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Digital Trends for Small Businesses in 2023

With technologies, algorithm updates, platforms, and tools evolving near-daily, keeping up with the latest digital trends can be overwhelming.

So, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, and we have a fair track record you can count on.

In 2020, we predicted TikTok would take off, and now, it has gone from being ridiculed as a dance app for teens, to a social media superpower.

Dinesh has a history of doing this as far back as in January 2007, when he predicted digital disruption in his blog, “If businesses do not act in time, market share will dissolve before you know it, and shareholders will lose massive value”.

Yes, he was talking about the digital disruption that took hold around 2010 onwards across the world and is still taking effect with a phone unveiled by apple, a PC company at the time.

As you prepare your business for new challenges, risks, and growth in 2023, here are some digital trends in marketing you need to keep an eye on.

The Death of Organic Post for Businesses

Unless you are a mega influencer or a big brand, you would have noticed the recent algorithm updates have shifted the focus from organic posts to paid advertising as the main factor to get your brand seen in social feeds. 

A quick check of your Facebook or Instagram feed will reveal the 2nd or 3rd post is always an ad. You will see individual posts on your feed, but rarely a business post.

While we encourage you to continue creating organic content to maintain a presence, your social media marketing strategy needs to centre on paid ads if you want to succeed online.

Do your research and get expert help on how best to optimise your marketing strategy.

There are too many war stories of business owners spending hard-earned cash and not achieving results to show for it.

Expert Tip: Your ad set up should be focused on your target audience with a 2-6 word headline that captures attention. Ensure ad designs are professional and copy resonates with the pain points of the audience.

Cyber Security is Critical for Every Business

This is another point we have been instilling to our clients and readers for sometime.

The Optus breach brought it home for most Aussies, and within days, Telstra the nation’s largest telco also reported a breach. 

Thus, 2023 will be an important year for small business cyber security.

Firstly, we have become more reliant on technology than ever before, so safety and privacy concerns will be at the forefront of everything we do online.

Banking, entertainment, work – any site that requires personal details will all need to incorporate network security.

Secondly, Covid has forced more people onto the internet, and as a result, there will be more sophisticated cyber-attacks than ever before.

It is critical that businesses invest in cyber security support for their websites and implement best practices such as keeping software updated, taking regular backups and training staff to create a secure working environment.

Expert Tips : Ensure cyber security is an important part of your weekly/fortnightly  risk management meeting and that your staff are cyber trained and cyber aware. 

AI Goes Mainstream with Business Applications

As AI technology becomes less intimidating and more accessible, the potential for small business owners to use it as an innovation tool is growing.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about ChatGPT, which amassed over 1 million users five days after its launch in November 2202. However, countless other AI applications are now available to help business owners make routine tasks more effective.

Here are just a few examples:

  • WotNot – a ‘no code’ chatbot platform that helps you build an AI bot without coding.
  • DeepOpinion – an automation platform for document processes.
  • Sheetplus – Generate Google sheets & Excel formulas from text, convert sheets into simple explanations, and more.

By applying some of these AI applications to your busy work routine, you can significantly reduce the time and costs spent on daily tasks and, instead, spend more time building better customer relationships and growing revenue in 2023.

Expert Tips : Start slow and first use your chosen AI applications in a small subset of your business to understand its implications before you gradually apply it to other areas.

SEO is Still Crucial to Success BUT!

Recent SERP trends show Google is giving prominence to paid ads over organic search listings. 

Search for any keyword and the first 4-5 rankings consist of predominantly paid ads and Google business profiles on Maps.

digital trends seo
Example of Paid Ads at the top of search results

Organic results are now below the fold, and even then, you’ll still see a few ads near the bottom of the first page. 

So if you’re not keen on advertising, then getting your organic SEO is essential now that ads are taking the top results.

Google’s search algorithm goes through several updates but typically rewards high-quality content relevant to the primary keyword phrase.

However, it also evaluates many variables – including page authority, content quality, quality of backlinks, site speed, etc.

That is why we need to continually create high-quality content, and get the SEO fundamentals right.

Expert Tip: Frequent SEO health checks on your website will help to weed out any issues and provide data for improvement. 

Optimising Voice Search for SEO

The use of voice search has led to one of the most significant shifts in how we use search engines, and this digital trend will continue to grow next year.

When we type a search into Google, we phrase it differently than when we use Siri or Alexa for information.

For example, a person looking for a good pub might type “good pub in Sydney” into Google but might ask Alexa, “where is a good pub near me”.

So when writing digital content, choosing your keywords is necessary based on the questions people may ask when using Siri or Alexa.

This can increase your search visibility, and this digital marketing trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Expert Tip: Use Geo-targeted keywords to optimise voice search. Make sure your business name, address and contact details are consistent across all of your online business listings. 

Video Marketing

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, one can only imagine the value a good video can deliver.

Video marketing has grown significantly since 2019, and that trend shows no sign of stopping.

Think about all the benefits of video marketing:

  • 72% of consumers prefer watching videos over reading text (Hubspot)
  • Videos can increase brand awareness
  • It’s an effective way to show off products and services.
  • It can help with the overall SEO strategy.

However, like any other trend, video is getting updated. Here are the digital trends to watch out for:

  • Live streaming on Facebook and Instagram keeps viewers hooked 3x longer than a standard video.
  • You only have 8 seconds to capture attention on TikTok. Make the most of viral sounds, memes, challenges, and trending hashtags to increase video visibility.


  • Videos are being integrated into emails to create more personalised messages, share information more quickly, and break up text to create a more visually appealing layout. 
  • Product videos can increase customers’ confidence in what they’re buying and provide a better sense of scale and specifications that text and pictures just can’t.

Expert tip: The 4 step rule to create quality videos is  1. Create a hook, 2. State the problem, 3. Provide your solutions, and 4. Clear call to action!

