2023 is here, and with the new year comes a renewed opportunity for growth and change across industries. For the public relations industry—one that is constantly evolving to meet the demands of current events, technology, trends and best practices—this year presents an opportunity to usher in even bigger creative ideas, streamline data and reporting and continue helping brands reach their target audience.
Here are three trends to watch in the new year:
Social media will continue to become a space for e-commerce
Combining social media with e-commerce is something we currently recommend to consumer-facing clients and will continue to recommend into 2023. Making a brand’s social media platforms (such as Instagram) shoppable creates another touch point for consumers, increasing page visits and overall purchase potential.
According to a recent Forbes article, around 68 percent of users report making purchases through a social media platform—a number we can only imagine will continue to grow as these platforms continue to deepen their reach. With the uptick in product marketing incorporating shoppable ads into a variety of platforms, it’s never been more important for brands to build out their social strategy to encompass an e-commerce component. Consumers want quick and easy purchase options and why not do that for them on a platform they’re already frequently on.
I can’t tell you how many times recently I’ve had my interest peaked at the site of a targeted Instagram ad, followed by a quick and easy purchase option at my fingertips, and BOOM, they’ve got themselves another customer.
AI will impact PR and marketing
Artificial intelligence is on the rise. While it’s been advancing in recent years, the introduction of new AI tools for design, copywriting and photography is sure to impact PR and marketing. From lead generation to actual content creation, the use of AI provides an opportunity for agencies to think even more creatively by leveraging AI as an asset to help elevate strategies, streamline audience targeting and help with content creation.
You may be asking how this works. Companies around the world are starting to offer artificial intelligence technologies for marketing services to help make automated decisions based on several things including data collection and analysis, as well as observations of audience or economic trends. Often utilized in digital marketing efforts where speed is essential, AI programs can even help generate blog posts, newsletters, and more, ultimately cutting down on time and saving agencies on cost in the long run.
By using AI technologies, agencies can track campaign insights from a large scale all the way to an individual metric such as a sole influencer performance. With these insights, you’re able to set data points for measuring what matters most to your clients. However, with all great things come also setbacks. While being able to automate and increase productivity is something we all look to as PR pros and marketing professionals, it’s still difficult to replace that human touch. There are so many things to consider still that machines just do not have the capabilities to see, and while there is still so much to learn in this space, it will surely become a bigger topic in 2023 and beyond.
In-house affiliate marketing is a must for agencies looking to be competitive
Affiliate marketing is no longer just an option PR agencies need to consider for the brands they represent, but practically a necessity if they want to continue making their way to the features page with their clients. With magazines increasingly going completely digital, publishers have rolled out full commerce teams dedicated solely to affiliate marketing. Why? While there is a multitude of reasons, some of the major ones include higher SEO value for digital sites and more revenue than traditional ads.
With editors shifting to featuring products with not only a high SEO value but also as a way to get them some precious ad dollars, agencies will have two choices: bring affiliate marketing into their wheelhouse or have clients outsourcing to a dedicated affiliate agency. The former is something we at Crowe PR have been working on for the past couple years and will look to double down on in 2023. While we know in the PR world just how imperative traditional relationship building and brand awareness can be, it’s always been the hardest to prove that it is an investment companies should make. Now with affiliate marketing, brands can see just how much revenue is being driven by both the influencers and publishers they work with—leaving brands to ask, “why am I paying for both when the affiliate team is getting a fine number of placements and I’m seeing the revenue generated?”
PR agencies—don’t be left out in the cold! Do your research and learn the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, build out your team and show your clients just how much of an indispensable resource you are and will continue to be. Continue demonstrating the importance of traditional relationship building with the increasing demand for proof of ROI, and not only will you hopefully build your client roster, but you may also just find another revenue source for your agency altogether.
No matter if you’ve already started doing some of these things at your agency, or are just dipping your toe in the water, it’s clear that optimization in whichever form will be at the core of 2023.