When tasked to write an article on Digital Marketing Trends, I thought it needed a fresh approach to represent the changes we are experiencing from generative AI.
So, in the spirit of current trends, I decided to create an A/B test of my insights versus the responses generated by ChatGPT.
I was curious to see what ChatGPT would produce when I asked it to “write an article about the top 10 digital marketing trends for 2023 in the style of Greg Jarboe.”
The answers it generated are below in italics, and my analysis and evaluation are in regular text.
Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends For 2023, Written by ChatGPT
Here’s ChatGPT’s opening paragraph:
“The world of digital marketing is constantly changing, and keeping up with the latest trends is crucial for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition.
In 2023, we can expect to see a number of exciting developments in the world of digital marketing, and I’ve rounded up the top 10 trends that are set to dominate the scene this year.”
Not bad…for a chatbot. But this was its second shot at writing a lead.
The first time around, I asked ChatGPT to “write a story about the top 10 digital marketing trends for 2023.” And it produced,
“Once upon a time, in the year 2023, the world of digital marketing was buzzing with excitement as the industry was on the cusp of a revolution.
With new technologies emerging and consumer behavior changing rapidly, businesses were eager to stay ahead of the curve and adopt the latest marketing trends.”
That’s when I remembered that ChatGPT is sensitive to tweaks to the input phrasing.
So, when I asked for a “story,” it gave me something I could tell my grandkids. But, when I asked for an “article,” it gave me something I could submit to my editors.
At first, I thought that I was training the chatbot.
Then, I realized that ChatGPT was training me.
Finally, I concluded that the model had been optimized for dialogue – and I’d received exactly what I was looking for on the second try.
That is not bad at all…for a model that usually guesses what the user intended.
But the tougher part of my A/B test was still ahead.
Here’s the first digital marketing trend that ChatGPT generated in response to my revised question:
1. Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning
“AI and ML are transforming the way businesses operate, and they’re also revolutionizing the way we approach digital marketing.
By leveraging these technologies, businesses can deliver personalized experiences to their customers and automate tasks, freeing up time for marketers to focus on more strategic initiatives.”
Well, humans – especially ones who could demonstrate their E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) – shouldn’t try to select a different top trend.
Why? Because this is the right choice.
If you have doubts AI and ML are “revolutionizing the way we approach digital marketing,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, “declared a ‘code red,’ upending existing plans and jump-starting A.I. development.”
All I can add is an example.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has a set of features called Analytics Intelligence, which apply Google’s machine learning models to analyze your data and predict future actions end-users may take.
And 412 Food Rescue, a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh, needed to recruit more volunteers to deliver food from retailers to people experiencing food insecurity.
Automated Insights showed them that weekends tended to be a little bit slower in terms of volunteers and engagement, so they adjusted the social media campaigns that were driving traffic to their website.
They’ve cut their reporting time by 50%, freeing up their already limited staff to grow their impact throughout the community and expand to new cities.
Then see this for yourself, watch “Google Analytics: 412 Food Rescue Case Study.”
2. Voice Search Optimization
“With the rise of voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, voice search is becoming increasingly popular.
To ensure that their products and services appear at the top of the results when consumers search using their voice, businesses are optimizing their content for voice search.”
I was still surprised that ChatGPT had selected voice search optimization as one of the top digital marketing trends. This prompted me to read a couple of recent articles on this topic, including:
- Voice Search Optimization At Scale: A Guide For Enterprise Marketers read, “33% of people in the U.S. use voice search.”
- Tips For Leveraging The Power Of Voice Search Optimization read, “there will be 8 billion voice assistants in use worldwide by 2024.”
- Voice Search: What Is It & How Does It Work? read, “If your business isn’t focusing on voice search optimization, you could be missing out on sales.”
After reading up on voice search, ChatGPT is spot on. And using the chatbot helped me to see around corners.
So, even if ChatGPT “may occasionally generate incorrect information,” I’d argue that this is not one of those occasions.
3. Interactive Content
“Interactive content, such as quizzes, surveys, and games, is becoming increasingly popular as a way for businesses to engage with their customers and gain valuable insights into their audience.
By providing a more interactive experience, businesses can build stronger relationships with consumers and create a more memorable brand experience.”
ChatGPT’s selection of this trend puzzled me.
So, I read Interactive Content: 10 Types To Engage Your Audience, which claimed, “interactivity is extremely important in the online world, and it will improve user experience.”
Okay. But is interactive content more important to SEO than, say, Google’s August 2022 helpful content update?
To answer this question, I’d need to conduct a multivariate test within this A/B test to determine if the chatbot has spotted a trend that we should focus on in 2023.
