What Are the Biggest Changes in Paid Advertising in 2023?

iphone with a variety of apps in it

Over the past three and a half years, we have seen significant changes across the media landscape, especially related to which digital media channels consumers are prioritizing in their daily scrolls. New online platforms have been introduced that didn’t even exist until now! If there’s ever been a constant in media buying, it’s that choices abound. As a media planning agency, it’s our job to stay ahead of the curve, learning everything we can about where to place our clients’ ads, how different platforms perform and deliver and what combinations of paid media tactics work best together to achieve specific ROI goals. 

Let’s go through a few of the major changes to paid media over the past few years:

Change #1: Prioritizing Video

Facebook had already acquired Instagram for a cool $1B in 2017 but back then Instagram didn’t have the video chops it has today. Instagram Reels were introduced in August 2020 leading this wildly popular app deeper into competition with other video streaming platforms such as TikTok and YouTube. From an advertising perspective, this means media planners began to demand increased access to video content to set up successful paid social campaigns. Today, video is the gold standard.

Change #2: Popularity of Podcasts

In 2023, research shows about 42% of U.S. persons age 12 and older report listening to a podcast over the past month. That’s up from nearly 30% three years ago. Media planners seeking to add audio advertising to their media campaigns have a choice between terrestrial radio and its online or streaming brethren. The benefits of podcast advertising include the ability to align highly vertical subject matter to an advertiser’s products or services as well as the still popular host-read ad format that gives messaging a more personalized flair.

Change #3: Privacy and Data

Online data collection has seen a stunning overhaul the past few years. It used to be you’d have to go look for a website’s privacy policy, now, it’s commonplace to visit a website and be presented with a formal and very visible set of choices on how you’d prefer your data be collected and used. Our media buyers are strong advocates of using data responsibly, whether it’s connected to an advertising campaign or a simple web browsing session. We believe wholeheartedly that consumers should be informed and in control of their personal data.

Change #4: AI (Artificial Intelligence)

AI has been here for quite some time, in the form of advertising algorithms which have worked in tandem with human buyers to secure more accurate audience targeting. Paid social platforms have long relied on AI algorithms to generate high levels of user engagement. It’s only more recently that we have seen AI become a stronger force in digital marketing – taking the reins from humans in areas such as content generation, programmatic buying and paid and organic search results.

Considering these significant changes and so many others that have occurred across the paid media frontier, our digital marketing team remains committed to staying ahead of the knowledge curve, continuing to build upon our experience with digital and traditional media while setting realistic expectations for campaign performance.

Need help with your next paid media campaign? Contact Richardson Media Group today and let us help improve your digital marketing strategy!

Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson is the owner and media director of Richardson Media Group, an agency specializing in media planning and buying, advertising campaign management, and SEO.


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Anne outside the door of the Richardson Media Group office.

In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts and hosts our BSuite podcast. Favorite topics for both platforms include the entrepreneurial journey, sustainability + social responsibility, media planning, media buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.