Last year we shared our predictions for PR and digital marketing trends for 2022 and ones we hoped would disappear into the haze of 2021. As we reflect on the past year and look into our crystal ball for 2023, we review those 2022 predictions to see what proved true this year and what didn’t. Then we share our predictions for 2023 and those terrible trends we’d like to say goodbye to as we enter the new year.
Where Are They Now? 2021 PR and Digital Marketing Trends We Wanted to Say Buh-Bye To.
Okay, okay, we made need to retract this one as we are really softening on SMS marketing but still think it needs to be done very carefully. If it’s done the right way, it can actually be fun (like announcing an exclusive flash sale or product drop).
Daily Email Marketing
Although many brands are still trying this method, we still stand firm that a well-thought-out email marketing strategy that targets the right audience with the message they want to hear is going to get you a lot further than bombarding them with daily emails that aren’t segmented or relevant to the receiver.
It does seem like NFTs had their moment and quickly slipped into the distance, thank goodness. But we definitely have not changed our view on NFTs and their impact on the environment. It’s been a little uncomfortable to watch some larger outdoor-focused outlets push so hard on intangible, digital assets that are infamously hard on the environment, and we’re still a little unclear on how NFTs were supposed to inspire folks to get outside?
Where did we land? 2022 PR and Digital Marketing Trend Predictions
Podcast advertising is still a valid way to increase brand awareness, especially in niche audiences. We’ve done several campaigns with our clients this year and there is often a decent amount of creative control when you work with the podcasters directly to get the brand messaging nailed. While it can admittedly be hard to track specific ROI from this type of campaign, as opposed to other forms of performance marketing, there are methods that do work (e.g. using personalized discount codes to see how many listeners are converting). This one definitely gets a yes from us as a trend that will go from 2022 into 2023!
Start to Finish Supply Chain Transparency
This 2022 trend became overshadowed by concerns about inflation with many consumers being more concerned about ways to save money with rising costs. But with Gen Z being a generation that is hyper-focused on sustainability and brands’ ethical commitments, we don’t see this going away! It might just be more of a slow burn.
Obsessing Over Attribution
In 2022, we definitely saw a shift in focus when it comes to obsessing about attribution. Brands are understanding the necessity for engaging content that educates and entertains new consumers, putting brand values front and center. As privacy settings and tracking capabilities continue to shift, good content will matter more than ever. Brands won’t be able to retarget their way to revenue as they could in 2019.
Looking ahead to 2023
Trends We’re Leaving in 2022
Media Relations Director Suzanne Hermann recommends brands stop greenwashing. In 2023, every single brand should have a baseline sustainability plan—there’s really no excuse not to. That said, if your brand’s plan isn’t fully formed or launched, don’t fake it ‘til you make it with your PR and marketing efforts! Customers can often see right through shallow messaging, which sadly dilutes the efforts of brands who are getting it right.
Digital Media Specialist Lizzy Markman said she’d like to see aggressive hash-tagging disappear in the coming year. Gone are the days when 20 – 30 hashtags were the norm. Instagram officially recommends 3 – 5 hashtags per post to label and categorize your content. While hashtags still go a long way to get your post seen, I think we will see them lose power in 2023 as Instagram prioritizes SEO as a means of discoverability. Instead of including 20+ hashtags on each post, pivot to a few hyper-specific community hashtags. Hashtag paragraphs also feel spammy and attract bots. So, let’s all agree right now to retire them, thank you.
Hannah Kaminer, Craft Food and Beverage Senior Account Executive, says it’s time to stop trying to do every social media platform and marketing channel. Pick the platforms and channels that fit your brand’s personality the best and do those exceptionally well!
2023 Predictions for PR and Digital Marketing
Vice President of Operations Cory Van Auken 2023’s business outlook is still murky and unreliable demand forecasting has left many brands hurting for cash. Putting every marketing dollar to work (and getting creative) will be key in the coming year. This means owned, earned, and paid marketing will need to work together. This will be done through owned and earned content amplification across a brand’s marketing channels.
For example– if a brand invests in a longer-form storytelling video piece for their owned YouTube channel– this video can be repurposed and amplified in a number of different ways including:
- Pitched to a digital media outlet as a great content feature for their audience
- Featured in an email marketing campaign
- Edited into featured shorts that can be posted on the brand’s organic social channels
- Edited into short narrative-inspired social ads, introducing top-funnel audiences to the brand
- Embedded and featured alongside an accompanying synopsis on the brand’s blog
Media Relations Director Suzanne Hermann Adaptability! PR teams need to be nimble to keep up with our media partners and get them the information they need to secure coverage for our brands. As we all know, newsrooms are shrinking and large media houses are laying off staffers left and right, leaving an ever-increasing number of journalists working as freelancers. Knowing where to follow these folks, even if they switch roles, is critical to help fill their needs whether it’s on social media, podcasts, Slack channels, Substack newsletters, etc. Relying on outdated media lists is a thing of the past – for better or worse, folks are moving quickly from job to job, and keeping track of them boils down to forming authentic relationships and taking a creative approach to media outreach.
Digital Media Specialist Lizzy Markman Look out world, photos are making a comeback on Instagram! While Reels are not going away and should absolutely be a part of your content strategy, Instagram listened to users’ complaints and is prioritizing a balanced feed. I predict we’ll see photos have a higher reach and engagement in 2023 than they did for all of 2022. Not only that, but Instagram’s newest feature allows users to add music to feed posts (hello, MySpace), making photo and carousel posts even more interactive.
2022 put many brands in a hard spot with supply chain woes, which then ended up in overstock and cash flow issues by Q3. It’s going to be interesting to see how 2023 balances out with a potential recession on the horizon, stock levels balancing out, and consumer trends potentially going back to a post-pandemic normal. What do you foresee happening in the coming year? Share with us in the comments.