According to IAB Europe’s Annual Flagship Event Interact, 2023 is the year of action for our industry. But when the world feels so uncertain and the pressure to unlock efficiencies and generate growth is greater than ever, how do you know what action to take?
The key lies in understanding what’s driving people today to anticipate what will matter to them tomorrow – and this is where Meta’s annual trends report, Culture Rising 2023, comes in.
With more than 3 billion people using at least one of our apps daily, Culture Rising uses today’s insights to predict tomorrow’s opportunities. Drawing on rising conversation topics and hashtags across Facebook and Instagram, we bring you 20 trends to watch, grouped into four themes in this global survey. In this blog, I unpack these four themes to give you an idea of what’s shifting, what’s sticking, and what we can expect next.
1) Exploratory identities
How we see ourselves defines how we view the world and our place in it. Yet our identities aren’t fixed but constantly evolving, just like we are. This is something we heard from IAB Europe’s Chief Economist, Daniel Knapp, during our IAB Europe Industry Insiders webinar on Culture Rising. With people exploring and building identity throughout their lives, what brands think they know about their audiences is always shifting. This is an opportunity for brands as their customers tend to be receptive to new ways of thinking, new habits, and new products over their lifetime.
2) Refined relationships
Our relationships have long been one of the core drivers of our happiness, but how we connect with each other or the things we love is changing. We look for a date on one platform but keep in touch with our friends on another. We join online groups to further our passion but look to creators for inspiration. Similarly, brands should be rethinking their key relationships and the channels through which they can be nurtured. Whether your brand is looking to deepen existing relationships, broaden its reach, or deliver a more authentic experience for customers, seeking out diverse creators or harnessing new technologies like AR can help you meet your customers where they are.
3) Assertive aspirations
In good but especially in bad times, hope is what keeps us going. The ambition to do more, to be better, to find meaning, and to leave our mark is not only part of who we are, but what keeps us going. Tough economic times coming on the heels of a global pandemic means we could all use a little boost from unexpected places and that includes from brands we love. Whether you draw on your brand’s expertise, the causes you champion, or your unique personality, now is a time for brands to speak to people’s aspirations and feed their ambition.
4) Lived values
People are increasingly looking to translate hashtags into action and live up to their values. Whether it’s wellness, sustainability or mental health, we’re looking for ways to walk the talk. We want our choices to be in line with who we are and what we care about. We hold ourselves, our friends, and increasingly, the businesses we choose to support to a higher standard. We expect brands not only to have the same taste as us but also to anticipate our preferences and share our aspirations - not unlike we would a friend. And whilst it’s unlikely that anyone will call customer service just to hang out, customers do expect brands to be responsive to their needs, respectful of their time, and mindful of their shifting preferences. As tech evolves and expectations rise, might you want to consider “BFF brand” status a new, potential north star?
Beyond the four trends we’ve outlined above, our Culture Rising report shows that our wants, needs, and preferences are complex and ever-changing, just like we are. But whilst we once lacked the tools to appreciate what motivates us today and why, we can now use data, analytics, and emerging tech like artificial intelligence (AI) to anticipate with increasing accuracy what will drive us tomorrow. And for brands, that could change the game.
If these themes have sparked your interest and you want to learn more, you can download the full Culture Rising 2023 report with all 20 trends.