The marketing world moves at the speed of light.
As a marketer at any experience level, keeping up with these changes isn’t always easy. But, to succeed in the fast-paced marketing world — and maintain a sense of relevance with your audience — it’s vital to stay ahead of them.
To help businesses build cutting-edge and competitive marketing strategies in 2023, the HubSpot Blog surveyed more than 1,000 global marketing professionals — and talked to a handful of industry experts — to create this bookmarkable guide of marketing trends to watch in the next year.
The Marketing Trends of 2023 [Highlights]
- Influencer marketing will evolve into a common marketing tactic.
- Video marketers will keep content short.
- Social media will become a customer service tool.
- More businesses will leverage SEO to concur search traffic.
- Mobile optimization will be even more important.
- More companies will prioritize social responsibility.
- Aligned marketing and sales teams will win.
- Experiential marketing could make a comeback.
- Inbound marketing will remain a best practice for growing brands.
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will experience slow adoption in the marketing sphere.
- More brands will test out native ads.
1. Influencer marketing will evolve into a common marketing tactic.
Influencer marketing really picked up steam in 2022, and we predict this trend will keep pace in 2023. Why? 89% of marketers who currently engage with influencer marketing will increase or maintain their investment next year.
On top of that, 17% of marketers are planning to invest in it for the first time next year.
When marketers collaborate with influencers and industry thought leaders in their industry, they can expand brand awareness and gain fans from the influencer’s own audience.
Can’t afford to hire a celebrity influencer with millions of followers? That’s okay. In fact, more than 56% of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are social media promoters with a smaller following (typically, thousands to tens of thousands of followers). Although they have fewer followers, their posts often pack more punch due to their higher level of engagement.
These influencers have found a niche in their industry, too — which is why they’ve started to play a bigger role in converting leads, connecting with audiences, and boosting brand awareness.
Because micro-influencers are still considered “everyday” people (unlike hard-to-reach celebrities), their audiences are actually more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.
For example, Rosie, who’s known as The Londoner, is a popular travel and lifestyle influencer with over 330k loyal followers who interact and engage with her posts. The below image of a post on profile shows that with almost 36,000 likes, Rosie is garnering almost 11% engagement.
Although it’s tempting to only look at just follower count when determining if an influencer is right for your brand, remember that true influence lives in engagement rates (clicks, subscribes, and purchases).
2. Video marketers will keep content short.
Short-form video has taken the marketing world by storm, and we predict it will carry over in 2023. A staggering 90% of marketers using short-form video will increase or maintain their investment next year, and 1 in 5 marketers plan to leverage short-form video for the first time in 2023.
While long-form videos can offer depth and large amounts of information about a product, brand, or services to audiences, both B2C and B2B marketers have learned that getting to the point with short-form videos can actually be much more effective.
Not only does it take less bandwidth to create a short-form video, but this type of format aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in a variety of demographics. This is likely why platforms like TikTok, Reels, and — in previous years — Snapchat have gained quick growth and marketing interest.
Still not convinced that short-form videos can be effective in your marketing strategy? Check out this great example of a TikTok video from Canva that informs viewers of just how easy it is to make professional-looking graphics with the website.
3. Social media will become a customer service tool.
Leveraging social media as a customer service tool is relatively new, but this trend is quickly gaining steam. So much so, more than a quarter of marketers use direct messages (DM’s) to offer customer support, and 15% of marketers plan to try it for the first time in 2023.
It’s no coincidence that this trend is emerging at a time when many social media platforms — namely Instagram and Facebook — are expanding its e-commerce capabilities. For this reason, providing customer service on these platforms will become even more crucial.
It’s also worth noting that consumers want to communicate with brands via DM’s — especially the Millennial and Gen Z crowd. HubSpot’s 2022 Consumer Trends Survey found that 20% of Gen Z-ers and nearly 25% of Millennials have contacted a brand on social media for customer service in the past three months.
