By: Sophie Allen Nov 24/2023

As we begin to wind down 2023, it’s fitting that we take a moment to reflect on all of the changes the year has brought us with regard to digital marketing. In the ever-evolving landscape of online strategies, algorithm updates, and new marketing tools, 2023 proved to be a pivotal chapter, marked by both change and challenge. From the rise of AI-powered marketing tools to a long-awaited indexing completion, this year has been a rollercoaster ride for us all whether we enthusiastically hopped aboard or needed some cajoling from thrill-seeking coworkers. Buckle in and join us as we cruise through the significant highlights and trends that shaped the digital marketing sphere in 2023.

three marketers around a laptop looking for stock images

Marketing Changes in 2023:

  • Google Analytics 4
  • ChatGPT & Other AI Tools
  • Performance Max
  • Influencer Marketing & Long-Term Collaborations
  • Video Marketing
  • Mobile-First Indexing
  • Featured Snippets

Google Analytics 4

Arguably, the biggest change in 2023 was the shift from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. After almost 11 years, Universal Analytics stopped collecting data while Google Analytics 4 (GA4) took its turn at the wheel. GA4 promises to be more user-friendly, with customizable dashboards to pull all the information you need into one handy place. While we were given enough advanced warning from Google to ensure we were able to gather at least one calendar year’s worth of data, learning all the ins and outs of GA4 has taken some time. Luckily, we are used to constantly learning and evolving so rolling with the GA4 punches is just business as usual in the digital marketing world.

ChatGPT & Other AI Tools

Another big-ticket item rocking the marketing world this year was AI. Whether it was a multi-use tool like ChatGPT or the art-based MidJourney, AI didn’t so much as knock softly at our door rather than made its own, Kool-Aid man style. While some marketers wholeheartedly embraced our AI overlords, others reacted vehemently against it while still some preferred to approach it with caution bu whether you are on board or not, AI Marketing is here. AI itself has changed significantly over the course of the year while opinions on it still swing wildly across the full spectrum of feelings. One thing we can say for sure though is that we’ll be thoughtful and forthright with its use and stay in the know on AI sentiment to act accordingly. Here are 7 upcoming trends in AI Marketing that may affect your business in the future.

Performance Max

Though initially rolled out towards the end of 2021, Performance Max (or P-Max) has had an uptick in popularity, in part due to how heavily it relies on machine learning to optimize your bids and placements. Google has continued to roll out new features for this campaign type through 2023. Your Google Ads expert can provide important inputs to P-Max to help guide it along with Google’s real-time understanding of consumer intents and preferences. This in turn helps expand your reach to raise awareness and generate conversions by showing ads to users that are more likely to convert and help generate more leads. If you aren’t sure how to implement Performance Max campaigns or if that campaign type is for you, reach out to our team here or learn more about how our Google Ads team can help you achieve your goals.

Influencer Marketing & Long-Term Collaborations

Particularly on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, consumers are learning about products and getting reviews from influencers they like and follow. How can brands use this to their benefit? Rather than throwing all of your budget at one big-time influencer to make one post, consider teaming up with a micro-influencer (someone with under 100k followers) who will charge less per post and may even post in exchange for your products. Micro-influencers have been shown to have more engaged audiences relative to their total following, which will increase your chances of getting your brand noticed. Content produced by influencers falls into the “content by users, for users” category that Google tends to favour in the rankings as it’s more useful and relevant in searches. Forming a long-term collaboration with a micro-influencer creates more authentic relationships and more honest posts for potential customers looking for the authenticity and openness that come with influencer marketing.

Video Marketing

Similar to influencer marketing, video marketing, especially short-form videos, dominates content on platforms like Instagram TikTok, and YouTube shorts. Information is now able to be delivered in bite-sized, entertaining chunks that can be easily digested in a short amount of time to a large amount of consumers. With consumers spending more time on their phones and mobile searches leading the way, it makes sense to get your brand on here. Short-form video is great for keeping you up-to-date, whether you’re a consumer looking for information quickly or a brand trying to stay on top of the latest marketing efforts.

Mobile-First Indexing

Speaking of mobile searches leading the way, Google has finally finished transitioning to mobile-first indexing after 7 long years of rollout. If you were feeling bad about putting off a project from earlier this year, let this assure you that it could be much, much worse. Why should you care about mobile-first indexing? It’s simple: with more and more consumers searching, browsing, and shopping on their phones, your business must be optimized for mobile devices–especially if your target audiences are millennials and Gen Z. If your website is not currently optimized for mobile devices, you’ve still got some time before Google is unable to index your site. Also, should you want to work on or improve your mobile-friendliness, our SEO and web development team can help rebuild and provide best practices or recommendations to improve your website so it complies with best practices for a mobile website.

Featured Snippets

You may have noticed that Google SERPs are no longer sorted by pages but are now one continuous scroll. The change was announced in February 2023 and rolled out to all users in the US by April 2023. This makes it even more important to appear as far up the page as possible to have your business seen. One way to do this is with featured snippets. These are formatted blocks of text that are at the very top of the search results, similar to how ads will show up before the actual website. If you’ve ever searched for a recipe, the featured snippet will appear first with a picture, bake time, and list of ingredients before having the website it’s attached to below. While Google uses a few different sources to determine the right snippet, having descriptive meta descriptions and schema markup can help boost your chances of getting a featured snippet.

Looking Ahead to 2024

This year has been a kaleidoscope of new tools, strategies, and unforeseen challenges, pushing marketers to navigate uncharted waters with creativity and resilience. From the rise of AI marketing tools to the continued dominance of influencer marketing, the past year has been nothing short of exciting. As we step into a new year, armed with the knowledge and lessons of 2023, the digital marketing community can anticipate further evolution, knowing that the only constant in this fast-paced world is the need to stay agile and embrace the ever-shifting currents of consumer behaviour and technological advancements. Here’s to the lessons learned, the successes celebrated, and the journey that lies ahead in the ever-evolving realm of digital marketing.