2023 Digital Marketing Forecast_ Sunny with a Chance of Storms

Some may say events of the past two years in digital marketing could be characterized as cataclysmic. Together as an industry, we’ve worked to take shelter, secure the windows, prepare our readiness kits, and bolster our communication plans. But what fronts are moving across the marketing Doppler as we look to 2023? More than we can report in a brief forecast. Overall, we’re calling for sun, with a chance of storms.

eMarketer predicts digital will bring the heat in 2023 with nearly $279 billion in ad spending, capturing 75% of national ad spend overall. IAB concurs, anticipating that every digital channel will experience growth. In contrast, traditional mediums, including radio, print, out of home, direct mail, and linear TV, will decline.

Consumers, on the other hand, aren’t weathering the atmospheric pressure quite so well. From waning financial security and the cost of living crisis to gun violence and geopolitical tensions, only 19% of Americans say they’re very happy, according to the General Social Survey –– the lowest level, by far, in 50 years. One-fifth report they experience anxiety regularly, up 32% from two years ago. How might this relate to digital media? It’s all one connected system.

People need a safe haven from the stressors of the world. Many find this salvation in the media they consume. When so much feels uncontrollable, we can choose what we watch, what we listen to, and with which social platforms to engage.

Video Captures the Primetime Spot

Case in point –– many Americans are trading news content for action or romance programs and movies. Romantic comedies gained 9% in popularity over the past two years. We’re presently spending 161 minutes each day with digital video, and we’ll increase that time investment further to 173 minutes. Ad dollars are flowing where consumer attention resides. Concurrently, digital video, inclusive of CTV, will garner the greatest share of ad spend next year (22%).

Audio Delivers Strong Gusts
One in three Americans claim listening to audio, whether music or podcasts, helps them relax, release stress, and alleviate anxiety. Advertisers have followed this lead, with online therapy provider BetterHelp routinely outspending others in the podcast space. In 2023, we won’t see the dramatic pandemic-fueled surge experienced in recent years, but the tailwinds remain steady, with digital audio expected to increase 11 points, representing $7 billion.

Social Still Shines Bright

While Americans of all ages are less likely to agree that social media is good for society, people are using it to discover new products with Gen Z shaping much of the social landscape. In fact, 40% of U.S. users ages 18 – 24 begin their research on TikTok or Instagram, despite threats of cyberespionage and surveillance on the former. Bear in mind, endless skipping and scrolling have rendered all attention spans extremely limited, but Gen Z’s is lower than every other group. Ads must earn interest, entertain, and capture attention in an instant. (Literally, Gen Z’s active attention span is 1.3 seconds.) In this social space, interest in influencers continues to grow, increasing 16% YoY, but the desired content shifts from aspirational to inspirational. Marketers are tracking these patterns, as social network ad spending will hit $71 billion next year, a projected gain of 9%, with influencer marketing increasing 23% to reach more than $6 billion.

Digital media, in particular, is helping people navigate the heaviness of the world. Not only must we treat this privilege responsibly, but also with great preparedness –– umbrellas and rain boots at-the-ready. You need a partner who’s tracking the ever-shifting weather patterns in 2023 and beyond. Brkthru can reach your customers when and where they are, rain or shine.

Get In Touch