4. More businesses will leverage SEO to concur search traffic.
As marketers, we must ensure that our websites and content are as discoverable as possible — especially on Google — which can provide both long-term and short-term traffic returns. And, while SEO is not new, it’s strategies are becoming even more ingrained within modern day marketing strategies.
When it comes to the trend marketers will invest the most money in for 2023, SEO ranks third behind short-form video and influencer marketing. Further, 88% of marketers who have an SEO strategy will increase or maintain their investment in 2023, which is a slight uptick from the year before (84%).
As the interest and need for SEO strategies grow, so do all search optimization opportunities. As Google algorithms have evolved, SEO has become about much more than churning out basic posts that answer simple search queries. Now, brands are investing in SEO experts who can help them with everything from search insights reports, to multimedia optimization.
5. Mobile optimization will be even more important.
Consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices. In fact, more than half of annual online website traffic comes from mobile devices, including tablets.
As millennials and Gen Z audiences continue to grow buying power, mobile-optimized digital experiences will be even more vital to consider as a business owner who markets to these fast-paced, highly connected generations.
Above are just some of the reasons why:
- 33% of global marketers invest in mobile web design,
- 64% of SEO marketers call mobile optimization an effective investment
And, mobile experiences aren’t just important on brand websites, they’re also important in other key marketing strategies. For example, 56% of marketers who work with email are focused on delivering mobile email experiences to subscribers.
6. More companies will prioritize social responsibility.
89% of marketers who create social responsibility content plan to increase or maintain their investment in 2023, which is almost double from the year before.
The trend is clear: social responsibility, ethics, and transparency matter to the modern consumer.
For instance, 50% Gen Z-ers and 40% of Millennials want companies to take a stance on social issues, specifically racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender inequality, and climate change. When companies advocate for these issues, it has a strong impact on their purchase decisions
With all of this in mind, companies have begun to pivot social media strategies to focus more on inclusive initiatives, promotions, and offerings, while highlighting causes or missions they support. Although this might not sell products immediately, showing a sense of social responsibility is still both thoughtful and effective.
Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation, Hal Gregersen, shares his perspective on the subject:
“If there can be a perfect storm of opportunity for strengthening D&I [diversity and inclusion] in organizations, I believe it is happening now.,” Gregersen says. “With the pandemic, traditional ways of doing business and of working were upended, and now, barriers to the idea of change are dissolving.”
7. Aligned marketing and sales teams will win.
As we inch closer to 2023, it’s becoming increasingly crucial for sales and marketing teams to work together. When these teams are aligned, marketers can get a more complete picture of their customers, including their interests, hobbies, and demographics.
But when this doesn’t happen, it creates a flurry of problems for everyone involved. Most notably, it’s more challenging to share and access data across teams — which 1 in 5 marketers currently struggle with.
Worryingly, only 31% of marketers say their sales and marketing teams are strongly aligned. It’s no surprise that almost half of marketers are shifting their goals in 2023 towards sales and marketing alignment.
8. Experiential marketing could make a comeback.
Experiential marketing campaigns enable audiences to step into an immersive experience that is often in a physical place or via an AR/VR platform.
One example of an experiential campaign you might have seen in the past was M&M’s Flavor Room pop-up.
The experience included orb-shaped “rooms,” which were each complete with decor and fragrances unique to a certain candy flavor. The pop-up, which was based in NYC back in 2018, also included snack and drink lounges with M&M-themed cocktails — which, I’m willing to bet, we’re great opportunities for M&M to appear on different attendees’ social pages.
Although immersive experiences like these were fun, effective, and highly shareable on social media, they ran into barriers in 2020 and 2021 as businesses, public venues, and entire countries were forced to shut down public operations in the global pandemic.
And, because producing a branded AR/VR experience is a high-budget bet that can also rely on audiences to have tools like AR/VR headsets or the latest smartphone technology to access the content — fewer small brands have invested in digital experiential marketing.
But, now, as digitally immersive platforms continue to get more accessible to larger audiences, the possibility of experiential marketing back on the table again for 2023.