Get City Dealz, SEO-PR, and Business Wire (disclaimer: I co-founded SEO-PR) won two awards in 2013 for an A/B/C test, which found a press release with a video got 55.4% more release views and 36.1% more link clicks – and a release with a photo had 4.6% more release views and 7.1% more link clicks – than a release with no multimedia.
In 2018, Business Wire launched Interactive Media news releases, which received 88 seconds of “active attention” compared to 30 seconds of “passive attention” for traditional news releases.
Business Wire also says the interactive format “engages audiences 30% – 50% more than traditional news releases.”
But I haven’t tested Interactive Media news releases yet. So, let’s just say the jury is still out on interactive content.
“As consumers are constantly on the go and using their mobile devices for quick information, businesses are focusing on micro-moments.
These are the moments when consumers need information immediately, and businesses are providing relevant and timely information at exactly the right moment.”
I was baffled by ChatGPT’s selection of micro-moments as one of the top digital marketing trends for 2023. It’s been a trend for more than a decade, so why should we refocus our attention on this now?
Well, ChatGPT’s knowledge of events after 2021 is limited. And back then, people were emerging from lockdowns during the global pandemic.
So, they suddenly started using their mobile devices again to search for “covid vaccine near me” or “Johnson and Johnson vaccine near me.”
Maybe these old micro-moments prompted the chatbot to select an outdated trend.
On the other hand, Think with Google has either published or updated 72 articles that mention “micro-moments” in the past year. (It’s worth noting that 55 of these articles were updated on Dec. 7, 2022, including The Basics of Micro-Moments, originally published in May 2015.)
So, does Google know something about micro-moments that we don’t know yet? Only time will tell.
5. Influencer Marketing
“Influencer marketing is becoming a staple in the digital marketing world, with businesses partnering with social media influencers to reach a wider audience and build brand awareness.
By tapping into the influence that these individuals have over their followers, businesses can reach new customers and drive conversions.”
I completely agree with ChatGPT’s selection of influencer marketing as one of the top digital marketing trends for 2023.
The data from this year’s Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report tells a very compelling story:
- Over 82% of brand marketers plan to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2023.
- 67% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing expenditures.
- The influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth $21.1 billion in 2023 – a 29% growth YoY.
- 83% of marketers believe influence marketing is an effective form of marketing.
I recently commented “Worldwide interest in ‘influencer marketing’ passed ‘social media marketing’ in January 2018 and is now about two times greater.”
You can verify this for yourself by using Google Trends to compare web search interest in the topics “social media marketing” and “influencer marketing” in the U.S. from 2004 to the present. Here’s what you’ll see:
So, I wouldn’t be shocked to find that brands have started shifting even more of their budgets out of organic social media marketing and into influencer marketing in 2023.
6. Video Marketing
“Video content is becoming the dominant form of content on the internet, and businesses are incorporating video into their marketing strategies to reach consumers in new and engaging ways.
Whether it’s through social media, video advertisements, or product demos, video is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their customers.”
I wholeheartedly agree with ChatGPT’s selection of video marketing as one of the top digital marketing trends for 2023.
But I asked myself, “Why should we refocus our attention on it now?”
During Alphabet’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Feb. 2, 2023, CEO Sundar Pichai said that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion daily views, up from 30 billion a year ago.
A day earlier, YouTube enabled creators to share advertising revenue from short-form videos.
That’s a good reason to refocus our attention on video marketing.
So, while many industry analysts are focused on TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube has steadily (and stealthily) become a leader in short-form video. And that’s a trend worth refocusing on, too.
“Chatbots are becoming more sophisticated, providing instant and personalized customer service.
This technology is freeing up time for businesses to focus on other tasks, and it’s also making it easier for consumers to get the information they need quickly and efficiently.”
Are chatbots one of this year’s top digital marketing trends? Give me a break.
Even David Leonhardt of The New York Times listed ChatGPT as one of the Seven Surprises of the past few months. His colleague Kevin Roose says, “ChatGPT is still young – only 2 months old! – and yet we’re already getting a glimpse of the many ways these A.I. chatbots could change our lives.”
But riddle me this: If ChatGPT has a “limited knowledge of (the) world and events after 2021,” how could it predict that chatbots will be one of the top digital marketing trends for 2023?
Has ChatGPT become self-aware? Or is the chatbot guilty of shameless self-promotion?
There’s a serious answer to these whimsical questions.
To discover it, read Google CEO Confirms AI Features Coming To Search ‘Soon’, which includes a statement from Google’s CEO regarding a new, ChatGPT-like service.
According to Pichai,
“In 2021, we shared next-gen language + conversation capabilities powered by our Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). Coming soon: Bard, a new experimental conversational #GoogleAI service powered by LaMDA.”
