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9 Cutting-Edge Digital Marketing Trends for 2023: Gen Z, AI & Brand Advocates

What digital marketing trends will shape the coming year? From the "Gen Z effect" to AI domination, here are the top digital marketing trends we're predicting for 2023.

Posted 25 Jan 2023
9 Cutting-Edge Digital Marketing Trends

With the ongoing growth of TikTok, the introduction of AI, and the monumental rise of the creator economy, 2023 is shaping up to be a hectic year for digital marketing. Fuelled by technology, innovation, and a consumer-driven landscape, the coming year will see big shifts in how marketers think about attracting and engaging customers online (and offline). We predict 2023 to be a year of embracing new technology, revisiting traditional marketing methods, and doing things differently.

So what digital marketing trends will shape the coming year? From the “Gen Z effect” to AI domination, get ahead with these top digital marketing trends for 2023.

1. Realignment of Online & Offline Marketing

Glossier's pastel-pink pop-up store

If you thought the only effective place to advertise was online, think again. Despite the pandemic turning millions of consumers into digital shoppers, brands are beginning to embrace the opportunities presented by offline promotional tactics again too. That’s right – 2023 will be about omnichannel marketing and complementing online activity with real-world, immersive experiences.

Take Glossier’s pastel-pink pop-ups, for example. These Instagram-worthy installations in locations like London, Los Angeles, and Miami elevate the customer experience by offering a feel-good space to make meaningful connections that translate to digital brand exposure.  

If you want to make your online marketing pop with personality, give these animated Instagram templates a go. Or, try offline marketing before you buy with this billboard mockup, which positions your branding in a cool, urban environment. 

Whether you’re a freelance creative or a small business owner, it’s easy to showcase your skills and promote your products – when you know how. Check out our digital marketing guide to learn how to develop a consistent visual identity, solidify your social media strategy, and get to grips with SEO.

2. Gen Z “Enters the Chat”

Next, we’re talking about a generation – Generation Z, to be exact. “Gen Z” refers to people born between 1997 and 2012 – a technology-driven and increasingly financially independent demographic that will be a crucial focus for marketers and advertisers in 2023. 

As brands seek to convert young followers into paying customers, they must learn to speak Gen Z’s language. Many marketers are now engaging in ‘algospeak’ – a term that refers to abbreviations, code words, or turns of phrases designed to bypass content moderation filters on social media channels. For example, ‘panini’ or ‘panda express’ popped up when platforms started down-ranking videos mentioning the ‘pandemic’ to combat misinformation. 

@foxandrobin

It’s a Gen Z world, I’m just their millennial boss #genz #millenialboss #millenialsoftiktok #startup

♬ Borderline – Tame Impala

Millions of minutes of #genz content have now been uploaded to TikTok. We’re seeing an influx of short, snappy videos illuminating how this digital-forward generation approaches everyday moments – like texting a friend to say they’ve arrived rather than knocking at the door. And it’s not unusual to see the attitudes of different age groups towards this unique generation – such as this millennial boss who posts montages of emails from his Gen Z employees. Our favorite sign-off has to be ‘hasta la pasta’! 

To explore one of the biggest Gen Z trends right now – noughties nostalgia – check out our blog on the Y2K aesthetic. Dive into the cultural phenomenon of the early 2000s and discover fonts, social media templates, and textures that will give your assets an authentic turn-of-the-century appeal. 

3. TikTok Continues to Dominate

Overflowing with energetic dance routines, relatable comedy skits, and beauty hacks – TikTok offers an endless entertainment loop. However, in a twist no one saw coming, the world’s fastest-growing social media channel is now also being used as a search engine. According to Google, up to 40% of 18-to-24-year-olds use TikTok as a source of information

So why is it so popular? Firstly, TikTok’s algorithms adapt quickly and effectively to users’ interests. Secondly, TikTok’s user-generated content feels fresh, authentic, and first-hand – precisely what the platform’s younger demographic responds to. 