9. Inbound marketing will remain a best practice for growing brands.
In a time of digital transformation, embracing inbound marketing is an incredibly smart move.
Throughout the last two years, the world’s dealt with unprecedented change, and outbound marketing tactics have become even less effective in reaching prospects and leads.
The shift from in-person to hybrid work from home (WFH) business practices have made inbound marketing come to the forefront of effective tactics. For example, there’s been a significant rise in virtual events due to COVID-19 forcing marketers to get creative to catch the attention of customers.
John Hazard, the founder and content strategist at digital marketing agency Lighthouse Creative Group, sees this as a place of opportunity to generate interest despite their typical formulaic production. “Screen fatigue is a big issue for brands.”
Hazard adds, “As virtual events have exploded as a replacement for in-person engagement, every business has tried to roll out events, webinars, and virtual conferences. But most are just PowerPoint presentations or an executive talking with their kitchen in the background. That’s not interesting … So, the race is on in 2021 for polish and production value — graphics, directors, professional hosts, equipment, and no kitchen backdrops.”
Inbound marketing can be a valuable asset to create brand awareness and build trust digitally through refocusing strategy to drive customers to seek out your content.
The process of inbound marketing requires you to produce quality, valuable content tailored towards your target audience and buyer personas and their needs.
Why Brands Are Adopting the Flywheel
The marketing funnel is old news. Today, the flywheel — and a subsequent focus on service — have replaced the one-way direction of the funnel and lives at the center of many inbound marketing strategies.
In the world of the marketing funnel, customers were an afterthought. Once they became a paying customer, businesses considered them obsolete — until, of course, it was time re-sign that contract.
The flywheel, on the other hand, places the customer in the center. Since word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tactics, it’s wise to not only serve your customers but also equip them to become advocates for and promoters of your brand. The flywheel illustrates this process: excellent service as its own marketing strategy.
By keeping the flywheel at the center of your marketing efforts, you’ll delight and empower your customers. It’s worthwhile to place a heavy emphasis on customer service and train your team to handle requests and issues.
This will lead to customers who can market for you — they can promote and advocate for your business via their networks both online and in-person.
10. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will experience slow adoption in the marketing sphere.
We initially had high hopes for VR and AR in the marketing space. Back in 2021, 35% of marketers were leveraging AR or VR in their strategies, and of those marketers, almost half planned to increase their investment in 2022.
But in 2023, it could fall lower on the list as less marketers plan to invest in it. More than a quarter (27%) of marketers are planning to stop using VR and AR next year.
Generally speaking, this is a trend marketers have been slower to adopt due to pricey equipment and bulky headsets. But, as VR glasses and AR apps become more accessible, this could turn around.
11. More brands will test out native ads.
This year, almost a quarter (23%) of marketers planned to leverage native ads for the first time, and we predict this number will continue to grow in 2023.
Why the growing interest in this strategy? Well, it works. Of the marketers who use native ads, more than 36% say it’s effective, while nearly 50% say it’s their top ROI-generating tactic.
When your brand pays to feature content on a third-party website, you’re investing in native advertising. Unlike traditional advertising, which is designed to interrupt and stand out, native advertising is designed to blend in and promote your brand to a new audience who might otherwise never learn about you.
Because native ads don’t “feel” like traditional ads, consumers are more likely to consume them — in fact, consumers view native ads over 50% more than banner ads.
Examples of native advertising can be found on social media, through search engine results, content recommendation platforms (those links to various other content you can click at the bottom of the page to read more on or related to the topic), or in campaigns.
For example, Instagram is a popular social media network that routinely partners with brands for native advertising. By taking advantage of the Instagram Story or Shop features, brands are able to share posts that look similar to the average user’s followers posting style, while subtly advertising a product.
Content Marketing Trends
At least 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales rep, and the majority of them expect brands to create content to gain their interest. That’s why brands all around the world have only grown their investments in content marketing.
But what content strategies are brands investing in? Below are just a few trends you’ll want to follow in 2022.
