As everyone starts to get stuck into 2023, we wanted to take stock of our key predictions for the year ahead. So what can we expect in Performance Marketing in 2023?
There are always many predictions flying around at this time of the year, and being in an industry that changes so rapidly, it can be hard to know what the future holds. We can however look back at trends from the previous year and base our views on what we’re currently seeing carrying through into this year.
At Overdrive Digital we have access to a large number of ad accounts which enables us to build a great sense of what is happening right now, and also to track how the landscape is changing over time.
This post is based on the information, data and trends that we are seeing and applying to our clients right now. Who knows exactly what 2023 will bring, but we can definitely form a sensible view on the data we have to hand.
We’ve been talking about this for a long time now, but making sure you spread your budget across a number of platforms is so important.
2022 felt like the year that, in the wake of iOS14, brands really started to move budget around with quite a few starting to migrate budget slowly away from Meta Ads as the dominant spender. For some this was reinvesting in previous winners such as PPC, for others it was all about diving into new platforms such as Tik Tok.
The most important factor here is having the ability to move budget around, investing in your strongest areas of performance but also testing and consistently looking for new opportunities. It’s a delicate balance.
If you’re still working on one platform or working with a partner to manage one platform, it’s time to rethink the plan and make sure you can be dynamic with your spend.
Top of funnel
One of the areas that brands really had to work out last year was how to ensure top of funnel spend was invested in the right way. For many this required completely re-working their playbook, with the advertisers that put the hard graft in winning big time in Q4.
As a general trend, I believe that top of funnel acquisition will get harder this year for several reasons. Firstly, as costs increase there is a need to convert as efficiently as possible. We also have a reduced view on performance, and therefore making informed decisions is harder.
The key to success I believe is being smart. Clear acquisition flows, thinking outside of the box and having a well thought through series of micro conversions to aid decision making will make your life easier and help you win.
Being informed and making decisions based on data and fact has always been a critical part of success in paid media. So, when iOS14 threw a major spanner in the works, many advertisers had to completely rethink how they were reviewing data and making decisions.
There are two obvious dangers to avoid here; firstly wasting money on activity that is not contributing to performance; secondly it’s cutting spend from activity that might not be showing it’s true performance. Not easy!
Every business will need to take a look at their own customer journey and build a plan pm the best metrics & KPIs to use from there, but I believe the instant gratification days are gone. Instead, media buyers must take a longer term view and look at the bigger picture.
This means that an understanding of business, buying trends, profit and loss, margins etc etc are all critical skills. Without this information, aligning with the bigger picture is almost impossible.
With all the noise that large industry changes can bring, we can’t let this distract us from the basics.
If you boil it down, what we’re doing (still!) is putting the right message in front of the right customers at the right time. Therefore, getting your creative right is absolutely essential.
This doesn’t always mean having the slickest, most professional and beautiful content. Sometimes simple can work best. Sometimes UGC will work best.
The important point is having a very clearly defined testing strategy, and never under any circumstances standing still. Ever.
One of the huge trends from last year was the continued move towards the use of broader audiences.
On paid social this meant going wide with larger audiences and not being overly prescriptive, favoring simpler structures that channel more volume and data through each ad set.
On PPC for many clients we saw a successful move to broad match keywords, feeding through a volume of conversion data to aid the automated decision making and optimisations.
The caveat to all of the above is that this will always be case dependent, and having enough volume (of conversion data) to make the above work is key to success.
However, as a general trend for 2023 we absolutely see this continuing to be true for both social and search.
Following on from the point above, everyone under the sun has been talking about automated campaign types for an age now.
It’s not something we can ignore. We believe that the main news for 2023 is that they will continue to improve and get better. If you rewind the clock 12 months, we really weren’t seeing a lot of success with performance max campaigns…moving into 2023 this has very much changed for the better.
This does change the nature of our roles though. No longer are we building out vast and granular campaigns. Instead, the skill of a media buyer becomes fully understanding automation, how to ‘feed the machine’ and how to monitor and steer performance.
Knowing where and when to automate, what data is required to do a good job, how to structure accounts to play to the platform’s strengths without compromising control and performance. If you want success from automated campaigns, you HAVE to know how to play the game.
It’s a different but vital skill set. It is also far removed from the ‘set if and forget it’ narrative the platforms would have you believe.
So there you have it, our top predictions for 2023.
Have a great year and if you ever have questions, do get in touch!