With 2023 around the corner, overall preparedness and confidence in your marketing strategy are key to a successful start to the year. With this in mind, we asked Direct Agents leadership to share their diverse perspectives on growing industry trends to look out for.

Changes to Performance Max

Google continued to push toward fully automated campaigns with its release of a new all-in-one campaign type, Performance Max, in 2021. In 2022 it fully replaced Smart Shopping campaigns. What will 2023 bring? Hopefully more insights and even better performance! It feels like Google is still working out the kinks with its newest campaign type and things can only go up from here. Those who use pMax hope that Google will let marketers peek behind the curtain to see how individual placements are performing and make adjustments accordingly.


CTV and Video Growth 

With what feels like an ever-impending recession, the expectation may be to assume that top funnel marketing dollars will be cut going into 2023. That may be true overall, but not the case for Connected TV. IAB research shows that CTV will have its top year with double-digit increases in investment as brands devest from traditional linear TV.


Visual Search on the Rise 

Shopping ads and image extensions are taking up more and more of the SERP with text ads being pushed further down the page. Google understands that product visuals help the consumer quickly make purchasing decisions. With this, there is also a rise in users searching with visuals. Visual search uses artificial intelligence technology to help people search through the use of real-world imagery, rather than through text search. Want to find a chair to match the one in your living room, but don’t know the brand? Snap a photo and let AI do the rest! A number of companies are developing their own tech around these features. Expect to see more uses of visual searches across Google, Amazon, Pinterest, and more!

LinkedIn B2B Ad Growth

LinkedIn should be an essential part of any digital B2B advertising strategy, but continues to be underutilized. This creates an opportunity for disproportionate growth which marketers will be looking to capitalize on. As the efficiency and platform capabilities become more robust for buyers, expect significant growth in 2023 ad revenue. 

Influencer Marketing

As advertising costs continue to rise and the advertising environment gets increasingly more cluttered, businesses will look for more native ways to promote their products and services. Influencer marketing will become more of a mainstay channel for marketers. The implied and seemingly organic endorsement will carry more value as influencer marketing becomes more of a profession. Influencer storytelling, promotional strategy, and – hopefully – tracking will improve, attracting more advertisers to test these partnerships.

Foundational Strategy

Customer acquisition and strict ROI-based marketing have become increasingly more difficult. Advertising costs are up and tracking transparency is down, making it harder to justify the singular emphasis on bottom-funnel tactics. The sobering need for a more strategic and longer-term approach to customer acquisition will have marketers shifting to foundational components. Expect greater focus on things like customer insights, competitive landscape analysis, SEO, CRM & loyalty, customer experience, and community management.

Simplicity is Key

Growth has a way of breeding complexity in business. However, simplicity impacts everything from brand loyalty to revenue. With the ever-changing economic landscape, consumers are striving for simplicity in their daily lives, both culturally and economically. Furthermore, as attention spans continue to drop, brands face the challenge of finding ways to cut through the noise. Start by getting to the point and paring down your key value proposition and unique differentiators into short, quick and simple messages.

Truth or Canceled, Transparency is King

Over 90% of consumers say transparency by a brand is important to their purchase decisions. Transparency leads to trust and trust is the foundation of building a loyal customer base. Transparency is conveyed through a brand’s communication practices, their willingness to be open and accessible, and their ability to acknowledge and admit their mistakes. By incorporating this into your business strategy, consumers will remember your values and be more inclined to make a purchase – and even pay more for your products.


The Comeback & Rebrand of Experiential Marketing 

The demand for in-person events across all industries has increased. However, after years of virtual events, they are taking on a new look. Experiential marketing focuses on creating a memorable experience for consumers looking to purchase a product. It humanizes your brand, sets your brand apart from your competitors, and allows you to develop more personal relationships with your customers. Furthermore, the increase in AR/VR allows audiences to step into an immersive experience that is not only effective but fun, and allows for user generated content to be shared on social media. As digitally immersive experiences continue to become more accessible to larger audiences, expect a comeback and rebrand of experiential marketing as you know it.

Automation Making A Greater Impact on Marketing in 2023

Over the past few years, media buying particularly on social platforms has become increasingly automated. Platforms have been recommending best practices such as broad targeting and automatic placements designed to give algorithms more control of ad delivery. As a result, media buyers have less visibility and control over their media than ever before in the digital age of marketing.

In 2023, automation will begin impacting other areas of marketing at scale. The recent emergence of AI software such as chatGPT gives a clear indication of the direction AI & marketing are heading. Soon, aspects of marketing like copywriting, research, data aggregation, and more will be done by AI. The silver lining is that this will free up time for employees and more employee resources can be dedicated to strategic thinking.


Amazon Moves and the Industry Shakes

Taken directly from Megan Conahan’s December Monthly Marketing Memo.

Amazon has completely turned eCommerce on its head. Like it or not, they are a force to be reckoned with. They created a world where product searches no longer start on Google but on Amazon. In this new world, previously untouchable Google is losing search market share, and Amazon is recapturing it. More product searches happen on Amazon than on Google, and we are starting to see dollars flow away from traditional search engines and into Amazon.

What should we expect in 2023? Amazon will start allowing more DTC brands to advertise on their site even if they don’t sell on it, but only if the brand uses Buy With Prime (Amazon’s DTC fulfillment offering). Currently, it’s a rather complex user journey from ad to brand website, but it does hint at Amazon’s ambition to become an ad platform for all. It would be easy to see how Amazon would allow any brands to sell on their site if Amazon powers another part of their business (payments, fulfillment, borrowing, etc.). Offering brands an ad platform in exchange for Amazon handling some of the back end is a win-win for Amazon. For brands, it would offer access to Amazon’s ad platform, where most product searches begin. With the challenges that advertisers are dealing with, starting with iOS14, the Amazon ad platform is highly coveted.  

Key Takeaway: Brands can no longer survive by only capturing intent. Building a brand on Amazon will become a priority, as the powerhouse will start incentivizing those brands that do. Dive into your current Amazon campaigns and rethink some of your 2023 priorities.

Additional Thoughts

  • Investing in content is of the utmost importance. Before making a purchase, 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content. There is also an expectation that brands create content that gains their interest.
  • Paid social investment is being diversified away from Meta (Facebook & Instagram). Direct Agents’ client spend in non-Meta social channels such as TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. more than doubled YoY.

Andrea Duffy-Cabana, Director, Paid Search

Mark Glauberson, EVP

Megan Conahan, EVP

Monnica Farag, Director, Growth Strategy

Trevor Clune, Associate Director, Paid Media

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