by Eamonn O’Raghallaigh PhD

In 2023, we can expect to see some exciting developments in the field, as marketers continue to find new ways to reach and engage with consumers. Here are some of the key trends that are expected to emerge in digital marketing over the next year.

AI for Content Creation and Ideation

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are starting to gain traction at the time of writing (Dec 2022) and technologies such as chatGPT and Midjourney Bot are starting to see adoption for practical applications in digital marketing.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a large language model trained by OpenAI, designed to generate human-like text based on the input it receives. It does this by analysing the input and generating text that is coherent and relevant to the topic at hand. While it is able to provide information and answer questions on a wide range of topics, it does have some limitations. It is not able to browse the internet, so its knowledge is limited to the text that it has been trained on. It also does not have the ability to provide personal opinions or engage in conversations beyond a basic level. Its primary function is to provide information and assist with tasks within the scope of its training. During testing, the application is impressive for generating seed content for articles and specific paragraphs in longer articles. It has the potential to significantly enhance efficiency in generating content for marketing.

Midjourney Bot

Midjourney Bot on Discord, is a new emerging text-to-image AI application which transposes your rich text into art. It is quite addictive, especially for those who are less creative or artistic (I confess, I’m addicted!) as it gives you a flavour of what it’s like to be a creative wizz. Simply submit a text prompt and the bot will generate a beautiful piece of art in under 60 seconds based on the description or idea you provide. The more descriptive your are with the instructions, the better the output from the AI. Watching some of the users on the platform, it is evident that there are use cases in game environment design, icon design, logo ideation and webpage ideation ideas, amongst others. Graphic design in the future might see the ideation done by AI, which is then tweaked and progressed by humans.

Example of output from Discord's Midjourney Bot
Example of output from Discord’s Midjourney Bot

The future of AI for content creation seems to be focussed on a number of key applications, such as:

  • Generating text or audio descriptions of images or videos
  • Translating text from one language to another
  • Summarising or analysing text or other content
  • Generating original text or images based on a set of rules or inputs
  • Enhancing or manipulating existing images or videos

AI for content creation can be useful for a variety of purposes, such as improving accessibility, automating tedious tasks, or generating unique or personalised content. However, it is important to note that AI-generated content may not always be of the same quality or accuracy as content created by humans. As such, it is important to carefully evaluate and verify the output of any AI-based content creation tools before using them in important or sensitive contexts.

Migration to Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 is a new version of Google Analytics that was introduced in October 2020. The current version of Google Analytics, version 3, is expected to be sunsetted in July 2023, prompting a potential rush to adopt the new platform in the run up to the summer.

There are several benefits of using Google Analytics 4 over previous versions of the platform. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. More accurate and detailed data: Google Analytics 4 uses machine learning algorithms to improve the accuracy and granularity of the data it collects. This allows businesses to get a more complete picture of their users and their behaviour on their websites and apps.
  2. Enhanced user tracking: Google Analytics 4 introduces a new concept called “user-centric data,” which allows businesses to track individual users across different devices and sessions. This provides a more complete view of how users interact with a business’s website or app over time.
  3. Better integration with other Google products and services: Google Analytics 4 integrates seamlessly with other Google products and services, such as Google Ads and Google BigQuery. This allows businesses to easily combine and analyse data from multiple sources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their users and their behaviour.
  4. Improved analysis and reporting tools: Google Analytics 4 includes new and enhanced tools for analysis and reporting, such as custom dashboards, predictive modelling, and the ability to create custom segments and audiences. These tools make it easier for businesses to gain insights from their data and make better data-driven decisions.

Move towards Server Side Tracking

Server-side tracking is a method of tracking website or app usage data in which the data is collected and processed on the server, rather than on the user’s device. In other words, the tracking code is executed on the server, and the data is sent to the analytics platform from the server, rather than directly from the user’s device.

Server-side tracking has several advantages over client-side tracking, which is the more common method of tracking web usage data. One of the main advantages is that it allows for more accurate data collection, as the data is not subject to the limitations and errors that can occur on the user’s device. For example, server-side tracking is not affected by browser and device differences, or by users disabling JavaScript or blocking cookies.

Another advantage of server-side tracking is that it allows for more robust data processing and analysis. Because the data is collected and processed on the server, businesses can use more advanced tools and techniques to analyse the data, such as machine learning algorithms and custom data pipelines.

Overall, server-side tracking is a powerful tool for businesses that want to gain a more complete and accurate understanding of their users and their behaviour on their websites and apps.

Rebalancing from Media Spend towards SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website or web page in search engine results pages. The main benefit of SEO is to increase organic traffic to a website or web page, which can lead to a variety of positive outcomes for businesses and organisations. Organic traffic tends to have higher engagement and conversion rates.

As the 2022 cost of living crisis continues to impact the business environment, 2023 is set to be a year of optimising costs for businesses, and with this a potential pull back on advertising and media spend as consumer’s tighten their belts and spend more strategically. Generally in these economic environments, SEO tends to get more focus as the medium-to-long term return-on-investment is far superior to immediate ROI generated from media spend. For search advertising, once the spend is turned off, traffic trails off. With SEO, albeit time and effort is required to gain significant traffic, it’s the gift that keeps on going, without the necessary ongoing financial outlay.

Digital Sustainability

Sustainability refers to the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is a concept that encompasses environmental, economic, and social factors, and aims to ensure that natural resources are used in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Although sustainability is now mainstream in industries such as food production, waste management and manufacturing, it is starting to expand throughout the wider business community, and governments are muting new regulations and reporting frameworks which will make it mandatory for corporate entities to have some sort of ESG or sustainability provision.

In the context of digital marketing, what this means is that sustainability should be at the forefront of digital marketing investments such as website build or repurposing. Companies should be thinking about how to invest in their website in such a way to lengthen the lifespan of their website, reducing the need to rebuild the technology stack every 2-3 years, reducing longer term costs and also helping to reduce resource use and waste.

In conclusion, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for digital marketing and businesses that are able to adapt and take advantage of them will be well positioned to succeed in the digital age.

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