Content, commerce and community present opportunities for marketers in 2023: Dentsu

The coming year will see more “TikTok-ification” of content, the growth of “recommerce” driven by consumer interest in sustainability, and continued interest in live content and events, says Dentsu Canada in its new “Media Trends 2023” report.

The report explores what Dentsu says will be three core areas of opportunity for marketers in the year ahead: Content, commerce and community. “All of these become radically important in a year with a lot of economic uncertainty,” said Dentsu Canada CEO Stephen Kiely (pictured). “I think the coming year will be one of constraint and creativity for a lot of clients—creativity not in a traditional sense, but in how they operate and look at media and use data.”

The “TikTok-ification” of content

While many governments are keeping closer tabs on TikTok (with some U.S. states even recently banning it outright on government-issued devices), the app continues to make major headway when it comes to share of voice among the major social media apps, and is radically reshaping the social media landscape. According to Dentsu, as much of 40% of the content in consumers’ main Facebook feed will come from AI recommended posts, a trend largely derived from TikTok, which specializes in showing its users the best content based on their in-app habits, rather than just the people/pages they follow.

Brands will need to develop content with this in mind, said Dentsu, arguing that it could mean fresh eyes on their content that they hadn’t considered.

“It’s an incredible channel that I would say is more and more democratized across a number of different consumer segments,” said Kiely. “Younger and older [audiences] are consuming content, and they’re consuming it across different channels. Half of my Instagram feed is TikTok videos at this point.”

Also watch for: Hyper-personalization being taken to the “next level.” According to Dentsu, nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) only engage with marketing messages customized to their specific interests.

The growth of “recommerce”

Interest in sustainability and giving products a second life is becoming more important for consumers—and its growth is being exacerbated by fears of an economic downturn. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians buy second-hand products at least sometimes, while 79% have sold used items at least once. “There is pride in doing your part as a consumer in the whole recycle movement,” said Kiely.

The stigma that might have once been associated with wearing second-hand clothing has largely receded, said Dentsu, with almost two-thirds of consumers saying they would shop a new brand offering second-hand options, and 62% saying that brands can do more to engage in the circular economy and make resale easier.

“Every brand is thinking about how you can take what was and repurpose it,” said Kiely. “That’s a fun challenge in the discipline of marketing, and a relatively new one that consumers are now demanding as part of your brand statement. It’s a fun place to play.”

Also watch for: The pandemic made people aware of the importance of supporting more local/small businesses. Fully 86% of Canadians say supporting these businesses is important to them, while 66% make an effort to buy from small businesses rather than large online retailers.

Live makes a return

“We’re coming out of a couple of years of isolation, and more than ever we’re craving that hyper-personal connection,” said Kiely. “Brands that get it right, and can start to add and become part of that conversation that consumers are having are going to win all day long.”

While we continue to live in a binge-watching era, the continued success of certain appointment television, such as The White Lotus, underscores the human desire to be part of a community all talking about something at the same time.

Timed content release allows room for debate and discussion, said Kiely. “As humans we look for connection points in culture, and often that comes through content. Dentsu also predicts that people will congregate around physical or virtual events for things like live podcast recordings, video game streaming, and even watch/listen parties for the moment new shows/music gets released.

One of 2022’s hot social apps was BeReal, whose users receive a simultaneous notification to post a photo of themselves within two minutes, thereby removing some of the artifice and careful curation so common on platforms like Instagram.

“Everyone’s so hyper-focused on curating the perfect life on social media, but I do think there is a call for realness and to celebrate realness, and a lot of brands that are leaning into that and activating a platform against that mission are seeing dividends come their way in the way of [love] and share of pocketbook,” said Kiely.

Dentsu predicts that 2023 will see brands reevaluate their “big splash” strategies, instead opting for smaller splashes that can be pooled together to create heightened brand relevance. “There are always going to be those big cultural zeitgeist moments,” said Kiely. “But instead of waiting for those big bets, brands have started to realize that there is real magic in operating in the everyday.

“You’ve got to do that in a relevant way, and you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right purpose attached to who you’re talking to, but when you get those things right and people begin to play back with you, magic happens for your brand health.”

Also watch for: Brands are increasingly taking more responsibility for how their actions impact society by trying to create and reflect what Dentsu calls “a fairer and more diverse world,” and measuring both the social and environmental impacts of their actions. But it’s not just for the sake of being good, with Dentsu saying that 58% of social purpose businesses can boast a growth rate of 10% or more.

Chris Powell