Growth marketing has been significantly transformed in recent years.
Privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation policy resulted in a number of tracking, tagging, and data gathering changes. Apple’s new iOS 14.5 caused Facebook to issue a number of pivots, which growth marketers had to adapt to. Collaborative influencer marketing strategies and UGC began to define all our feeds across social. 2023 will be an important year for growth marketing, likely defined by finding solutions to and optimizations on these transformative headings.
Based on my research and years of experience in growth marketing, here are the five trends that will come to shape 2023, plus some proven tips and tricks you can leverage. An important caveat: growth marketing encompasses many subjects, but for this list, I’ll be narrowing my focus to the subject of paid acquisition.
Omnichannel digital marketing campaigns - moving away from Meta (Facebook)
In recent years, the growth marketing community has talked about the dangers of being so reliant upon Meta advertising for user acquisition, as well as the importance of diversifying your acquisition stack.
Companies have generally been able to get by allocating more than half of their budget toward Meta, but I believe 2022 was and will be the last year we’re able to skate by without investing heavily into other channels.
In 2023, your growth marketing plan must be crafted in a way that puts no more than 50% of your budget toward Meta. It will be imperative to separate your budget into, for example, “evergreen channel spending” and “experimental channel spending”. Here, you can employ the classic 70/30 rule, where “evergreen” holds 70% of your budget and “experimental” holds 30%.
Generally, your evergreen channels can include Meta, Google Search & Display Ads, YouTube, and SEO. Experimental channels may take some time to identify and test, but here are some paid channels and campaign types that I’ve had success with recently that I recommend you test with first:
- Google Performance Max
- Sponsored Editorial
Now, there are other options like podcasts, radio, over-the-top (OTT), and influencer marketing, which work and are completely valid. But I recommend prioritizing the ones above because they’re relatively faster to launch and can generate a large enough sample size for meaningful results on a medium budget.
Based on all of the above, your new growth marketing plan may look like this for a given quarter:
Have a UGC-pipeline
UGC stands for user generated content. UGC has already entered the arena of growth marketing, but if 2022 is any indication, 2023 will be even more significant for this type of content.
A study conducted by TurnTo Networks found the following:
“…most shoppers (90 percent) report UGC influences their decisions to make a purchase, outranking all other forms of marketing, including search engines (87 percent) and promotional emails (79 percent), which came in second and third. Notably, shoppers are also willing to pay more (81 percent) and wait longer (81 percent) for products paired with UGC.”
Leveraging UGC in ad creative will likely provide a much-needed boost in performance. It may not happen immediately, but once you find the right influencer, intro messages and action hooks, and key shots, UGC could cut your cost-per-aquisition (CPA) by up to 40%, in my experience.
Here are the steps to set up your UGC pipeline:
- Partner with an influencer agency or just direct message influencers in your niche that make great content and have a strong engagement ratio.
- Once you find a couple of influencers, provide some general talking points and brand guidelines, and let them do their thing.
- I’d recommend getting two or three videos from each influencer every month, and over time with testing, you’ll start to unlock a new gear for your growth marketing engine.
Weekly/bi-weekly creative refreshes
Creative-driven marketing will become even more important to a healthy growth marketing plan in 2023. To put it simply, if your creative team isn’t making new, data-driven ad creative on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you’ll likely see your ad performance suffer.
Ad platform algorithms favor ad accounts that refresh creative frequently. Moreover, these platforms are starting to rely on and nudge advertisers to make ad creative that improve the overall user experience of their platforms. How? If you run ads on Meta, TikTok, and/or YouTube, you likely already start to see creative fatigue around two to four weeks out, depending upon your budget. At that point, your click-through rate will likely drop and CPA will increase. This is the platform telling you it’s time to launch new creative.
Since not all companies can build and launch creative on this timeline, here are some tips you can employ:
- Leverage existing content to make new ads: If you have four influencer-based video ads and they’ve been running for a while, try creating a supercut of these videos. Find parts of each that you can mix and match to create new videos. I bet you’d be able to create at least five new videos.
- Always be testing: Whenever you build a campaign, always run a test. You should have your control creative and a variation(s) to test against. If you aren’t testing, you’re not learning and evolving.
- Make a creative scorecard: Over time, you’ll likely start to see patterns or themes across creative that work. It could be the use of a color, a particular message, a certain type of shot, or a specific intro action. Take these learnings and build a creative scorecard. List out the attributes that work and assign values to their importance on a scale of 1-5. For example, if your data suggests that having the color purple is a significant indicator of performance, mark having this attribute with a score of 5. Once you build this scorecard, give it to your creative team so they know exactly what themes should be in your creative or in any new batch of ad creative.
Pixel-first campaign builds
Growth marketers already have a love/hate relationship with pixels, but perhaps I can offer some advice that’ll add a bit more love and less hate.
Some of the most recent innovations in paid social and paid search advertising fall under the banner of “conversion tracking”. Meta has Conversions API and the Aggregated Event Measurement tool, Google has enhanced conversions tracking, and even TikTok just upgraded their Pixel setup with Events API and Pixel Helper 2.0.
Earlier, you could perhaps get away with not adding values to your conversion events or waiting to upgrade your conversion tracking. In 2023, that won’t be the case. You’ll need to be up to date for you to generate the most success from your campaigns.
For example, if you’re building a direct response campaign, you should be using a conversion-goal campaign build and a conversion-type bid strategy. Additionally, each conversion event along your funnel should have an associated value. For ecommerce, this is relatively straightforward, but for a sales funnel, it’s a bit different. I’ve seen many sales and lead-based funnels not have values on their events, and I can tell you that it’s hurting performance.
Here’s what you can do:
- Connect with your analyst and determine average values along each step of the funnel — an initial lead form submission, a qualified lead, and a converted lead.
- Create events for each of those steps and assign your calculated values.
- Switch your campaign bid strategies to a conversion type once you have a large enough sample size and steady volume. Pro tip: At this point, you can test a few different bid types against one another, such as maximize conversions vs. maximize value vs. target cost-per-acquisition (TCPA).
In sum, make sure you’re prioritizing your pixel and giving it as much accurate and relevant data as you can.
AI with landing page AB testing
If you do all of the above, you’ll already be ahead of the average advertiser.
But there’s one more optimization you can make to your growth marketing plan: landing page AB testing. This is a large topic and deserves its own article, but as it relates to growth marketing, there are a few easy things you can do to increase your conversion rate.
Worldwide revenue in the artificial intelligence market is set to eclipse $500 billion in 2023, according to a recent report by IDC. A powerful application of AI within growth marketing is the ability to dynamically generate optimized landing page copy. Imagine never having to write copy for your landing pages again and letting AI do all the work.
Tools like Persado can generate copy that outperforms the control up to 96% of the time. Let that sink in.
If AI sounds too intimidating, start by creating a Google Optimize account and running some copy and media-based tests of your own. Prioritize content in the first viewport on mobile and develop a few AB tests that you can launch within a week. A handful of 2% to 5% increases to your conversion rate over time will certainly make a dent in your CPA and improve your return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).
Growth marketers will need to be like Swiss army knives in 2023. Not only will they need to be experts in media planning and buying, but also tracking, tagging, data-driven creative strategy, and AB testing. 2023 will be an exciting but pivotal year for both growth marketing and growth marketers like myself. If you’re a company that’s looking for growth marketing help, I hope we’ll have the opportunity to work together. I’m excited to see how I can help you increase your revenue with growth marketing.