You’ve blinked and it’s almost December. It’s hard to imagine how much 2022 actually had in store for us given how quickly it has passed. The Metaverse became agency lingo, celebrities like Elon Musk and Kanye West became owners of social platforms (yikes?), a celebrity uprising caused Instagram to change their algorithms (yay?), influencers are still going strong, virtual meetings are still common-place, and yet with all this digital and virtual growth, human connection was reinstated.

With all that’s happened this year, what can we expect for 2023?

1. Content, Content and more Video Content.

Clients are finally starting to understand (and find budgets) that different channels require different content strategies and with that comes the need for more content. Channel algorithms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels have driven the need for more regular content. Video content is becoming second place; it will be important that clients can find agencies who have full video production capabilities in-house. And to top it off, with these channels also encouraging human faces, the ability to have multi-dimensional ‘cast’ is going to become a requirement. Whether you use internal staff or outsource this request, agencies might need to add talent management into their skill set.

2. Shop away through Social Commerce

Get ready to spend even more money. Social commerce is going to get easier and easier next year. With the UAE having made it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to obtain work visas, and with the launch of social commerce platforms such as Paymes in the UAE and KSA, businesses are primed to cash in on their social platforms.

3. Get Metavers-ified

We’ve heard it. We’ve sold it to clients. It’s no longer an intangible. It was clear as day during Gitex Tech Week here in Dubai; almost every stand had a metaverse simulation. The technologies that support the metaverse continue to improve at the speed of light, and 3D graphical enhancements are in progress. While the Metaverse continues to develop to become more accessible to more brands, and brands understand how to align the Metaverse with their business objectives, most businesses have started experimenting either starting small and developing virtual events and NFTs, or going in head first staking their claim, and building their own environments. Predictions put the Metaverse in the same use-scenarios as social media and Google search; it’s important brands and agencies need to be on the pulse of the Metaverse to benefit from a first-mover advantage.

4. Better websites; more experiences

Websites used to be the digital vitrina of a business. Today, you have Instagram accounts, YouTube pages and the whole lot supporting your business in providing customers with the information they are seeking. Websites can no longer be passive; you have Instagram for that. Websites need to step up their game (especially in KSA). With websites allowing you to create your own personalized experiences, agencies need to invest in dedicated UI and UX experts. More effective chat bots, voice-controlled search options, and dark-mode options need to be considered.

While we are on the subject of voice-control, I’ve said this for a few years now but Voice Branding is going to be the next IT thing. You’ve seen this with Siri and Alexa having their own brandable voices; who’s to say websites won’t be speaking to us soon too.

And lastly, and definitely most important, websites need to be built in a hybrid web/app mode – Progressive web apps will soon be trending. PWA’s enables you to translate your website into a fully native mobile app experience through one single backend.

I don’t think it would be fair to end this article without mentioning Twitter. And my answer is: time will only tell, but right now, it’s looking pretty grim.

Here’s to 2023.