12. Video will remain the top marketing content format.
Video dominated the marketing space in 2022 – and we predict 2023 will be no different. Why? Because marketers plan to invest in short-form video more than any other trend next year. What’s more, a whopping 90% of marketers who currently leverage short-form video will increase or maintain their investment in 2023.
“Video creates a deeper connection with your potential customer base and it is easy for brands to repurpose video content into podcasts and text-based content,” Neil Patel CMO and Co-Founder of NP Digital, says.
In the past, video creation and marketing strategies were limited due to costly resources and production. Today, it’s much more accessible. With a lower-cost barrier, video has become less intimidating to incorporate into your marketing efforts.
“Our company, Jotform, has been ramping up our video efforts on YouTube. We have over 16,000 subscribers and have seen a huge increase in site traffic and signups from investing in video on this platform,” says Aytekin Tank, Founder & CEO of Jotform.
You don’t have to hire a production team or marketing agency; all you need is a smartphone, such as an iPhone, and affordable editing software. Don’t believe us? This post highlights how our own video marketers created video content from home at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
13. Blogging isn’t going anywhere.
Blogging has been a commonly used marketing strategy since brands started building their own websites. But, the age of this tactic shouldn’t be a sign that it’s out-of-date. In fact, blogging has been used for so long simply because it works. So much so, one in three marketers leverage their own blog or website
On top of that, our research suggested that most consumers read blogs multiple times per week and have purchased something from a brand after reading the company’s blog.
Aside from providing consumer engagement and potentially conversion, blogs also provide a major key benefit to your website or online pages: search discoverability.
Ultimately, sites with robust blogs have more search potential and can implement SEO strategies much easier than sites that don’t.
Think about it this way. If a prospective client wants to hire a virtual accountant, and your firm’s site has a blog post that highlights tax tips or strategies your accountants use, this person might find your post or website via Google search, read your post and explore your website, and then decide that they want to contact you for a consultation or accounting assistance.
If you haven’t considered a blog by this point, but are intrigued by this data, check out these resources to help you build out your own strategy:
14. Case studies will continue to drive leads and brand credibility.
Longer-form case studies offer prospects an incredibly deep and exclusive look into how people or brands benefit from a product, service, or strategy. While some businesses place them publicly on their web pages to persuade a potential buyer as quickly as possible. others might gate them as free PDFs that require a lead conversion to be downloaded.
Although many marketers, such as those in B2C industries, don’t leverage case studies, those that do find them effective. Additionally, case study usage in content marketing is only growing: 37% of marketers planned to use case studies in their marketing strategy for the first time this year.
15. Marketers will embrace data with infographics.
If a picture paints a thousand words, infographics could paint at least double.
Infographics not only have the shareability and visual appeal of a nice photo — but they’re also packed with helpful data and informative information. This makes them incredibly engaging to web visitors and social media audiences alike.
Of the marketers who regularly use infographics in their content strategy, 56% say they are their most effective content type.
Ultimately, credible data can help marketers, bloggers, and content creators tell compelling and persuasive stories. Why else do you think we surveyed hundreds of marketing professionals to create this content?
Social Media Marketing Trends
In the U.S. alone, 79% of people have some type of social media account — and globally, there are over 3.7 billion social media users.
This is why social media marketing is a popular channel that’s become a part of almost every business’s greater marketing strategy. Social media marketing allows you to authentically connect with your audience on a personal level, humanizing your brand.
16. Selling on social media.
Many social media platforms are vying to become the next go-to shopping destination. Instagram has Instagram Shopping; Facebook has Facebook Shops; and TikTok is testing new e-commerce and partnership features.
If this trend continues to grow, you may want consider focusing on social media for your lead generation efforts.
17. TikTok will continue to gain brand interest.
TikTok will experience even more growth in 2023, as 56% of marketers who currently leverage the platform are planning to increase their investment in 2023, the highest of any social media app.
Brands have been trying to tap into the true power of TikTok since it first began to go viral three years ago. Now, with well-over 1 billion global users, TikTok has positioned itself as an app for a wide variety of audiences and marketers.