Personalised Marketing

Whether through chatbots, instant messaging, or emails, more businesses are personalising their communications with customers, and these digital trends will only increase in 2023.

Move away from generic messaging in your marketing communications, as most people can see right through those, and it won’t make them want to do business with you.

Personalisation brings a variety of benefits, including:

  • improved customer satisfaction
  • increased digital conversion
  • improved advertising

A personalised experience makes a customer feel appreciated and understood.

For example: When a streaming service, like Amazon or Netflix, offers recommendations based on previous viewing activity and sends reminders that the viewer left in the middle of a movie.

Expert Tip:  Create buyer personas and take the time to continuously refine them based on your customer buying habits. This info will help when personalising your communications. 

Increase in User-Generated Content (UGC) 

Authenticity is a trait that consumers search for in a brand. That explains why user-generated content is becoming more popular.

Consumers trust brands with user-generated content more than other content. 


Moreover, UGC is a much cheaper digital marketing strategy for small business when compared with traditional forms of marketing.

Examples of UGC that are commonly used:

  • Customer reviews
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials 

Not only does it help build brand authenticity and drive awareness, but it also promotes user engagement.

As a result, we will undoubtedly see more user-generated content being used in digital marketing for small business in the coming year.

Expert Tips: UGC is adaptable and flexible, so use it across different platforms to establish brand loyalty and trust.

Growing Social Platforms for Business 

As of 2022, there are 4.59 billion social media users around the globe.

Moreover, social media use is projected to increase even further in the coming year. And with that increase comes more social platforms to market.

As a business owner with hundreds of things to do daily, keeping up with all these platforms can be a little overwhelming.

Here are some emerging digital trends that could be useful to your business.

1.  TikTok

 While not a new platform, TikTok was launched in 2016 but didn’t take off until 20/21.

The short-form video platform now has 1 billion monthly users worldwide.

Instagram is still the number one influencer marketing platform, but TikTok is a close second!

Because of its popularity with a wide audience range, content often goes viral.

As a result, more brands are capitalising on TikTok videos to showcase their personality and market products.


2.  Discord 

Discord has been around for a few years, and although initially associated with gamers, it’s slowly catching businesses’ attention for community management and engagement.

With over 150 million monthly active users, users communicate through voice chat or message and screen share.

Discord also offers better control alert functions for people in your group and assigns people roles, so no one is overwhelmed by notifications.

Some say it offers better chat functionality than Skype or Slack.

One important thing for brands is that Discord allows first-party data tracking.

These are also numerous features for collaboration and the potential to tag customers for events and during chats.

Expert Tip: Although there are plenty of social platforms emerging, remember, you only need to promote on the channels your audience is actively engaged on.

Online Privacy Concerns 

The collection of personal data has been a significant issue over the last few years due to growing concerns over online privacy.

As a business owner, you must be conscious of what customer data is collected and how it is stored. Knowing what is essential and what is strategic for business is important.

When collecting sensitive data like customer payment information, always use secure and authorised service providers such as Paypal or a reputed bank’s payment gateways so that no sensitive data is stored in-house.

Going into 2023, businesses are expected to be more proactive in gathering customer data through various practices.

For example, form building can help find out information from your customers that could influence your next product launch or service.

Even the most basic forms gather valuable information that can help you turn window shoppers into buyers.


The Digital Strategy Advisory provides business owners the best in digital expertise to create custom, results-driven strategies to achieve business growth.

Other alternatives include social media competitions, newsletter sign-ups, and lead generation forms. 

As business owners, it’s essential to set time aside to take a step back and evaluate your data collection efforts and the data itself.

Ask yourself what’s working and not working in your data collection process.

Analytics is one way to gain insight into what works in your data and what is not.

While customer data is invaluable for a business, we need to use discretion on what we collect and how we store it to minimise risk.

Expert Tip: The more data you collect, the bigger your responsibility to keep it safe. Review your customer data at your risk management meetings and delete the things you don’t need.


Updates to Google Services 

Google is famous for its continuous algorithm changes and feature updates, but two big announcements this year significantly impacted businesses.

1. Goodbye Universal Analytics

In July 2023, Google will officially discontinue the Universal Analytics (UA) platform, and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be the go-to solution for monitoring website activity.

GA4 is designed to cater to key business objectives, such as driving sales or app installs, generating leads, and providing critical insights on customer engagement.

We recommend setting up your GA4 account as soon as possible.

This gives you extra time to prepare, get used to the new features,and settings.

2.  Google Surveys Is Shutting Down

Google is shutting down its popular Survey service on November 1st 2022, and giving users until December 2022 to download historical data.

However, they are hinting on their Help Page at plans to repackage the service and offer it through Google Ads.

The Surveys team will be working to find new ways to bring the scale and insights of our research network to customers via Google Ads products for advertiser, customer, and market research.” – Google Help Page.

If Google Surveys was a valuable part of your business, we would advise looking for an alternative such as SurveyMonkey or Typeform, as Google doesn’t look like they have any replacement services ready at the moment. 

Expert Tip: Data in GA4 is not retroactive, so you’ll be starting data collection from scratch. If you haven’t upgraded yet, do it now so you have time to compare data with your UA platform.

In conclusion, the digital world is ever-changing, and we must always be ready for new opportunities and trends in digital technology.

It is also important to take action on some of the above digital trends that may be more relevant to you.

While Dinesh predicted the impact of the iPhone, one of his biggest gripes is that, as an investor, he didn’t buy apple shares in 2007. The USD 1,000 spent back then would be worth over USD 50,000 today!  

As you can see, it pays to act fast!

The best thing for you to do now is to incorporate some of these digital trends into an actionable plan so your business can stand out as an innovative leader in your industry.

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