7 digital media buying trends you should be aware of for 2023

7 digital media buying trends you should be aware of for 2023

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2023 is set to be an interesting year when it comes to media buying and marketing. Budgets are likely to stay the same and, in some cases, may be reduced. As a result, marketers will need to be strategic about where to put their spend in the coming months.

We spoke to Nick Knuppe, Senior Director of Marketing at Juni, to hear his take on what you can expect from digital media buying this year.

1. TikTok adoption becomes a no-brainer

Nick suggests that “video-sharing platforms, like TikTok, will continue to see a rise in adoption throughout 2023, especially for those aged 30+.” With its growing user base, TikTok advertising will become more appealing to first-time marketers compared to the likes of Facebook.

“TikTok costs are considerably lower than Facebook and other social channels, which provides a new opportunity to optimise your spend,” says Nick.

The average spend on TikTok is just 3.7%, making it potentially fertile ground for brands willing to take the risk, but you’ll need to act fast. DTC ad spending on TikTok surged 231% over the past year, hitting $30m in Q2 of 2022, the highest growth among all major platforms.

2. Apply the same investment in your marketing analytics as you would in your people.

“Investments in marketing analytics have hit a decade high and will continue to become a core pillar of a business’s data stack,” says Nick.

Data-driven decision making is the smartest way to improve ROAS, and investing in digital marketing analytics can pay off in the long run by making your budget go further.

“Having an oversight of all your channels’ performance will help you test and learn what’s working so you can optimise your spend,” says Nick.

By setting the right KPIs and tracking them with your data stack, teams will have the information they need to make informed decisions. As budgets become stretched, understanding your performance is essential so you can know where to allocate funds and kill anything that isn’t up to scratch.

3. Omnichannel marketing becomes the norm for D2C brands

Whether they’re visiting you in-store, on your website or across other channels, customers want a seamless experience. Enter omnichannel marketing.

“Omnichannel marketing will become more prevalent than ever before,” says Nick. “Consumers expect a consistent experience across all your channels, so you’ll miss out if you can’t deliver.”

Omnichannel marketing can make it easier for your customers to make purchases and increase brand loyalty, so it’s a worthy investment. “With increases in live shopping, smart speaker use and shopping via social media, there are an increasing number of channels to consider in your strategy,” says Nick.

Knowing where to place your focus is critical, especially if you’re working within a tight budget. Understanding your customer journey is the best place to start, so get to know the brand experience for each touch point. Then, you can decide where to invest.

“Personalisation is key in a successful omnichannel strategy,” says Nick. “You need to put your customer first and make interacting with your brand and purchasing a product an effortless experience. For example, showing them products you know they’re interested in across channels, or at the very least having a consistent localised approach.”

There are some low-cost tactics you can use too. Optimise your website content for voice search to help potential customers find you, no matter what device they’re searching on. Instagram Shopping is free and allows your customers to find the products you show in your feed. If you have a physical store, look at how you can integrate your website so customers can seamlessly move between the two, for example, having the option to buy online and pick up in-store.

4. Investment in paid channel attribution slows down

While marketing analytics are seeing an increase in investment, the same can’t be said for paid channel attribution and other areas of lifecycle marketing.

“Investments in paid channel attribution, customer engagement and lifecycle marketing will continue to be talked about but still adopted at a sluggish pace,” says Nick.

While it's clear that investing in measuring marketing attribution and engagement will bring huge value to your business, in practice implementing it isn’t always straightforward. Plus, this could be a challenging year to secure an increase in investment in new initiatives for your department. “With marketing teams having to carefully choose where to put budget this year, introducing new systems like paid channel attribution or measuring customer engagement may not be a top priority,” says Nick.

Getting buy-in can also be tricky as these disciplines often cross multiple departments. Although the information gained is valuable for all involved, not only marketing and advertising teams, getting all stakeholders to align can prove tricky, especially if budgets are tight.

Beyond budget, other aspects can put off marketing managers. The learning curve of a new tech stack, which at least involves training and at most involves new employees, can be time-consuming.

“Depending on the channel, measuring customer engagement can be more straightforward and low cost than paid channel attribution, but it’s meaningless unless you turn the data into insights and act on them,” says Nick.

The success of lifecycle marketing hinges on having established paid channel attribution and customer engagement measurement tools in place. So, without making a real investment, you can’t put your insights into practice with a complete strategy.

5. Make AI work for you: Generative AI content

Generative AI has received plenty of attention, especially within the marketing industry.

“AI’s ability to create short and long-form content will become increasingly important for content marketing and ecommerce website content creation,” predicts Nick.

Generative AI is already being used in different ways for content production, from Descript, which uses AI to create a video, to ChatGPT, which captured the world’s attention with its impressive text-generation tool.

“AI has the scope to speed up content production and create assets from blog posts to images,” says Nick. “This could be valuable for websites with a high volume of product pages, content teams that spend a lot of time researching long-form articles or creating product images at low cost. ”

While AI content creation is set to become a valuable tool, it’s not the best idea to rely on it entirely. Adding a human touch to AI-generated assets and performing quality control will ensure they have the right impact.

6. Live commerce will continue to grow

“We’re likely to see an increase in customers using live shopping,” says Nick. Live commerce through social media platforms such as TikTok Live, Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Live and Instagram Live is set to play a key role in commerce in 2023, with the market predicted to reach £2.4bn within the year.

YouTube is the most popular platform and claims its conversion rates are 10x higher than regular ecommerce methods. More and more big vendors are utilising the tool to reach new audiences and unlock an entirely new way of shopping.

“As the space is becoming more crowded,” says Nick, “you also have the option to live stream from your own site.” For example, if you use Shopify, you can easily integrate a live stream app and host live shopping sessions to turn your community into sales.

7. Influencer marketing is now more accessible and affordable

As brands become more cautious with their marketing budgets, paid channels will likely see less investment. This could have interesting implications for influencer marketing campaigns.

“Less expenditure across paid channels will drive down demand for influencers outside the top 1%,” says Nick. “This will make influencer marketing more accessible to small and medium sized businesses (SMMBs).”

Influencers may lower their rates if brands aren’t willing to pay what they have previously. On the other hand, brands are increasingly turning to micro influencers to run campaigns.

Nick believes that what micro influencers lack in follower numbers, they make up in engagement. Micro influencers on Instagram have an average engagement rate of 3.86%, which is significantly more than ‘mega influencers’ with only 1.21%.

“Micro influencers often have a loyal following and high engagement, plus they generally have lower rates than more ‘famous’ influencers. This makes them an interesting prospect for ROI,” says Nick. “As a result, they’re more accessible to SMMBs, but they’re also being used by big brands too.”

It’s all about choosing where to place your budget. “If you have limited spend, you face the choice of giving a large chunk to a small number of influencers or running more campaigns with several micro influencers. It’s about testing what drives the best ROI for your brand,” advises Nick.

Looking ahead

Whether you try TikTok, move to micro influencer marketing or optimise your omnichannel experience, this year promises to offer the opportunity for innovation, whatever your budget.

7 digital media buying trends you should be aware of for 2023
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