With the arrival of the new year, what does 2023 hold for digital marketing? SEO, PPC, and Affiliate teams at online marketing agency Glass Digital have revealed the trends, tools, and technologies that they think will lead the way in 2023. Here is how to discover cutting-edge tips and tricks that could just help you boost your online visibility next year.
Google could crack down on poor quality or inaccurate content
Recently, in August 2022, Google released the helpful content update that shone a light on exactly what sort of criteria Google believes webmasters should be thinking about when creating content.
These initiatives form part of Google’s broader effort to populate their search engine with helpful content that is written by people, for people.
Marcus McConkey, Head of Technical SEO at Glass Digital, said: “In 2023, I expect that Google will only continue to prioritise original content that ultimately helps another human with their query.
“That doesn’t just apply to fake news or inaccurate info, either. Google’s helpful content rules could also apply to any pages that just aren’t serving the needs of the user, or which rely on poor quality content to bulk out the word count. So, maybe you’ll no longer have to read 800 words of filler before you can get to that recipe you want to try out!”
Google Shopping features could improve brand recognition
According to Statista, in 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately $5.2 trillion worldwide. This figure is forecast to grow by 56% over coming years.
The past year has seen Google roll out a number of such incentives, including new features that help retailers to differentiate themselves on Shopping — especially sustainable brands. With interest in search terms like ‘electric vehicles’, ‘solar energy’ and ‘thrift stores’ reaching new highs globally over the past year, Google is now rolling out SERP features that promote sustainable choices to capture this exploding market.
The rise of AI for content creation
The latest advancements in machine learning have meant that AI-generated content is now much more convincing, well-written, and accurate than ever before. So, in 2023, we could start seeing AI being used more and more as a writing assistant for copywriters, allowing them to automate tedious jobs and increase output without impacting the overall quality of work.
Lydia Carroll, Head of Content at Glass Digital, says: “Now that we’re actually seeing what the software can and can’t do, it’s becoming clear that AI actually represents a brilliant opportunity. Embracing this new tool could eliminate tedious jobs, help us work faster and more accurately, and free up time for more valuable copywriting work.”
Original content is helpful content
It’s no longer enough to simply rehash content that’s already been covered elsewhere. Marketers and copywriters need to make sure they’re offering original insight or information that users won’t find on another result on the SERP.
But how can brands offer unique, insightful content? “Copywriters can add expertise to their content by seeking insight from third-parties or featuring new and unique perspectives via interviews,” Lydia says. “Finding new and dynamic ways to meet the user’s needs — like using video content, graphics, or interactive experiences — could also become more popular as brands look to meet user requirements in the most user-friendly way possible.”
Brands will need to be more mindful and empathic
Ultimately, all content should aim to be user-centric and meet the needs of the searcher. But the nature of those needs is likely to get a lot more complicated as we go into 2023.
“Inflation and the cost-of-living crisis are causing a lot of difficulties for consumers, and brands need to be really mindful of that when creating content for campaigns,” Lydia says. “The challenge for marketers in 2023 will be creating content that genuinely helps their target audience and strikes the right tone.”
User generated content
Rebecca Herworth, Head of Outreach at Glass Digital, said: “We’re seeing a trend for more personal content that focuses on ‘real’ users, and case studies and real-life examples are really in-demand with journalists right now. This type of campaign allows publications to distribute genuine, authentic content that they know will resonate with their audience.”
By creating content that is focused on user needs, brands can streamline their link-building and take an integrated approach across all digital marketing efforts.
Integrating outreach and PPC campaigns to amplify results
With Google Shopping changing its model and therefore changing the way brands develop their PPC approach, it will be easier than ever for SEO outreach and PPC strategies to align their campaigns to help site performance.
Before now, PPC budgets have been a contributing factor when choosing ad words to target. However, in 2023, an aligned strategy will mean that SEO and PPC can work in unison to dominate the SERPS for certain keywords that will highly resonate with target consumers.
Video content unlocks new audiences
TikTok continues to be a key driver for this trend, in particular Gen Z who actually use the social media platform as a search engine to find relevant content. By creating TikTok videos or even using existing clips within a case study campaign, link-builders are providing journalists with extra assets and allowing them to be more inclusive with their content.
Rebecca said: “We find that video is a really effective way to work with journalists, as many will be thinking about metrics like engagement and online shares when designing their content. When done well, video content can help them reach their KPIs by providing a highly sharable asset, which is both helpful and engaging for the user.”
Social and environmental responsibility
Now more than ever, brands need to be conscious of their responsibility in the content they are distributing. Brands will have to tailor their content to align with the current economic climate and think carefully about the tone of their content and how it will be received. Similarly to the E.ON campaign, OVO Energy were way off the mark with their campaign around how to stay warm this winter.
In 2023, sincerity and responsibility will be especially important for campaigns about sustainability. According to Rebecca, “It is no longer enough for brands to declare that they are being environmentally conscious. Next year, it is going to be vital for these companies to practice what they preach.”
Dark mode is the new black
In 2023, brands will be looking at how they can adapt their designs to make sure their customers are getting the best possible experience. One common trend that’s cropping up more and more are dark themes, especially on mobile and tablet devices, which allow the user to control the colour and brightness of an app or site. This gives users more freedom and customisability in terms of how they receive information and engage with content.
Adam Hogg, Head of Development and Design at Glass Digital, said: “This trend has been slowly growing in popularity over recent years, but looks to be here to stay now that many of the biggest tech hardware companies are getting in on the action. For example, OS and many Apple apps now support dark mode options.”
