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2023 Digital Marketing trends for SMEs

2023 Digital Marketing trends for SMEs
Summary: As Digital Marketers, our inboxes are overflowing with news articles about what’s new and exciting in our sector. Which of the key trends being talked about are key to SMEs in the UK?

Macro Marketing trends


1. Purposeful marketing

Audiences are increasingly expecting companies to help them make more sustainable choices. Whether this is environmental impact, or positive social impact, brands are not simply reducing their own environmental impact, but are now starting to focus on a greater purpose.


2. Inclusive representation

Inclusivity in marketing creative remains high on the agenda. Google’s advice is :

“In 2023, brands should carry out an audit of their media plan. Assess whether the mix of channels and publishers reaches the breadth of intended audience and review for potential biases in keyword and topic exclusions. Additionally, consider what affirmative action can be taken to authentically support underrepresented voices and communities.”


3. Value proposition

In times of economic uncertainty, people review how they are spending their money. Netflix has seen 970,000 subscribers cancel in just Q2 of 2022, and Gartner are reporting that 53% of audiences say it’s less important to choose a well-known brand than it was 3 years ago. To avoid a race to the bottom in terms of price, companies are looking at how they generate value outside of simply the product that they sell.


4. Gen Z

Gen Z are the first generation to have never known life without the internet. They are interacting with intuitive, dynamic and highly visual platforms, which is driving increasing innovation speed in these areas. Google has some great advice for marketing to Gen Zs too :

“In 2023, do not try to bring Gen Z audiences into your world, but meet them in theirs. Understand their unmet needs, prioritise relevance and authenticity over homogenous singularity, and embrace the diverse, visual worlds they inhabit.”


5. Privacy

It’s no surprise that poor privacy experiences negatively impact customer trust, particularly in digital marketing. In a recent piece of Google research, 43% of respondents said they would switch brand in the event of a data privacy breach. Don’t think that people won’t bother – the latest Gartner CMO survey shows that people are more than happy to take action to protect their data :

Privacy actions customers take to protect their data

For 2023, make sure you give your customers what they need to be, and feel, in control of their data.


Trends in Digital Marketing for SMEs in 2023


1. Social Media is evolving

I was pleased to read that general interest in News is the highest this quarter since the beginning of the pandemic. Increasingly, people are consuming their news on the move via News apps or Social Media, and as of Q2 this year, 58% of consumers say they access news this way. (GWI survey). This trend will generate an increased focus on the balance between freedoms and controls on the various platforms. We’ll be watching what happens to Twitter as a result of this with interest. We’ll also be keeping a close eye on Mastodon, who are hotly tipped to fill the void that Twitter is leaving behind.

On a completely different tack, Social Media channels are making it easier to shop through their apps, led by Instagram and Tik Tok. GWI report that 46% of Gen Zs and Millennials make an impulse purchase online every 2-3 weeks – imagine what this will look like as advertising on these platforms matures.


2. Video content goes snack size

For a world frequently on the move, “snackable” content is becoming increasingly effective. YouTube Shorts has 1.5billion active users, so is becoming a fantastic platform for advertisers. Here’s the latest advice from Google :

“[Create] fresh ways to approach each video format to authentically connect with [your] their audiences. It’s important to leverage storytelling best practices to create highly engaging short-form video content. For example, videos should jump straight into the action. With only 10 to 60 seconds of available ad time, there’s no need to set up a premise or establish a storyline with lots of extra context.”


3. Podcasts are here to stay

Similarly, what better way to consume content “on the go” than via a podcast? Spotify is the favoured platform for 16-24 year olds, and comedy the most popular genre.


4. AI and Machine learning is becoming more accessible

Google is kicking off 2023 with it’s move to Google Analytics 4 – they take a completely fresh look at how they present your data, and importantly, how they “fill in the blanks” created by the recent changes to cookie and privacy options.

Data analytics tools are also using AI to help businesses to use their data to predict future trends. No longer is this the domain of corporate scale businesses, this technology is now much more accessible – check out Sweet Analytics as a great example.


5. Augmented Reality and the Metaverse will become more mainstream

The pandemic prompted a wave of innovation in helping brands to make their online environments more immersive and experiential.

AR is the format which has created the most traction so far – we have seen virtual shops, such as Ralph Lauren’s, virtual Ad campaigns, like the one Google highlights at Miss Dior, and more relatable functionality such as trying on clothes on your own avatar, or viewing furniture you are buying in a room in your home.

Don’t dismiss the Metaverse either – one of the ways brands are making themselves more immersive and interactive is through “gamification”. Yes, people are actually buying Gucci shoes for their avatar in the metaverse!

You may think that this sounds a bit fringe, but take a look at these responses from the top CMOs in Gartner’s recent CMO survey :

How leading CMOs are investing in emerging technology

6. Web 3 is coming

One of the key responses to changes in privacy and security is the emergence of what’s being called “web 3”. This is a new generation of internet technology, which promises online commerce which is more efficient, transparent and reliable than ever before.

Find out more from WSI central here.

What is Web 3?


7. Embrace Digital, Stay Human

We must never forget that people do business with people, even when they are interacting through a screen.

Google have been working on making search more intuitive and natural, which includes developments in making images more searchable and more helpful. As an example, 3-D images will become more widely available for shopping and navigation apps and sites.

We’re also seeing a trend in influencer marketing, which is all about engaging with your employees to become your advocates – who better to talk about what you do than the people who work with you!



The Digital landscape is constantly evolving, and we make it our business to know what’s happening in our sector so that we can help our clients to navigate the changes that affect them, whilst dismissing the changes which are distractions.

If the above points resonate with you, and you’d like to speak with an expert, please contact us to arrange a no-commitment chat.

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