5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2023 | Top strategic changes you should consider this year

After the obligatory “happy new year,” and “hope you had a great break,” the most common phrase in the emails of DKC Analytics staff is something like, “what new strategies should we be looking at this year?” While the response is bespoke, some trends are clear.. Here are five digital marketing, data, and content shifts every major organization should be thinking about in 2023. 

  1. An unpublicized shift in LinkedIn’s advertising that is a game changer for reaching VIP audiences…

For years Facebook and Twitter have allowed you to target their users with the same content, but served outside of their platform. They call this an “audience network” and it means you can reach the same eyeballs for much less money because you’re reaching them across the whole internet. 

At the end of 2022 LinkedIn finally launched that same capability. But there’s a major difference: LinkedIn’s professional data used for targeting is orders of magnitude superior to Facebook. The point? The cost of promoted content for specific professions or job titles has plummeted faster than bitcoin. 

Real life example:

A media company working to reach senior level decision makers in public relations and journalism was having difficulty scaling these audiences on more traditional social marketing platforms.

Their CPM on LinkedIn before Audience Network: $40

And after: $8… just 20% of previous cost!

  1. The platform you dismissed two years ago is now a must for every major brand in America…

We’ve officially reached the point where you can no longer ignore the potential of TikTok. Targeting is weak and their promoted content options are still quite limited compared to Facebook. Plus, success on the platform often requires a different approach to creative. 

But none of that matters because TikTok is where the party is at. As a result, engagement is sky high, and costs are extremely affordable. We’re even having TikTok success with academic or issue-based content, and topics for which you couldn’t imagine designing a teenage dance. Our official stance on TikTok advertising has amended from “a must-have if you need to reach young audiences,” to, “a must-have for any omni-channel digital ad effort.”

Real life example:

A major children’s book company was looking to expand video views during their holiday campaign and utilized TikTok advertising for the first time. CPM’s were below $1.50 with CPC’s below $.35. Not only were costs efficient, the engagement rate was ~5%, leading to thousands of followers and hundreds of thousands of likes.

  1. Continuing improvements in market research have created a tipping point…

Ten years ago people were skeptical that online survey research could yield better results than a phone poll. Five years ago people were still wondering how it would work. Now we’re full steam ahead. Survey research is having its Model T moment and it’s no longer just for the well-heeled. Why? The data. 

Simply put, targeting for survey research has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year. This means we can now quickly survey people who bought particular products, shopped at specific stores, are employed in special jobs, or even share a unique opinion or worldview. And it can happen in almost any county, at very low budgets, and in very short turnaround time. 

Real life example:

A major hospitality company needed strong research to buttress the CEO’s thought leadership plans. In just one weekend, a scientific sample of 5,000 American vacationers was completed, for less cost than a traditional 500-person phone poll.

  1. The difference-maker for omnichannel digital advertising is this 3-letter term…

Human history is a story of one group finding a slight edge that turned into massive gains – from  the English longbows that still haunt French memories of the Battle of Agincourt to Google’s search algorithm relegating to the dustbin of internet history. In 2023 we live in a world where expertise in Meta, programmatic display, and even native digital advertising is relatively commonplace. Enter CTV. 

Cable subscriptions are down to 2-in-3 US households and will keep falling. But streaming platforms are professionalizing their advertising options (especially the data) and making CTV an increasingly attractive way to gain an edge in reaching target audiences. The early adopters will reap the spoils of this battle because they’ll have the highest quality content placed alongside the highest quality media.

Real life example:

A professional sports team looking to cut costs on tv advertising shifts their budget to a local CTV ad buy. They did this while adding behavioral data overlays that found specific fans of the sport, team and live sporting events in close proximity to the arena. 

  1. Stop relying on this ubiquitous type of person in the digital marketing landscape…

You guessed it, it’s the platform salesperson, disguised as an expert, but incentivized with a bonus to get you to spend more on Google/Meta/Twitter/etc. Service levels in the post-COVID era have dropped to abysmal lows, with platforms cutting support, and eschewing salaries needed to employ actual experts. 

Alongside this trend is an ever-changing data landscape, with frequent surprise eliminations of audience targets you might rely on. There’s a universal conclusion smart leaders have come to: mitigate these risks by investing in your own data. This means building email lists, paying attention to remarketing audiences, and capturing device IDs. All of this can later be used to generate a look-a-like target that’s often superior to what a digital platform has to offer on its own.

A Bonus Trend:

Buy low, sell high…

We’re talking about Twitter of course. While some major brands jettison the platform and reports write its obituary, you might want to seize the opportunity. Less competition and more user attention = superior results at lower costs. Assuming, of course, you’re willing to tolerate the risks. 

Interested in learning more about upcoming trends in digital marketing and what that could mean for you? Contact us here!