So, are chatbots one of this year’s top digital marketing trends? I’d call that a big yes.
“With data becoming increasingly accessible, businesses are leveraging this information to deliver personalized experiences to their customers.
From targeted ads to customized content recommendations, personalization is key to delivering a unique and engaging customer experience.”
I strongly disagree with ChatGPT’s selection of this trend.
Personalization was one of the top digital marketing trends in the past.
But it’s now facing strong headwinds from consumers, who use ad blockers to avoid intrusive or repetitive ads; privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA; and privacy changes by key players, like Google and Apple.
With growing privacy concerns, consumers are rethinking what data they’re willing to give to brands, and this is forcing marketers to change their perception of personalization
In 2023, our attention should shift to “predictive audiences.”
What are these? In GA4, a predictive audience is a group of users with at least one condition based on a predictive metric.
For example, you can build an audience of “predicted 28-day top spenders” that includes users who are predicted to generate the most revenue in the next 28 days.
Last year, I wrote,
“McDonald’s Hong Kong met its goal of growing mobile orders using a predictive audience of ‘likely 7-day purchasers.’
They exported this audience to Google Ads – and increased their app orders more than six times. They also saw a 2.3 times stronger ROI, a 5.6 times increase in revenue, and a 63% reduction in cost per action.”
So, you should stop fighting the last war and start winning kudos from your CMO or clients by creating predictive audiences in 2023.
9. Social Media Advertising
“Social media advertising is continuing to grow, with businesses leveraging platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach their target audience and drive conversions.
Whether it’s through sponsored content, display ads, or influencer partnerships, social media advertising is an effective way for businesses to reach new customers and build brand awareness.”
I generally agree with ChatGPT about this trend – with a few caveats.
Social media advertising will continue to grow.
I believe advertisers should move some of their ad budgets out of Facebook and Twitter and into YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn in 2023.
Advertisers should also move more of the ad budgets out of display ads and into social video ads.
In fact, Video now accounts for over half of all social network ad revenues, according to Evelyn Mitchell of Insider Intelligence.
And she acknowledged, “Previously, we didn’t expect video to hit the 50% milestone until after 2024. With advertisers preserving more of their social video budgets during the downturn, this trend was accelerated.”
There’s one other bit of critical data to digest: Social video ad spending is expected to grow 21.2% in 2023.
But the biggest growth driver in digital video ad spending is connected TV (CTV), which will grow 27.2% this year.
10. Virtual And Augmented Reality
“Virtual and augmented reality is becoming more widespread, allowing businesses to create immersive experiences for their customers.
From virtual product demonstrations to augmented reality shopping, these technologies are providing a new way for businesses to connect with their customers and create a more engaging brand experience.”
If personalization is an example of fighting the last war, then virtual and augmented reality is an example of a bridge too far.
VR and AR may become top trends in three to five years, but not in 2023.
Back in 2016, I said, “Sometimes you need to step back – way back – to get a different perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing marketers today.”
So, when virtual and augmented reality become top trends in 2026 to 2028, don’t be surprised if other formats – from short-form and long-form to stories and live streaming – continue to be popular on a variety of devices, from smartphones and laptops to smart TVs and gaming consoles, too.
The Verdict On ChatGPT?
Here’s ChatGPT’s closing paragraph:
“In conclusion, these are just a few of the digital marketing trends that are set to dominate the scene in 2023. By staying ahead of the curve and adopting these new technologies and strategies, businesses can reach new customers, build brand awareness, and stay ahead of the competition.”
Not bad, not bad at all…for a chatbot.
So, in an era of digital transformation, could you trust a list of trends from a large language model that suffers from artificial intelligence hallucination?
And, in a time when you need to understand the latest shifts in consumer behaviors, needs, and beliefs, should you believe a forecast created by a chatbot that admits it has a “limited knowledge of (the) world and events after 2021”?
Finally, would you prefer a thousand-word summary of digital marketing trends from an AI system or insights from a human with expertise on the topic?
But this hasn’t been a legendary timber-cutting contest nor an actual A/B test.
You don’t need to choose between ChatGPT’s answers and mine.
Heck, you can compare and contrast them, just as I have.
In fact, I plan to continue using OpenAI’s chatbot in 2023 – unless Google’s Bard turns out to be significantly better. (But I haven’t tested Bard yet.)
Let me close this article by sharing the concluding paragraph of ChatGPT’s first response, which the chatbot gave me when I asked it to “write a story about the top 10 digital marketing trends for 2023.”
“In conclusion, the world of digital marketing was evolving at a rapid pace, and businesses were embracing these new trends to stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of consumers.”
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