Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

2023 Trends Digital Marketers Should Use Right Now

Courtney Herb

Director of Brand, Content, and Community

Ahhh, a new year. Time for turning over a new leaf, setting new goals, and, for marketers, developing a new strategy to meet ever-expanding company objectives. And while savvy strategists have their own processes for keeping up with trends, figuring out what methods to try or emerging channels to invest in can be exhausting. Especially with an uncertain financial landscape ahead, you’re probably being asked to make 2023 the year of “doing more with less,” which can make planning a monumentally difficult task. 

So, what strategies will bring you the most bang for your buck in the new year? Here are four marketing trends to prioritize in 2023. 

1. Influencer Marketing

There’s a reason influencers continue to top annual marketing trends lists—the return on investment is undeniable. While no method of marketing is “recession-proof,” using micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers) and nano-influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers) has proven its resilience over time, requiring a marginal financial investment compared to traditional celebrity spokespeople, yet still seeing huge results. 

Much of this can be attributed to the meteoric rise of TikTok, which continues to see increases in both consumer and brand usage. Although YouTube and Instagram currently remain on top in terms of influencer marketing dollars spent per platform, TikTok is projected to overtake YouTube for second place by 2024 according to an eMarketer study. This surge can be attributed to TikTok creators generally charging less for sponsored content compared to competitor platforms, although this gap is quickly closing as the channel’s popularity continues upward.

With companies projected to spend a whopping $6.16 billion on influencers in 2023, as per eMarketer, it’s easy to want to dive in head first to get in on the action. However, it’s no longer enough to partner with a creator for a 30 second testimonial video and call it a day—influencers are now core to social advertising itself. 

Creator-Style Advertising

Swipe through just about anyone’s social feed, and it quickly becomes difficult to tell which content is from an average user and which is from a paid influencer. This is due to the rise of creator-style advertising, where brands take content from paid influencers and use it in full in their ad campaigns. There are no flashy graphics or large taglines; just a creator speaking about how much they love a product or service, just like a trusted friend would. 

Authenticity is the name of the game with this type of advertising. Take, for example, the fragrance company, Phlur, who teamed up with beauty and lifestyle creator Rachel Rigler. For the launch of Phlur’s new fragrance, Missing Person, which buyers can customize to smell like a loved one, Rachel shocked her boyfriend by surprising him with a scent that smelled just like her. When seen in-feed, this doesn’t strike viewers as an ad; it’s simply a genuine reaction that many others are likely to have to such a unique product. 

The toiletry CPG brand Tom’s of Maine also does a great job in this realm of authentic influencer advertising, especially with smaller influencers. In one of their recent campaigns, Tom’s sent free products to lifestyle influencers like Rachel Ibbison in exchange for running giveaways on their social platforms. The result? Nearly 4.4 million impressions! By choosing influencers with small, but dedicated, followings, brands can tap into communities that would otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to access via traditional ad campaigns, creating genuine connections through influencers’ glowing endorsements.

2. Contextual Targeting

For years, cookie-driven behavioral targeting has ruled the digital advertising world. However, with the restriction of third party cookies already taking place on Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox, with Google Chrome following suit in 2024, contextual targeting is poised to make a big comeback.

Contextual targeting isn’t anything particularly new, and it's actually rather simple. Rather than focusing on users’ online behaviors (Google searches, clicked links, browsed product pages, etc), contextual targeting focuses on matching the context in which a target audience is browsing. Typically, marketers using contextual targeting will choose between either content keyword parameters that describe their product/service or category parameters that place their ads in a relevant topic area. For example, a hiking company advertising boots may use the keywords “2023 hiking boots” or “waterproof boots” as content keywords or “Outdoor Activities” as a category. 

While contextual ads aren’t as hyper-personalized as behavioral, they do have the very important distinction of abiding by online data protection legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). They also appear much less “spammy,” which could work in favor of bolstering your brand as respecting customer privacy. 

Learn more about how contextual targeting works, its importance, and how to incorporate it into your 2023 marketing strategy by checking out our Ultimate Guide to Contextual Targeting!

3. Social Video

Similar to working with influencers, video marketing is another strategy that pops up on trends lists such as this one year after year. Watching videos now accounts for more than half of the time spent on social media by users, and marketers are taking notice. In fact, it is projected brands spent more than $76 billion on video ads in 20222, with no signs of slowing down in the new year. 

It should be no surprise that TikTok is, once again, behind a marketing trend’s popularity. As users continue to flock to the platform, so do brands, trying to capture and mimic the entertainment factor of short form video. Some, such as language learning app Duolingo, are taking the entertainment route, trying to amuse their target audience as much as possible. Others, like Gucci, are putting their products front and center, highlighting their bags and shoes in beautifully compelling videos that are hard not to watch.  

While short form video isn’t a new medium (remember Vine?) many social media behemoths hadn’t necessarily been prioritizing this bite-sized content format in recent years. Fast forward to today, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are all racing to create features in an attempt to catch up to TikTok’s overwhelming short-form domination.

YouTube, the original master of social video, is making a particular effort to enhance its platform and remain the ultimate video channel. To combat TikTok’s popularity among influencers, it recently announced creators will now receive a 45% cut of ad revenues for content made for its short-form “Shorts” feature. This revenue-sharing move puts it ahead of both Instagram Reels and TikTok, meaning influencers may be far more inclined to create content on YouTube in 2023—something you should keep in mind as you plot both your influencer and video marketing strategies.

4. Consolidated Reporting

Out with disparate spreadsheets, in with centralized performance reporting! Especially with the decline of third-party cookies, marketers need to get smart about organizing and utilizing the data they have to tailor their strategies to how customers shop and interact with their brands. However, this feat may seem easier said than done, especially for brands that don’t have a dedicated analytics team. 

Especially for brands that use multiple marketing channels, multichannel marketing reporting is a crucial part of measuring whether or not a strategy is working effectively. These reports can provide overviews of a brand’s digital initiatives and the specific goals they're tied to, giving companies visibility into their bottom lines, making it easier to spot opportunities for improvement, and saving them money and time.

Consolidate With AdRoll

While tracking this may seem challenging, there are fortunately many tools available designed to unify this data into dashboards that makes it easier for marketers of all analytical skill levels to digest. As an example, check out how AdRoll’s Cross-Channel Performance Dashboard uses data to help brands analyze campaign performance, run reports, and make enhancements without having to crunch the numbers on their own.

While the future is always somewhat unknown, your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be. By staying on top of digital marketing trends and keeping an eye on performance, you’re in a great position to make 2023 your brand’s most successful year yet!