marketing but this list covers the most important trends for 2023.
When you’re ready to get started on your 2023 marketing campaigns, Adobe Marketo Engage is a complete solution that can ensure you’re targeting the correct audience while focusing on customer engagement, personalized experiences, optimized content, and omnichannel deliverables.
Watch an overview of Adobe Marketo Engage or tour the product for more information.