Top 7 Digital Marketing Trends for Agencies
To keep up, agencies need to take initiative as soon as a marketing trend begins. This not only helps your clients stand out in their markets, but it also helps you become a leading agency in your own right.
Here are the top digital marketing trends for agencies that you should jump on quickly in 2023.
Key Agency Takeaways
- Connect with online shoppers in more meaningful ways by using the power of one-on-one messaging and immersive digital events
- Automate the most tedious aspects of your marketing efforts with chatbots and other marketing tools
- Create short-form video content to use social media algorithms to your advantage and stand out to the rising generation of consumers
Top 7 digital marketing trends for agencies
While in-person marketing still has its time and place, consumers are spending more time in the digital world than in the past. In mobile-first markets, people spend an average of 4.8 hours on mobile device apps—and that doesn’t include time spent on their computers. More than ever, your team needs to know how to capitalize on digital marketing trends for agencies to get better results for clients and achieve business growth. Here are seven strategies to consider that make the most of new technologies.
1. Conversational marketing
Instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat now have billions of monthly active users. What’s more, 63% of consumers would choose a brand that uses text messages over the one they’re currently using. Two-way communication has become central to building relationships, which makes it critical to a great customer experience.
Conversational marketing—which involves using real-time conversations to promote and sell products or services—is a digital marketing trend for agencies that can help you strengthen relationships with leads and customers alike. While you may already be doing conversational marketing to some extent, you can step ahead of your competitors by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI). Set up instant responses with chatbot software so you can have more one-on-one conversations with clients and free up your team’s time for the most meaningful discussions.
Personalization is a long-term trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. As digital marketing software continues to make it easy for brands to target niche audiences, shoppers will increasingly expect brands to cater to their needs. In fact, 76% of consumers already get frustrated when they receive irrelevant recommendations from brands.
To keep your clients ahead of their competition and improve user experience, actively seek new ways to personalize your online marketing efforts. Think beyond simple market segmentation and consider innovative tactics like:
- Building a loyalty program that lets clients choose their own rewards
- Using email marketing software to create dynamic email content that changes based on your subscriber’s device, consumer behavior, and other factors
- Creating augmented reality (AR) filters that let users visualize products in their own life (like a lipstick color or sunglasses on their face, or a nightstand in their bedroom)
- Making an online questionnaire that gives shoppers instant product or service recommendations based on their needs, like beauty brand DECIEM’s Skincare Regimen Builder
An online questionnaire can even be a customer-centric way to increase your data collection. Paired with a machine learning tool like Akkio or Microsoft Power BI, you can even sort, visualize, and analyze your data within minutes to make better data-driven decisions while saving time.
3. Voice search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a staple digital marketing strategy for many content marketers. However, consumers are no longer just searching for answers using text. Voice search is becoming more and more common, thanks to the rise of virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri. By 2024, over 8 billion voice assistants are expected to be in use around the world—double the amount in 2020.
With this in mind, digital marketing agencies must shift their SEO content strategies to stay ahead of their competitors. Start targeting more conversational, long-form keywords—search terms that feel natural to speak, like “do car washes damage paint” instead of “how to wash cars.”
On top of helping your clients show up on voice search, answering these queries directly can get your content chosen for “featured snippets.” These snippets are highly relevant answers—usually a few sentences at most—that show up above regular search results, making them just as valuable (if not more) than a high search engine rank.
4. Short-form video content
Video marketing has been one of the most persistent digital marketing trends for agencies in the past decade. This year, it’s clear that short-form video content will reign supreme across social media platforms. TikTok usage has skyrocketed to a billion users while YouTube Shorts (videos no longer than a minute) now make up 57% of YouTube views. Plus, Instagram will continue to prioritize Reels, making short-form video key to leveraging social media algorithms and boosting reach.
Putting your focus on short-form video formats can also get your clients noticed by more members of Gen Z and young millennials, two demographics that have proven their influence on online culture. Let your client’s brand personality take center stage with fun shorts that humanize their brand—whether it’s by showing off the experts on their team or by giving a less picture-perfect, more authentic look at what they do.
5. Digital marketing automation
These days, modern consumers can get just about everything they need with a few taps on their smartphones. They’re used to convenience and efficiency. When they’re shopping for products or services, many consumers will want to get the answers they need as quickly as possible. If your marketing team is struggling to reach target audience members faster than competitors, automation is one of the top digital marketing trends for agencies you’ll want to embrace.
Each month, make a list of the repetitive tasks that are wasting the most time or money for your agency—for instance, scheduling social media posts or collecting data during market research. Then, brainstorm ways you can use software to automate each of these tasks. As you regularly find new ways to automate your digital marketing over the next year, you can save time and cut costs so you can support more clients and their customers.
6. Immersive digital experiences
While the Meta metaverse faced significant losses toward the end of 2022, many marketing experts still agree that the metaverse —a shared virtual reality environment that users can interact in—has enormous potential. In 2023, 56% of advertisers at brands and agencies are investing in or considering investing in metaverse ads—largely to build brand awareness. Even if long-term success of the metaverse might be arguable, the fact is that consumers are increasingly immersed in the digital world, which means experiential marketing may go virtual too.
Instead of hosting basic webinars, you can experiment with live metaverse events by using tools like Virbela. Or you can transition your influencer marketing strategy to the metaverse and simply hire well-known avatars to promote your clients on their behalf.
Much like influencers on TikTok or Instagram, these avatars are users, celebrities (like Travis Scott), or personas (like Lil Miquela and Kyra) with large audiences in the metaverse. Even micro-influencers in the metaverse typically have a presence on social media platforms or their own website, where you can reach out or get the contact information you need.
7. Customer experience marketing
Ecommerce—including the growing social commerce sector—has given consumers access to more buying options than ever before. With the power to choose in their hands, potential customers can select the brands that best meet their needs instead of settling for the only choice. Successful agencies must shift to a more customer-centric mindset and show how their clients’ brands add value to consumers’ lives.
To show a client’s dedication to building a great customer experience, craft a digital marketing strategy that shows how they take customer needs into account. Some examples of tactics you can use include:
- Claiming your Yelp Business Page to craft thoughtful responses to online reviews, which 77% of consumers always or regularly read when searching for local businesses
- Creating high-quality content that gives your target market the answers they need throughout the customer journey
- Building social media marketing campaigns that encourage users to comment or message your brand so you can get their thoughts and have direct interactions
Stay on top of digital marketing trends and get ahead of the competition
Success for your clients is success for your agency, and it starts with staying on top of the most effective strategies for every marketing channel. Following these digital marketing trends for agencies—from embracing chatbots and voice search to diving into the metaverse—can help you take the lead in your market. Once you add these new trends into your marketing plan, learn about other key ways you can grow your agency, from creating lead magnets to cross-selling your services.
Kelly Miller is Head of Partner Sales at Yelp. Read more about the Yelp Advertising Partner Program.