As more and more brands aim to establish a presence on the platform, learning how to rank for SEO on TikTok will be an increasingly important digital marketing skill in 2023. Cue a myriad of how-to and explainer videos posted to – you guessed it, TikTok – telling people how to do just that. When we last checked, the hashtag ‘tik tok keywords’’ had already amassed 3.9 million views. 

Make your TikTok videos pack a punch with these TikTok templates designed especially for the visual-first channel. The animations and pop-up icons add professional polish to every video and ensure viewers can’t help but click like, comment, and share. 

Take your TikTok marketing skills to the next level with tips and tricks from Envato’s very own TikTok manager. From using the algorithm to your advantage to creating captivating content, Hannah Copeland shares her best practice advice to grow your brand or business. 

4. More Emphasis on Digital CX 

We’ve already talked about the importance of interacting with consumers in the real world, but what can marketers do to ensure their digital customer experience – or CX – is as enjoyable and engaging as possible? 

The answer lies in understanding your digital touchpoints and how they affect consumer perception and brand loyalty. For example, over 65% of customers say that their experience on a website or app significantly influences their willingness to recommend a brand. Brands continue to close the digital and physical gap by delivering compelling customer experiences – such as virtual changing rooms and interactive product demonstrations. The Ikea Place app, for example, relies on AR technology to help shoppers see how an item would fit into their space before they visit a store.

An excellent digital customer experience rests in your ability to provide a great user experience – so make 2023 the year you upskill your UX abilities. This wireframe and sitemap creator from Envato Elements will come in handy for web designers who want to streamline the customer journey. 

Learn how to optimize the user experience with our UX design trends blog, which explores the importance of personalization, the demand for data visualization, and a move towards micro-interactions.

5. Brands Prioritize Authenticity & Transparency

Instagram post from The Ordinary

Authenticity has been an essential element of digital marketing strategy for some time – and transparency will continue to be crucial to brand storytelling in 2023. More than ever, people want to see a genuine commitment to a cause, and 45% of Gen Z say that a brand ‘appearing trustworthy and transparent’ is a significant motivating factor for engagement. 

Consumers no longer tolerate performative activism or brands jumping on the bandwagon of a cultural moment. Just think of the backlash businesses (rightly) experience when their logo lights up with rainbow colors during Pride month, despite failing to demonstrate their support of LGBTQ+ rights throughout the rest of the year. 

To get this right, marketers must communicate their company’s mission, values, and employee stories accurately and effectively across channels. Successful influencer partnerships can also be beneficial for driving a business’s purpose, but it can be easier said than done in a crowded and evolving creator economy. 

Brands should avoid inauthenticity at all costs, so be sure to put your audience’s values first, speak their language, and work with well-aligned content creators and influencers to build trust. Above all, be transparent – like The Ordinary, whose social posts go behind the scenes to explain the exact ingredients used in the company’s products and talk to laboratory staff about their favorite formulations. 

6. Integration of AI Tools 

Sephora chatbots

As digital marketing becomes increasingly complex, artificial intelligence tools will become mainstream. AI is already used to perform various tasks, from analyzing audience data to generating and delivering content, achieving impressive results.

For example, when eBay used an AI-powered platform to optimize the language used in its email marketing, the eCommerce giant saw substantial improvements across many metrics – including a 31% increase in clicks. Brands like Sephora, Whole Foods, and Pizza Hut also use increasingly sophisticated AI-powered chatbots to communicate with customers, offer highly personalized experiences, and guide decision-making. 

Instagram Reel from Ben & Jerry's showing the use of AI

AI can even uncover our secret eating habits. Ben & Jerry’s used AI to dig into data from various sources to reveal a link between ice cream and breakfast. The result? A range of cereal-flavored ice creams like Fruit Loops and Frozen Flakes. 

