Digital Marketing Tactics in 2023: What Worked, What Didn’t


Hey there, fellow digital marketers! It’s been a year all right… Let's dive into what's been hot and what's not in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing in 2023.

Founder / Head of Growth
December 12, 2023
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

So, why go digital you ask? Well, with everyone practically living online, it's the best way to reach and engage your audience. Social media, Google, blogs, emails – you name it. It's all about building that online presence, boosting brand awareness, and getting new customers.

The beauty of digital marketing lies in its data-driven precision. You can laser-target your audience without burning through your budget like traditional mass marketing. Plus, real-time analytics give you the lowdown on your campaign's effectiveness and customer behaviour.

Here are some trends that Virtual Marketers saw gaining traction in 2023:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

If you use AI in digital marketing for personalisation, predictive analytics, and automation you’re likely providing a better experience for your audiences. Chatbots, recommendation engines, and AI-powered ad targeting are becoming widely used and can increase preference for brands when their customers can get the information they need, immediately.

The goal of AI is to create machines or systems that can mimic certain aspects of human intelligence, enabling them to perform complex tasks without explicit programming.

Applications of AI are diverse and encompass various industries, including healthcare (diagnosis and treatment planning), finance (fraud detection and algorithmic trading), marketing (personalisation and predictive analytics), and robotics, among others. As technology continues to advance, the field of AI is expected to play an increasingly prominent role in shaping the future of various industries and aspects of everyday life. So a big tick for 2023 and beyond.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on developing algorithms and statistical models that enable computers to perform tasks without explicit programming. The core concept behind machine learning is to give machines the ability to learn from data and improve their performance over time without being explicitly programmed for every scenario.

Machine learning is applied in various domains, including natural language processing, computer vision, healthcare, finance, recommendation systems, and more. Examples of machine learning applications include spam email filtering, image and speech recognition, virtual personal assistants, and predictive analytics.

As technology continues to advance, machine learning plays an increasingly crucial role in automating complex tasks and extracting meaningful insights from large datasets.

Voice Search Optimisation

As voice-activated devices become more prevalent, optimising content for voice search has become a priority. Marketers are adapting their strategies to accommodate natural language queries. These devices including Siri and Alexa are becoming more and more common ‘go to’s’ for instant information and entertainment.

Interactive Content

Consumers are expecting more engaging experiences, and interactive content like polls, quizzes, and interactive videos which are becoming more common. This type of content encourages user participation, can increase brand engagement and is most often used on social media.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

If you’d like to create a more immersive and engaging brand experience you can use AR filters on social media platforms. VR experiences for product demonstrations i.e. ‘Virtual Try On’, and interactive virtual events are increasingly popular amongst online shoppers.

Shoppable Content

Social media platforms are integrating more e-commerce features, allowing users to shop directly from the platform. They can now purchase on shoppable posts, stories, and live streams making the process more seamless. See our recent Monthly Mashup for more on these developments

Inclusive Marketing

Brands are increasingly focusing on and celebrating diversity in their marketing campaigns. This involves creating content that represents a wider range of demographics and cultures.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC continues to be a powerful tool for building trust and authenticity. Brands are encouraging customers to create and share their own content, including reviews, testimonials, and product photos. If you search a company, and see their Google Reviews, this is a great sign their customers are happy to speak publicly about their experience interacting with their brand.

Privacy Conscious Marketing

With increasing awareness about data privacy, marketers are adapting to new regulations and emphasising transparency in data collection and usage. Strategies that respect user privacy are gaining importance and focus.

Short-form Video Content

Platforms on social media have highlighted the success of short-form video content. Brands are leveraging these formats for creative and engaging marketing campaigns. It only takes a few seconds to capture someone's attention using video, and the more authentic the video the more engaging it is with target audiences.

In-Market and Intent-Based Targeting

Marketers are focusing on reaching audiences at specific stages of the buying journey by using in-market and intent-based targeting depending on their stage of the funnel. This involves identifying people who are actively researching or showing purchase intent, and providing the right information to them at each stage.

Sustainability and Green Marketing

As environmental consciousness grows, consumers are increasingly interested in sustainable and eco-friendly products and services. Brands (who can legitimately do this) are adding sustainability into their messaging and practices.

So that was the good, what about the bad? Here are some digital marketing ‘no no’s’ we saw in 2023:

  1. Banner Blindness is real, folks. Traditional website display advertising, particularly banner ads might be getting the cold shoulder as people become adept at ignoring or tuning out these types of ads.
  2. Pop-up Ads? No, thank you. They're like the uninvited guests at the digital party.
  3. Clickbait Tactics are so last season. Overly sensational or misleading headlines can hard your credibility. Be genuine; it pays off in the long run.
  4. Keyword Stuffing is a big no-no. It not only annoys readers but also irks search engines.
  5. Static Content? Boring. It’s being engaged with less and less. Dynamic content is the way to go. Think videos and animations.
  6. Generic Targeting is a miss. Consumers expect to receive personalised experiences. This can also be a really expensive waste of investment in ads, when you have a specific target audience most likely to interact with your brand but you’re buying a reach they won’t see.
  7. Ignoring Privacy Concerns. With growing concerns about online privacy, practices that include intrusive tracking or using customer data without transparency or permission, are deal-breakers. Keep it transparent, folks.
  8. Mobile Experience – don’t forget about it. Mobile users are everywhere; cater to them.
  9. Excessive Retargeting is like that ex who just won't stop texting. Annoying.
  10. Not Providing Video Content? It's 2023, folks. Get on the video bandwagon.

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