4 MINUTE READ | December 22, 2022
PMG's Big Bets: 2023 Digital Trends
With only a few short weeks until the new year, we checked in with account directors, client strategy partners, media practitioners, and creative strategists from across PMG to get their takes on the most influential trends that defined 2022 and what they mean for the future of marketing and technology. “The state of the economy” was most commonly cited as what defined 2022, as rising inflation, market volatility, and the crypto winter clouded forecasts. Fluctuating macroeconomic conditions have required brands to navigate recent months with unbridled agility and resilience, a trend that will only continue in the year ahead.
The linear TV and video landscape continues to undergo transformative change, with a flurry of recent mergers and acquisitions, exclusive content deals, and platform developments seen across social video platforms, linear and streaming TV services, and shoppable video partners. 2022 marked the first year that watch time with streaming platforms outpaced broadcast and traditional cable TV viewership, with more platforms making the foray into ad-supported streaming models as viewer behaviors evolve.
“While we continue to see new partnerships, ad features, and viewing behavior shifts make headlines weekly, if not daily, we encourage brands to lean in and be present within the new ad-supported models and have a presence among the consolidation,” said Natalee Geldert, head of brand media and partnerships at PMG. “Gaining first mover advantages and learnings from these campaigns and testing will continue to help shape these platforms now and into the future.”
It’s difficult to quantify the impact TikTok has had on culture, commerce, and entertainment these last few years. But thanks to improvements across its ad product and creator tools, 2022 delivered more advertiser interest and supercharged growth for the platform. Its dominance as a digital ad platform and social media service is now impossible to ignore. With native checkout coming to TikTok, shoppable video and social commerce will become even more mainstream in 2023.
Looking ahead, streaming platforms will continue to wrestle for market dominance against a backdrop of increasing consolidation, budget cuts, rising prices, and changing viewership trends. At the same time, rival platforms will look for ways to replicate TikTok’s success as social commerce and shoppable video continues to evolve.
“As the lines between social media, digital video, and online shopping continue to blur, there’s never been a better time to test new creative, ad types, and digital experiences to engage consumers across screens everywhere,” said Carly Carson, head of integrated media at PMG. “Heading into next year, a number of brands are taking a test and learn approach to these trends to better understand how their media mix works together across the expanding digital and video landscape.”
Google Performance Max, Google Tag, Meta’s Advantage+ app campaigns, and other platforms’ artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies are transforming the digital marketing landscape, helping advertisers manage content and campaign performance at scale in new and exciting ways. PMG has used these products to complement our core approach rather than as a core component, as they require significant management (i.e., human intervention) and are less transparent than traditional tactics, offering diminished insight into performance.
“More brands than ever before have signed on and are actively testing many of these platform AI and automation technologies, and we expect that trend to continue in 2023, especially as these ad types and tools become more sophisticated,” said Keri Boerner, head of search at PMG. “As the media landscape grows increasingly fragmented, partners like Google and Meta are betting on the power of their algorithms to help brands drive conversions throughout the marketing funnel and deliver performance gains and efficiencies.”
Algorithmic content curation, whether it be powered by TikTok’s recommendation engine or Google’s Helpful Content update, is elevating consumer expectations as digital experiences become more engaging and personalized. Coupled with advancements in generative AI and deep language models like OpenAI’s DALLE-2 and Chat-GPT, the applications for AI are truly endless, and with them, more opportunities to engage and deliver exceptional advertising experiences at scale.
Consumer privacy remains top of mind for advertisers heading into the new year. Despite the slate of new state privacy laws going into effect and Google’s 2024 cookie deprecation deadline on the horizon, the broader advertising industry has yet to reach a consensus on what the future of privacy-first advertising looks like. In the meantime, leading brands have adopted learning agendas and will enter 2023 armed with a testing roadmap to help navigate the steady stream of privacy solutions entering the market.
“One of the biggest opportunities for brands heading into the next 12 to 18 months is to lean in and invest in future-proofing levers,” said Laurie Miller, head of analytics at PMG. “These investments can take many different forms depending on the brand, but ultimately, it drills down to brands making investments across first-party data and audience insights, tech-driven and dynamic creative, and product-led marketplace commerce capabilities.”
Whether it’s testing into a data cleanroom or experimenting with a new attribution model or identity framework, in 2023, we expect to see more brands accelerate their investments in privacy-first solutions to future-proof their businesses as the privacy-conscious future draws near.
The economic uncertainty that characterized much of 2022 is expected to continue into 2023 as ongoing inflationary pressures, geopolitical tensions, and monetary policy shifts impact consumer spending, global financial markets, and business forecasts. The probability that the U.S. economy tilts into a recessionary environment ranges from 35 to 65 percent, as the resilience of the U.S. economy stands in sharp contrast to a European recession led by the energy supply impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and the unwinding of China’s zero-covid policy leads to a rocky reopening after two years of pandemic restrictions, according to Goldman Sachs Economic Research.
“The current moment is proving itself especially precarious as the global economy faces myriad challenges, and advertisers are tasked with capturing market share while responding to the realities of the macroeconomy,” said Tim Lardner, VP of strategy at PMG. “Fortunately for brands, the events of the last two years have delivered an actionable blueprint for navigating uncertainty through insight, integrated ways of working, and agile activation.”
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As prolonged economic volatility makes it increasingly difficult for analysts and business leaders to reliably forecast and predict what the future may hold, the new year is sure to deliver many unexpected challenges, along with endless opportunities for advertisers to test and learn, innovate and capitalize on the possibility 2023 brings.
Posted by: Abby Long