Thanks to its ability to boost business productivity and give marketers better insights into a target audience’s activity than ever before, the rise of AI is only going to continue. 

7. Podcast & Audio Marketing 

Podcasts continue to be popular among influencers, content creators, media outlets, and publications, providing a way to connect with audiences without needing visuals or video. In 2023, we predict that even more brands will explore audio marketing – a potentially more personable way to connect with consumers than other forms of marketing. 

This shift to spoken word-of-mouth marketing has also given rise to audio advertising opportunities, with ads from fashion labels to electric car manufacturers and digital banks popping up before, during, and after third-party podcasts. For example, Canadian whisky brand, JP Wisers, ran a campaign on Conan O’Brien’s Needs a Friend podcast which was spoken by the talk show host himself. 

As podcast listening grows, marketers are sitting up and taking notice. After all, 49% of ‘super listeners’ – people who listen to an average of 10.5 hours of podcasts a week – say the format is the best way for a brand to reach them. 

Whatever your podcast preferences, you’ll find the perfect intro music or backing track on Envato Elements, like this laidback hip-hop track from OddVision – just one of the many royalty-free audio files available for download. A picture says a thousand words, so ensure your podcast’s cover art is on point with these eye-catching and fully customizable templates.

Or, if you’re starting your first podcast, find everything you need to know – from top podcast trends to how to promote your podcast – on the Envato Blog.

8. Employee Brand Advocates & Influencers

@envato

We predict #fonts in #2023 will have an invigorating and eclectic mood, from goofy sans serifs to subtle sci-fi fonts, 80s editorial typefaces to retro condensed typestyles. If you want to stay ahead of the typographic curve, you won’t want to miss this essential guide to trending fonts! #Trend #Trends #Typography #GraphicDesign

♬ original sound – Envato

Don’t underestimate the power of employee endorsement; for many brands, employees can be their biggest cheerleaders. We know influencer marketing works because people trust people over brands, so who better to market a company’s products and services – or the company itself – than the people who know it best?

Employees can reach a 561% larger audience than official brand channels, so in 2023 we expect to see more and more companies investing in social media training and employee advocacy solutions. 

Many brands are embracing their employees’ authentic voices – including us! For example, Tom Graham, Tuts+ Video Editor, shared Envato’s font prediction for 2023 on TikTok, adding a human face to a snappy selection of type-themed trends. And when Envato went officially carbon neutral, the leader of our very own Sustainability Committee took to LinkedIn to spread the good word.

Similarly, Bulla’s PR and brand communications manager received plenty of positive reactions when sharing the news of a recent product launch with her professional network. Not only did she advocate for the brand, but she also shined a light on the sustainability initiatives that make her proud to work for the company. 

These social media testimonial templates are great for displaying real-life reviews – from customers or colleagues. Post them across various platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and start sharing your fabulous feedback. Or, to launch an influencer campaign that will reel in your audience, check out our influencer marketing guide

9. A Shift in SEO & Search

The way we search is changing. There are now more options to find what we’re looking for, thanks to Google’s image and voice search options. Users can now drop an image in the search bar, upload a file, or paste a link to find similar visuals, which is especially useful if you don’t know how to describe your query. Alternatively, click the microphone icon to speak your search request. These new search opportunities will likely significantly impact how we discover and purchase products. And as a result, SEO will become much more complicated.

Up until recently, rankings were dominated by content, backlinks, and domain strength. But with Google’s rich results adding ratings, pricing, FAQs, videos, and more into the mix, marketers, and businesses must quickly adapt to appear at the top of search engine results pages. 

If you want to know how to run cost-effective advertising on a paid platform, it’s time to boost your SEO skills. Learn everything you need to know about SEO – from using keyword clusters and writing great featured snippets to optimizing your video thumbnails and YouTube channel for search. 

That does it for the top digital marketing trends for 2023! For more great trends content, check out our top Graphic Design Trends, Branding Trends, and Color Trends for 2023.

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