NP Digital: 82% Of Marketers To Explore Previously Unused Paid Tactics

YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels in paid campaigns, artificial intelligence (AI) for copy or creative optimization, and Google optimized targeting or audience expansion were rated the top three trends predicted to dominate paid media in the next three years.

NP Digital on Tuesday will publish its first Paid Media Fast Forward report surveying 1,000 U.S. paid-search marketers — search and social — on the changes and challenges they see in 2023. The survey was conducted online in April 2023. 

Some 58% of marketers surveyed expressed “strong interest” in using paid ads for chat-based search tools.

For those who have not used artificial intelligence (AI) -- related or unrelated to chat tools -- in the past three months, 24% said they plan to test or implement some form of AI in the next six months, and 19.20% identified AI as a paid trend they think will dominate in the next three years

Survey participants were also asked about various other topics -- from optimized targeting in Google campaigns to audio and over-the-top advertising. While not all of the surveyed marketers agree on the importance of trends, they all have unique insights into what will happen in 2023.

“We were surprised to see audio advertising wasn't identified as one of the top three trends despite marketers in the survey reporting they use it often,” Chris Moreno, senior vice president of paid media at NP Digital, wrote in an email to Search & Performance Marketing Daily. “Seventy-seven percent said its worth their time and budget to invest.”

Podcast advertising is projected to account for $2.25 billion of ad spend and grow to $3.53 billion by 2026, according to Insider Intelligence. 

For those marketers who participated in the study who have used audio advertising in the past three months, 66.31% say they use it often or sometimes, while some 22.63% are experimenting with the media. Of this same group, 76.84% said it was worth the time and money invested.

The data also shows the use of GA4 audience insights to inform paid campaigns.

For those who have used this tactic in the last three months, 33.62% plan to use it more often, and 29.79% already use it often.

Of this same group, 74.86% said it was worth the time and money invested.

While the holiday season might be months away, the report found that many marketers are already preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns.

Overall, 43.34% said they plan to slightly increase Black Friday and Cyber Monday budgets this year, compared with last year.

And, 31.70% plan to significantly increase budgets. Of this group — 16.77% are in manufacturing, 14.84% are in technology, and 11.61% are in education.

Notably, 13.29% plan to keep budgets the same, while 6.13% plan to decrease budgets significantly, and 5.52% plan to decrease budgets slightly.

Nearly 82% of marketers surveyed plan to use new or previously unused tactics this year, such as:

  • YouTube Shorts or Instagram Reels in paid campaigns -- 30.50%
  • Google's Optimized Targeting or Audience Expansion -- 28.25%
  • GA4 audience insights to inform paid campaigns -- 27.25%
  • Over the top (OTT) advertising -- 24.75%
  • TikTok Display Cards or Snap Context Cards -- 24.50%
  • AI for copy or creative optimization -- 24.25%
  • Dynamic Creative Optimization -- 22.75%
  • Video advertising -- 20.75%
  • Chat advertising in paid search -- 20.50%
  • User-generated content in paid campaigns -- 20.25%
  • Marketplace advertising (as a non-endemic) -- 20.25%
  • Organic keywords in paid campaigns -- 18.50%
  • Gamification in paid campaigns -- 17%
  • Audio advertising -- 16.25%
  • Shoppable ads -- 15.50%
  • Contextual targeting -- 14.75%
  • Native advertising -- 13.75%
  • None of the above -- 1%
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