Of course, if you think TikTok is just for younger demographics, think again. 50% of Millennials report visiting TikTok in the last three months along with 38% of Gen X-ers, according to HubSpot’s 2022 Consumers Trends Report. We predict these numbers will continue to rise as TikTok becomes more mainstream.
18. Most marketers will focus on just three to five social media platforms.
On average, marketers leverage four social media platforms in their roles. Facebook is the most used social media platform, used by 64% of marketers, followed by Instagram (58%), YouTube (57%), Twitter (43%), and TikTok (42%).
Managing three to five platforms is realistic. This range allows brands of all sizes to expand their reach to different audiences while also giving social media marketers a realistic list of platforms to master without stretching their bandwidth during the work week.
Here are a few questions that can help you determine how many platforms you should really be on:
- How many social media marketers are on your team?
- Which social media platforms have audiences that best align with your targets?
- How much time will it take to master a strategy on each of the platforms you’re targeting?
- Are there any platforms that won’t benefit your overall marketing strategy right now?
- Are there any platforms you can easily repurpose engaging content between? (such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts)
By asking yourself some of the questions above, you can determine how much time your social team and brand will need to build an effective and engaging strategy on each platform, and prioritize which platforms you should really focus on.
Search Engine Optimization Marketing Trends
61% of marketers say improving search engine optimization (SEO) to grow their organic presence online is their top inbound marketing priority.
Are you one of these marketers? If so, have you figured out how exactly you plan to improve your SEO and organic presence? When you optimize for specific types of consumer behavior, you’ll help your business become more discoverable online.
19. Keyword optimization will be a key priority.
By far, one of the HubSpot Blog’s most vital tactics is our Search Insights Report. This report highlights all the keywords we would like to leverage and all the blog posts we’ll need to create or update to rank for those keywords on Google.
But, we’re no longer one of the only blogs using a SIR anymore. In fact, 47% of marketing professionals who leverage SEO say their companies use search insights reports in their strategy.
For example, you can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush to do some quick SEO keyword research related to your business, products, or upcoming content to learn where you can boost your content with keyword-optimized titles, subheads, body text, or descriptions.
20. Web teams won’t forget about video and image SEO.
SEO doesn’t just involve changing the text on a page. It can also involve choosing and optimizing the right videos or images for a page to help it rank in Google images or search engine video carousels.
While optimizing images could involve compressing files to increase page speed and adding keyword optimized alt text to an image, video optimization strategies could involve embedding an video with a similar topic or keyword into a blog post.
Currently, 53% of marketers who leverage SEO have a strategy for optimizing videos and images. Of those marketers, 49% say image and video optimization is their most effective SEO tactic.
21. Link-building will help brands grow authority — and search rankings.
When sites with solid rankings begin to link to yours, Google’s crawlers note that your site might be credible and also have solid authority in your space. This can then tricker your Google ranking to go up. This, ultimately, is the goal of link-building — or getting other sites to link to yours.
Although writing highly shareable content, reaching out to share it with other websites, or ensuring that your post gets links can be time-consuming and challenging, research shows that this time and effort pays off. Of the 48% of SEO marketers that use backlinking and link building, 63% say its their brand’s most effective SEO tactic,
22. Historical optimization will help old web pages get new traffic.
Instead of coming up with new ideas, marketers are going to be taking what’s worked in the past and optimizing it for the present.
In SEO, keeping your content up to date and full of rich, engaging content will outweigh older work that is lacking in keyword relevancy with old statistics and links. Not only that, but taking existing content and repurposing it for a new podcast, webinar, or blog post can be an efficient way to keep it relevant in search engines.
While one in four SEO marketers leverage historical optimization in their strategy, 29% say of those marketers say it’s an effective SEO strategy.
23. Voice search optimization is less of a priority
Back in 2021, 41% of marketers planned to increase their investments in voice search optimization in the coming year. However, it seems this trend is less of a priority for marketers these days.
More than a quarter (28%) of marketers say they will stop leveraging voice search optimization in 2023.
