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Where Is Digital Marketing Heading In 2023?

A blog by Jude Manning-Smith (Digital Marketing Apprentice)

Working in digital marketing, my job moves quickly. I have to keep on top of all the latest trends on social media, online, in apps, technology, software and in general of what people are talking about so that I can make sure I am up to date in such a rapidly changing world and able to predict where digital marketing is heading in 2023.

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To do this, I have my headphones on all day, every day. I listen to all the latest podcasts, tutorials and Q&A sessions with expert online marketeers that have got to where they are by knowing what is coming and being the first ones to do it. For my college course and apprenticeship here at Trident Marketing, I need to know what is currently happening in the industry and what to expect over the next couple of months and years. But I also keep up to date because I genuinely find it fascinating and want to know more about the latest changes in digital marketing.

One example of someone I listen to is Gary Vee who, after moving to America in 1978, was the first to properly use the internet for marketing purposes. He was setting up PPC ads when it was just 20p to own the word ‘wine’, and if anyone searched that in America, they would see him straight away. He also said that TikTok was going to be the next big thing back in 2015 when it was called

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AI Is The Next Big Thing

So, where am I expecting digital marketing to head in 2023? AI! Everything is going to be AI, also known as Artificial Intelligence, but I think the A should stand for Automation. Everyone is talking about the incredible things that can be done and created with AI, and more and more AI businesses are open. As there is such a massive supply of it, that’s further driving the demand. The biggest problem people have in a busy modern life, where they are used to paying for something with one touch and everything being at their fingertips, is time. People want amazing results in little to no time. AI is the answer to this.

But how will the storm of AI affect digital marketing? It will streamline the process. Instead of spending an hour coming up with content ideas, you can ask an AI service like Chat GPT to come up with 20 ideas, and then you can have a 10-minute conversation discussing the best ones. Then if you need to add music to the content rather than searching for copyright-free songs, you can get AI to produce five completely new songs!

The new world of AI comes with several concerns, the first being plagiarism. The AI systems such as Chat GPT base captions on real people and their written words. If you ask it to write a caption for a new property for sale, it is going to look at every property developer in the world and every caption they have ever written to create a unique one based on them. When you type in something on ChatGPT, no matter how many times you try it, you will always get a different and unique answer that you can run through plagiarism checkers and see pass with flying colours.

I use text-to-image AI a lot which is when you can get AI to create a completely unique picture based on what you tell it to do. So if I ask AI to draw me a picture of a monkey in a spaceship going through spaghetti land drinking water, I will get a completely unique picture that has never been seen before. Then I can edit the quality, size, colours etc, or even set the style to look like a Vincent Van Gogh painting. To create that image, it has had to look at every picture of a monkey on the internet to see what a monkey looks like and then draw it, but that does not mean it has copied those images. If I was to sit and draw it myself, when I draw the monkey, it will be based on every monkey I have ever seen before.

That doesn’t mean I am copying other people’s drawings; I just need a basis of what something looks like in order to recreate it. The same applies to words. When you write an article you have to research and look at other people’s work in order to have the knowledge to create the written work. This is exactly what AI is doing.

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The second big concern with AI is how it will impact digital marketing. Surely if we can get a computer to do something, we no longer need a marketing company to help us. No, that is not the case. Let’s look at tractors, for example. Back in the day, everyone was a farmer and made their money from crops. Along came the tractor, and people feared for their jobs, but it actually created new roles – tractor drivers, tractor maintenance etc. AI is definitely going to change digital marketing, but it most certainly will not nullify it and could increase the need for people with a deeper understanding of the world.

AI still needs the human aspect. A graphic designer is still way better at text-to-image than the average Joe because they can visualise what they need it to look like, focussing on the pixels and quality and understanding the colour palettes and what will work together. The same with scheduling; the social media and digital marketing team here know a lot more than the AI machine. It can give us ideas, but we know our clients, the target audience and what will work for different things. AI is automating the process, but the follow-up decisions and quality checking are still very much humanised.

At the moment, the majority of AI apps are still very expensive. ChatGPT is a free AI Chatbot but even that only has data up to 2021. So, it is still something that needs a lot of work. Throughout 2023, I can see people within the digital marketing industry realising how big the AI world is and trying to get on top of it and adapt it into their marketing strategy.

Short-Form Content Is King

The other massive trend taking over digital marketing this year will be short-form content and TikTok.

Over an eighth of the world are on that app, and it has a space for everyone from every industry. People need to go where their target audience is. Plus, it is a free app that sees some serious results. In other forms of marketing, using leaflets as an example, you would have to pay for the printing costs and then the cost to actually deliver the leaflets or get them into a local paper. TikTok is free and opens you up to an audience of over one billion monthly users that spend, on average, 95 minutes a day on the app.

Say you’re a singer; you used to have to put your music onto a CD, get a bus down to the record label, stand outside and hope to see someone and then hope they go in and listen to it and not put it straight in the bin. With TikTok, you can record a song on a Monday, upload it on Tuesday and the Tuesday after, you can be enjoying a lobster dinner with Drake.

At the moment, 18% of companies are using TikTok for digital marketing. This is going to go up in 2023, but not as much as it should. In the past, people have been very slow to adapt new things into their digital marketing plans. It took about three years for Facebook Ads to take off. It is only going to be free and as good as it is for a certain amount of time, so we need to be making the most out of it and working out how to use it to its full potential.

TikTok is not for everyone, though. You need to have a serious think about your target audience and what works best for them. For example, housing developers that are targeting first-time buyers, and TikTok has a younger audience that are more the age to be looking at their first homes. This audience are also one-time buyers, they are not going to buy five houses; they only need one. With TikTok, you aren’t marketing to repeat customers but new customers on their ‘For You Page’ that probably won’t even follow you, so it works better for this target audience. But, if you want to build a rapport with an older target audience and heavily rely on repeat custom, it may not be the best platform for your marketing.

The other thing with TikTok, and with all digital marketing really, is to make sure that you are not doing anything half-heartedly. Trying to understand the algorithms of different social media platforms has boggled many marketing teams, but there is not a team sat at TikTok HQ with their laptops open deciding to give you ten views and then 10,000 to your competitor. There are filters which determine this by looking at how long it took you to make the video, whether you edited the video on the app, what music you used, what is trending etc.

To work out what is trending for your sector, I would suggest that you search for it on the app so, following the example I have used, I would search #propertydevelopment and then watch the top 50 videos making notes of 5 things about each. If 40 have a voiceover, I need to think about this. If over half have people dancing, I need to delegate some dancing around the office.

Short-form content is not just on TikTok. We also have Facebook Reels, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, which are bound to grow throughout 2023 and be adapted into businesses’ digital marketing strategies.

If you would like to talk to us about your digital marketing or want some help getting your business to enter the world of TikTok or AI, then contact us today:
01473 823700

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