Predictions 2023: The year ahead for digital landscape – FP7’s Ibrahim Hasan

With changing consumer needs, marketers need to understand how to accentuate a brand’s message, writes FP7 McCann MENAT’s Ibrahim Hasan

By Ibrahim Hasan, associate director of digital, FP7 McCann MENAT

Over the past two years, new needs have cropped up and it has brought about a radical shift in the way companies conduct their business today. This post-pandemic recovery period is a watershed moment during which we decide the future of business and marketing.

At FP7 McCann, our LIVE digital team keeps a pulse check on cultural and digital trends shaping up on an annual basis. This is based off the innate belief that everything in our digital ecosystem begins and ends in macro trends that ripple into industry, consumer and platform changes.

As we transition into 2023, the main goals of agencies and marketers alike should be to understand how to highlight the messages their brands are trying to make amidst shifting consumer needs. This coming year, it is imperative to capture new growth opportunities within a mindset of frugal spending. We have compiled this list of five digital marketing trends that are on the upswing so you can win big in 2023. It is impossible to try every single new trend but it is definitely possible to identify the right one for your brand to dive into. Try implementing some of these trends in your digital strategy practices to prepare your brand for success in the coming year:

 Trend 1: The cookie and its demise

 Trend 2: Fake news is old news

 Trend 3: The metaverse as a permanent medium

 Trend 4: The phygital reality

 Trend 5: Predictive analytics will change the face of marketing

Trend 1: The cookie and its demise

2023 will finally bring the long-delayed end of third-party cookies. Almost. Maybe? Google has once again delayed the end of cookies until 2024 to allow testing and uptake of its Privacy Sandbox APIs. Most digital advertisers seem to think that our landscape will face severe challenges as cookies get removed.

However, the delay in their cancellation gives a little respite for brands. The clock is ticking and new alternatives must be activated sooner rather than later. The challenge: how will brands track conversions of their customers while creating more personalised experiences without that knowledge?

Trend 2: Fake news is old news

Not everything on the internet is real. And now we are finally seeing the repercussions of fake news. Brands, personalities and even governments have to deal with the consequences of fake news. Meanwhile, deepfake – AI-generated video content used to trick people into thinking certain people engaged in activities that never actually happened – is on the rise. Fakeness is also seeping into the creative scene with the recent controversy around AI-generated art driving its base of computation from existing artworks of artist without taking their permission. These mediums are causing friction among consumers and creators alike with rising demands to be able to trust that content has been ‘ethically’ created. So, expect 2023 to show an increased demand for integrity and authenticity that brands and social media channels will have to adapt to.

Trend 3: The metaverse as a permanent medium

The concept of the metaverse – a mix of digital, augmented and real-world realities – started making news last year. Now it is a trend everyone wants to be a part of. Meta is one of the biggest investors in it and several tech companies such as Microsoft and Tencent announced major metaverse investments. Expect more players to join the contest in the coming months. However, the concept is entering a critical time and potentially faces a format war. Much like VHS vs Betamax or Blu-Ray vs HD DVD, some metaverses will thrive while others will be quickly abandoned. The metaverses that win or lose will be decided by consumers and whether they feel these new realities connect with their real-world needs.

Trend 4: The phygital reality

The internet went on a frenzy in November this year as Oculus founder Palmer Luckey talked about his project ‘NerveGear VR’, a headset meant to kill its players should they lose a game. This trend is one of many others like it as we move closer to an internet of senses, one that incorporates technology to create digital sensory experiences. The trend will be to have a true multi-channel, multi-format approach that will stimulate consumers in new and interactive ways
and also to create an accessible experience that provides content formats your
audience demands.

Trend 5: Predictive analytics will change the face of marketing

Predictive analytics is not new – it has been used in underwriting and credit scoring for several years using existing big data to predict potential future outcomes. We will see more marketing and social media professionals start to integrate predictive analytics into their processes. Social listening can quickly and easily provide the required big data. We will now start seeing AI capabilities catch up and provide accurate and valuable predictions.

The capability brings so much potential with its ability to look into the future of a trend, topic or campaign and understand how it will adapt in the coming months. Yet, not all major marketers are adapting predictive analytics as part of their strategic performance decisions. Expect this to change in 2023.

We use such trends to develop predictive models that help our clients be prepared for what is to come on a digital level. We are not in the business of predictions but we are in the business of future-proofing the brands that we service. These annual exercises help us seize and react to industry shifts ahead of their peak.

These trends can act as a springboard for brands to create culture-pioneering ideas. From a new platform or medium to explore, such as the metaverse, to using predictive modelling as part of their performance marketing practices – these are the adjustments that can help make a business part of the cutting edge of changes taking place next year.

So, as we reflect on a dynamic year full of changes, here’s wishing you a future-proof 2023 full of success.