While that may seem bleak, there is a portion of marketers who plan to explore this trend for the first time in 2023 (13% of marketers, to be exact). How will they do this? By framing their content around questions.
Think about it: these digital assistants answer short, informational queries such as “Who is the actor in Mission: Impossible?” or, “What’s the weather in Boston today?”, but they’ve also started to process more local, conversational, and customized searches. These may sound like, “Where’s a nearby coffee shop I can work from today?”, “How late is it open?”, and “Do they serve iced coffee?”
Aja Frost, Head of English SEO at HubSpot, says: “Businesses should look at a topic and say, ‘What questions could users ask about this?’ Then, they should plan sub-topics accordingly and look for opportunities to insert questions as headers. This will allow voice assistants to easily grab questions and recognize content as solutions.”
24. Chatbots will continue to streamline conversational marketing.
Did you know that more than half of consumers expect a response within 10 minutes to any marketing, sales, or customer service inquiry? How can this be humanly possible?
It’s not… for humans, anyway. This is probably why 40% of marketers who use automation leverage chatbots.
Bots are powered by a computer program that automates certain tasks, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface. Bots are made possible by artificial intelligence which helps it understand complex requests, personalize responses, and improve interactions over time.
Bots provide the perception and dedication of a 1:1 service experience while working with hundreds of customers — something that no customer service representative or team would ever be able to do.
To the consumers who hate repeating themselves to multiple sales or service representatives (33%, to be exact), listen up — chatbots are and will continue making your lives much easier. If used correctly, they manage conversations at scale and aggregate data from multiple sources of data, from calendars to knowledge bases to blog posts and videos.
Jon Dick, SVP of Marketing at HubSpot, says: “It’s on you to make things as easy as possible.”
“Do your buyers want to use live chat? You should give it to them. They’ve had the same problem three times in the last month? You should already know, and have a plan to fix it,” Dick concludes.
Privacy Marketing Trends
25. Brands will need to give customers more control over their data.
In the marketing world, data is highly valuable — and not just valuable to you, as a marketer or business owner. Whether it’s an email address, credit card information, or smartphone location, consumers also view their data as precious and privileged — and it’s your responsibility to take care of it.
Whether a software company, bank, government agency, or lemonade stand, every business operates using data. It’s the lifeblood of all things marketing, sales, service, and more.
But, when precious information is misused or siphoned into the wrong hands, it leads to a strong distrust in businesses and potentially exploited consumers
That’s why the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted.
GDPR is an effort by the EU to give greater control to consumers over their data. Under the GDPR, organizations must ensure that their data is collected legally and safely and that those who collect and manage said data will protect it and respect consumers’ rights.
Following the GDPR guidelines might seem like a burden, but being fined for non-compliance will feel much heavier; fines range from 10 million euros to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue.
And — GDPR isn’t the only entity enforcing privacy mandates in 2022. In fact, companies like Google and Apple are now taking stands for user data as well.
In 2021, an Apple IOS launch enabled IPhone and IPad users to determine which apps could track their third-party data, which is often used for hyper-targeted ads.
In 2022, Apple will finish rolling out another IOS update with additional email privacy protections features for Apple Mail users. Meanwhile, Google will be discontinuing the use of third-party cookies on Chrome, while encouraging advertisers to leverage its Privacy Sandbox instead.
Ultimately, brands and governing bodies are increasingly aiming to give users more choice when it comes to releasing their data. And, while it is great for the consumer, businesses who leverage personal data to run campaigns will need to create alternative strategies and pivot plans incase they lose access to crucial datapoint.
Use Marketing Trends to Grow Better
You’re up to speed… for now. And, as long as you’re keeping a thumb on the pulse of marketing trends — and always remain open to change — your business won’t fall behind.
But, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of keeping up with all these insights, don’t worry. The HubSpot Blog will be publishing regular Marketing Strategy research pieces with data from hundreds of marketing professionals in the coming months and will continue to update this post as new trends emerge.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and was updated in November 2021 with updated HubSpot Blog trends data.