Top Insights on Digital Marketing Trends in 2023 [Brandwatch report]

Marketers in 2023 will need to navigate new technologies and platforms to build connections and followings for their brands. This report highlights the power of trends in digital marketing, including influencer partnerships, metaverse strategies, and augmented reality. You will find here insights on the direction of digital marketing and how some brands are using these trends.

So, stay with us and learn the insights, or check out the full report here.

Trend 1: The popularity of scrappy content is on the rise

Lockdowns made it impossible for brands to gather crews for high-production-value video content, leading to the rise of unpolished, raw content. This trend continues to gain popularity on social media, with some brands even using low-cost production methods for unexpected places. 

Unpolished content is likely to remain popular and can benefit cash-strapped content teams, but raises questions for brands that value a polished aesthetic. Unsurprisingly, TikTok has been the platform on which unpolished content has thrived.

Trend 2: Influencer marketing is here to stay

Influencer marketing is a growing trend, with the global market size surpassing $16 billion in 2022. Brands are shifting towards utilizing smaller, more affordable content creators who produce high-quality content without a large fee. 

The rise of virtual influencers is a new concept that brands need to embrace to stay ahead of the curve. These artificially generated characters are gaining in popularity and curiosity on social media, making them a modern way of influencing. While the idea may seem strange, 35% of American consumers purchased a product or service promoted by virtual influencers in 2022. 

Using a virtual influencer, Prada created Prada Candy. Known as Candy, she is a virtual muse for the perfume of the same name.

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

As the market is expected to grow by 26% from $4.6 billion by 2025, marketers should explore this new phenomenon and its potential for their brand.

Trend 3: Being ethical is totally on trend

Investing in ethical business practices can lead to greater profitability and employee loyalty. Sustainability and inclusivity are becoming increasingly important to consumers and businesses alike, with 80% of companies planning to increase their investments in sustainability. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

Brands that prioritize sustainability and inclusivity in their marketing efforts can attract and retain a more diverse customer base. Inclusive advertising, featuring individuals from different identity groups, is particularly effective, with 59% of Black viewers more likely to buy from such brands. 

In 2023, brands must continue to implement ethical practices and prioritize inclusivity in their digital marketing strategies to stay competitive.

Trend 4: The end of cookies

Google plans to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers in 2023, which could impact ad tracking and change the way marketers gather data. As a result, marketers will need to consider new ways to find data, and there is likely to be a rebalance of digital ad spending to include more brand-building and less over-targeting. Leading with a strong brand identity will be crucial for consumers to recognize a brand across its digital presence. 

Automated Creative has created an innovative way to test new ads for clients based on data-driven decisions from what consumers are saying online.

“The shift towards a cookieless future naturally makes a lot of us uneasy. But ride the storm. On the other side is a more transparent, creative, and ethical way of marketing.”

Kiril Kirov, Senior Digital Growth Manager, Brandwatch

Trend 5: Brands combat social media fatigue

Social media usage peaked during the pandemic, but a Global Web Index report reveals a 12% increase in individuals claiming they use social media less than before. 

Gen Z is particularly concerned about time spent on social media, and 53% of mentions about wanting to leave social media were categorized as sad. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

Brands are taking notice and offering ways for audiences to take a break from social media. Boredom is the primary reason for not deleting social media, and brands are incorporating strategies to combat social media fatigue.

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

Trend 6: The rise of communities

The desire for deeper online connections has led to a shift towards community platforms such as Reddit and Discord, with younger audiences seeking privacy and authenticity. Brands can tap into this by creating communities where like-minded individuals can connect, increasing the potential for brand loyalty. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

Lego Ideas is an example of a brand that has successfully leveraged community engagement by creating a co-creative platform for its customers to share ideas and connect with each other. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

With the rise of Web3 and decentralized networks, there is an opportunity for brands to provide more privacy and authenticity to their customers. Research shows that consumers are more likely to become loyal to a brand if they are part of a community with like-minded people, and brands like Lego have already seen success with co-creative communities.

Trend 7: Shopping with augmented reality

The pandemic has driven the growth of augmented reality technologies, which can help brands connect digital and physical experiences and reach younger consumers. 

The AR and VR market is expected to exceed 450 billion U.S. dollars by 2030. Brands can use virtual try-on features in retail to enhance the digital shopping experience, and there is potential for AR technology to revolutionize the healthcare industry. 

Consumers expect a seamless connection between digital experiences and physical stores, and brands that excel in using AR technology can gain a competitive advantage.

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

Trend 8: Gamification takes a new level with metaverses

Metaverses were a hot topic in 2022, with over 19.2 million mentions and 265k articles published. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

McKinsey & Co. predicts that the metaverse could be worth 5 trillion dollars by 2030, with 25% of people spending at least one hour a day in a metaverse by 2026. Metaverses offer an opportunity for brands to create new experiences for consumers, especially younger people who spend more time on platforms like Fortnite and Roblox. 

Gamification is an essential marketing tool to connect with them. Luxury brand Gucci opened a garden in Roblox, and the virtual bags from the event were resold for higher prices than their physical counterparts.

Trend 9: Innovative brands continue to experiment with emerging technologies

Brands are embracing emerging technologies such as:

  • AI, 
  • machine learning, 
  • NFTs, 
  • and blockchain for creative marketing campaigns. 

However, there is a risk associated with using new tech for marketing purposes. NFTs have received much excitement, but search data shows that consumer interest in NFTs may have peaked and is in decline. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

Marketers should be cautious before investing in expensive new activations, especially when budgets are tight. While experiments help push the industry forward, there is a need to balance innovation with risk management.

Trend 10: Content in multiple formats

Consumers want personalized and diverse content experiences, and brands need to keep up by offering a range of formats, including text, audio, video, and even multisensory experiences. As the demand for content continues to grow, brands must identify the content styles that their consumers want to consume. 

While no single format will rule for long, podcasts are a booming example of the popularity of audio content. 

Source: 2023 Digital Marketing Trends report

In addition, some brands are even experimenting with multisensory experiences, with 6/10 consumers expecting to experience natural smells digitally by 2030. 

Ultimately, brands need to offer a broader catalog of experiences to meet the demand for personalized and tailor-made content, identifying the formats that best demonstrate the value of their content to encourage action from their audience.

Last Words

Trends are currently at their peak, and new ones are emerging. By analyzing the above data and studying the brands cited, marketers can gain a clear understanding of the current digital marketing world and how to use these trends to achieve their goals.

We hope that you, too, will draw useful insights for your business. Sign up for our newsletter to get new information on a regular basis.