The future is above the fold
Adam said: “In 2023, designers need to make sure the most engaging elements are above the fold, so users are actually seeing them. Technology is developing faster than ever and new device shapes and sizes are being released all the time, which risks messing up the layout and pushing those important elements out of site. Keeping designs flexible and responsive on all devices is key.”
Adaptive brands colours
With consumers become more ethically minded, brands are becoming more conscious of social trends and awareness campaigns. Going beyond brand guidelines by adapting company logo colours to show support for a cause can allow brands to show their values and nail their colours to the mast — literally. For instance, this year, many companies switched to a rainbow logo in support of Pride Month.
To stand out from your competitors, custom illustrations can set you apart and help you connect with users. It goes a long way to help a brand and its values be recognised across different platforms.
Illustrations can also help companies explain processes much quicker, which will catch the attention of users and enable a story to be told more rapidly than via written content.
Contextual marketing in a cookieless future
Marketers are expected to invest heavily in contextual marketing, using keywords to help target their audience and reach new customers with similar profiles,
As we look ahead into the cookieless future, we can expect on-page analytics, social listening and conversational marketing to be the main factors in planning a strategic marketing campaign that reaches the intended target demographics.
Out with the new, in with the old: retaining existing customers
With the cost of targeting and reaching new customers growing as a result of going cookieless, retaining existing customers will be the key to keeping affiliate revenue up.
Looking ahead into 2023, it is likely that we will see publishers, influencers, and other forms of affiliates being used to retain existing customers, rather than reaching for new ones.
Influencer marketing platforms
One of the trends in that will play a significant part in affiliate marketing come 2023 is tracking influencer efforts through creator platforms and the affiliate networks, such as Partnerize or AWIN.
Many affiliate networks now offer account creation for influencers, making it much easier to track campaign results without needing to be signed up to an influencer platform, which often requires a monthly subscription. Affiliate networks also make it easy to award the desired commission to each influencer.
Key affiliates to look out for in 2023
Which affiliates are set to be big in 2023? Here, Karina Bajega, Performance Marketing Manager at Glass Digital, shares her pick of the most promising affiliates for next year.
Through 2021-2022, we’ve seen Google dip it’s toes into a ‘visual storytelling’ era through its introduction of image extensions, Discovery campaigns and of course, the mighty Performance Max. The last of these, ‘P.Max’ — designed to reach customers at multiple touchpoints as they deviate across different platforms and devices — has to a point eradicated the Paid Search strategies advertisers have become accustomed to over the past few years.
Jess Freer, Head of PPC at Glass Digital, said: “We anticipate 2023 to continue this trend in diversification as advertisers expand their horizons across multiple platforms.
“Google and Facebook — or Meta as it’s now known — are the bread and butter of PPC, and we don’t see this changing anytime soon. However, as short-form video formats continue to soar in popularity, advertisers will be looking to allocate increased budget towards the likes of TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest. Through P.Max, Google is already automatically converting images into video slideshow ads, leaving little option for advertisers who are reluctant to explore this format.”
GA4 will take the reigns — whether marketers like it or not
2023 will see GA4 take the analytical reigns, which is likely to adjust advertisers’ approach to data analysis. The event-based model of GA4 will focus on increasing the positives as opposed to minimising the negatives. The consensus here is that through the emphasis on ROI metrics, advertisers may find it harder to scale performance upwards without negatively impacting the ROI itself. That or, it may be Google’s clever way of disguising the larger budgets required through consistent CPC inflation.
The end of Similar Audiences
The sunsetting of Similar Audiences is scheduled for 2023. This will mean advertisers will be forced to find new ways of utilising first-party data for reaching new customers. Custom intent audiences will grow in use as PPC Managers adopt combinations of website visitors, newsletter subscribers and specific keyword searches to develop audience lists of broader relevance. As this audience type can only be used across P.Max, Discovery, and Display, we forecast a larger share of budget allocated across these campaign types as a result.
TikTok, arguably the home of short-form video, is continuing to rise in popularity. Over next year, it’s possible that the platform may even start to creep up on some of the biggest channels, including behemoths like Amazon.
Jess said: “As any advertiser is more than aware, the auction insights report barely exists without an Amazon mention coveting the highest impression share result. With TikTok Shop allegedly aiming to be the next Amazon, we anticipate increased budget fluidity between Google, Amazon and TikTok over the next year.”
Man vs machine
Over the past few years, advertisers have seen AI and automated bidding become the default of any PPC campaign strategy. It’s pushed account managers to assess the fundamentals of an account structure on a more frequent basis to ensure Google is receiving the correct data and audience signals it requires to accurately inform it’s learning mechanisms. Without this backbone in information, you’re unlikely to reach your campaign goals or those coveted KPI’s. These back-to-basics factors are too often overlooked by marketers, leaving business owners frustrated that their ‘plug in and go’ approach didn’t work out.
Whilst not yet mainstream, voice search has been steadily growing in use over the years with Alexa and Siri becoming more adept at quickly responding to queries without the user needing to lift a finger. Turning your home into a ‘smart home’ is just an Amazon order or IKEA trip away, and our research suggests that voice search will grow alongside people’s reliance on smart home technology.
Jess said: “Whilst we’re not claiming Voice search will be the next hot topic, we do anticipate a messaging adjustment that incorporates voice searches. Text ad and website copy will take a more conversational tone to match a vocal query more effectively. Advertisers will be keen to stay ahead of the game across 2023, so that their copy is well-equipped, with a full data history, to compete in vocal based search auctions.”
Few industries move quite so fast as the digital sector, which is why it’s so vital to stay ahead of the curve. So, if you’re planning your strategy for next year, now is a great time to consider how you might incorporate these trends into your digital marketing campaigns for success in 2023, and beyond.