Call me sentimental, but I always love it when Google releases their annual Year in Search review. It never fails to bring a little tear to my eye! There is something special and powerful about it. It works in two ways. One is a chance to reflect on the moments that shaped the year and a reminder of the collective themes that touched lives across the globe. The other is using these insights to extrapolate forward from that recent data – and try to understand the key digital trends 2023.

As market leader with a database of over 8.5 billion searches per day (yes I Googled it), Google offers us a clearer glimpse into the global social psyche more than any other platform. And the latest film for 2022 didn’t disappoint, highlighting the trending themes around ‘new possibilities’ – which resonates with me and a nice bit of serendipity for the team here at Anything Is Possible.

We believe in new possibilities. It goes with the territory.


Your digital trends for 2023

Watching it has got me thinking about what my clients’ year in paid search looked like. It’s surprising how a single theme can emerge when you really think about it, despite the growing complexity of our industry, the constant shifts and adjustments to the media planning process. And for me there is something gratifying in the simplicity and clarity of summing up the past year and looking forward to the year ahead, with a defining theme.

For many 2022 was the year of measurement – or perhaps the year of conversion modelling. Maybe the year of international expansion. And if the topics of discussions with our Google Ads reps were anything to go by, for many 2022 was the year of Broad Match

This year for Google Ads customers it will no doubt be the year of Privacy. We will continue to support our clients in adopting privacy preserving measurement solutions. We’ve been enhancing our privacy-first solution mix, which will be adapting across the board with the roll out of Google Analytics 4 and further focus on first-party data.

But beyond this, as a digital marketer, what themes will define your 2023 year in Paid Search? 


Go big or go home

As a starting point it’s useful to think about control, identifying the elements within your campaigns that really need your focus and input, and those that may benefit from less intervention. More adoption of automated features, dynamic and visual ad formats, placements and AI powered tools, will all continue throughout 2023.

At a time when many businesses need to do more with less, it can be tempting to focus on niche targeting, concentrating on a year of audience refinement. However, when it comes to campaign execution, the tactics available to us in the changing digital landscape are starting to pull in the opposite direction. 

As we shift towards broader reaching tactics, particularly in paid search, companies that have relied heavily on a granular campaign and reporting structures may find their data sets evolving in a way that forces a rethink of tracking, attribution and the way they assess digital performance and value. There’s a reason they call it big data. The more you have, the more you can do with it.

Bigger picture thinking, investing in a positive and cohesive customer experience across all touch points, rather than a focus on interrogating the data behind individual campaigns, ads and keywords will be key to success in 2023. Some clients are already set up to thrive in this environment, drawing on clean and robust CRM data sets and audience insights and investing in tests into new areas, new audiences, ad formats, tech and tactics.

Others may have some challenges to overcome with historical inconsistencies requiring a more arduous manual process for interrogating customer data, and a year of data integrity may be what is needed to help unlock new opportunities.


What digital themes will support your goals for business growth and marketing effectiveness this year? Let us know.