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Today we discuss the big Marketing themes of 2023:
The impact of AI on marketing
Social media platforms that could replace TikTok
Trends in attribution and privacy
AI, especially products by OpenAI, will have a significant impact on marketing.
AI Content still requires editors to produce good quality content. Writers should upskill themselves to write better than what AI Content generates.
YouTube and Meta can potentially fill the gap if TikTok gets banned.
Blunders caused by Google Analytics 4 may flourish new attribution products in the market that provide a complete data picture.
Apple’s App Tracking Transparency and GDPR will impact users’ privacy and business models of performance marketing solution providers.
How AI impacts marketing
Kevin thinks AI is hyped and has the potential to significantly impact marketing:
“If I had to make some definite statements for this year, first of all, I 100% expect Google to launch a chatGPT competitor. I'm very surprised that they haven't reacted to a lot of this stuff yet. Other search engines like Neva and Perplexity.ai have already started to embed a chatGPT-like feature in the search engine and it looks really good.
I'm not saying Google is doomed, but I expect them to react and publish something that makes them compete directly with OpenAI. Then there is Bing, which is also set to embed ChatGPT in Bing search. I also think we will see a lot more multimodal AI happening.
I also think that we're going to see some companies build a generative AI video feature where they show you a video that stitches together some of the best moments from other videos about a specific topic – I call it the video summary.”
Eli shares a contrarian view on how AI is not going to change much as it has always been here for quite a long time and is expensive:
“Google Assistant is like ChatGPT, except they can't write papers. I also think from an AI standpoint, it can do things on video, it can identify things, stitch things together, and it's just going to be an improvement on something that already exists.
I'm going to give a real-time answer that AI is very expensive from a computing standpoint.
So right now, open AI is free. There are free tools to play around with it. I think once the doors get shut and it starts costing a lot of money from a computing standpoint, I don't think it will be as simple for people to do. There's a reason people pay subscriptions for Jasper and all these other AI tools. AI is expensive, and it's very expensive.
So I think AI's here, it's been here. Not necessarily new, and I don't think it changes much.”
Is AI content worth the hype?
Kevin shares how AI content will increase the demand for editors and writers with domain expertise:
“You still need a human editor to fix spelling errors, grammar errors, and to just make the thing pop a bit more.
We've seen some big companies experimenting with and launching AI content like CNET, and Yahoo has started to experiment with AI content. I'm not talking about the type of AI content Associated Press has been publishing since 2015 where they launched about 1700 pages with AI content that are only two or three sentences long. This is not the type of content I'm talking about.
I'm talking about long-form content and for that to come from an AI, it's just not yet ready to be published raw. It still needs editing, grooming, and some maintenance.”
He further adds how mediocre writers may face a challenge from AI content if they do not upskill:
“I think this (AI Content) is the biggest threat to Upwork and Fiverr right now. A huge swath of writers that write very mediocre content will just go away.
Editors will gain in value and will be in high demand, but I think the writers that are writing basically on a level or maybe below the level of what ChatGPT can produce today, I think they really need to retrain and look for other work because they're not going to have a future.”
Eli thinks that AI content lowers the bar for what content will cost, and bad quality content gets ignored even today anyway:
“One goes to other countries that are a lot cheaper to pay writers and the quality might not be as good. You pay like $5 a piece of content, $50 a piece of content.
Now it's basically free – so there's just too much content out there.
There is a huge use case for AI content – writing up the news, and sports scores, and doing financial reporting. You can just write an article about the latest earnings report that extracts the numbers from the earnings report and puts it into a blog post. It's a great use of resources rather than having some analyst in some country, and you're paying 50 bucks to put it together.
So I think AI content is just a tool. I agree with you that it just needs to be groomed and improved. But I don't think like there's doom, and gloom for real writers and copyeditors out there.
This is a research tool. It allows people to gather information and produce information at a far cheaper rate.
Also, if it'll be cheaper or free, then people will ignore all this useless content, which you're probably ignoring anyways if it's written by low-quality writers.
So it doesn't change much – it just moves things around on the big chess board of life.”
Listen to our dedicated episode on AI Content - tool or toy?
Who steps in Tiktok’s shoes when it gets banned?
In our 6th episode of Contrarian Marketing Podcast, we discussed the future of TikTok and if it can replace Google Search. In this theme, we discuss which platform can replace it if it gets banned:
Kevin thinks YouTube can take over TikTok’s share of users:
“In my mind, the platform that's most likely to take over TikTok is actually YouTube.
They have a comparative user base, and they have shorts, which I think is actually a pretty good product. They have a lot of content and they share revenue with creators. So I think the most likely one is YouTube.
But I also think that several platforms can gain at the same time from TikTok going away simply because people spent their time in other ways. So it's not just a single winner, but actually multiple ones.”
Eli thinks Facebook and Instagram would tap into TikTok’s share of users:
“I think it becomes Instagram because it's already there. The video's already there, the concept's already there, and Facebook's amazing at stealing ideas. They're just going to take all the best stuff from TikTok and do it.
But one thing I would add is – not enough people talk about when it comes to Facebook is that how Facebook is the best place to buy and sell stuff. There is so much untapped potential there. Facebook doesn't monetize that. They monetize it if you pay or ship through Facebook. But otherwise, this is a peer-to-peer transaction, and it has so much potential there. So yes, it's not really a social network, but it's the best place to do this kind of thing. Craigslist doesn't really exist for this anymore.
I think Facebook gets revived a little bit this year, especially if TikTok goes away.”
Kevin also shares his thoughts about where Twitter stands in 2023:
“I think there's a massive opportunity right now for another social network to come and finish Twitter off, but there's also no great alternative.
Elon Musk has promised all sorts of improvements – but I haven't seen any reduction in bots. I've seen a lot of improvements in speed, which nobody cares about. I don't think anybody ever complained about Twitter being too slow. So I don't think the product is advancing as he promised it would.
So I think it's not in a good spot and the time is really good and ripe for a competitor to come along.”
The underdog problem: attribution
Eli and Kevin share their thoughts on the new Google Analytics 4 and potential trends around attribution:
Eli thinks GA alternatives may use this opportunity of blunder caused by GA-4:
“I think there's going to be a lot of tools that are going to start filling the gap because if Google's struggling users to move over from Universal Analytics to GA-4, there's room for other tools to come out there. The analytics market has been really small now.”
Kevin agrees and further adds:
“I don't see competition for Google Analytics, but what I do see is that the product cannibalizes itself. I think that they will transport or transfer a lot of features from Universal Analytics to GA-4.
I think that is also an opportunity for somebody else to come along and present something that is also free or at least has a free tier, is as extensive as Google Analytics, maybe privacy first, and also very customizable – and this poses a real threat to Google.”
Eli shares how important to get the complete data picture, something that Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics might fail to provide:
“Ahrefs, our sponsor, help you get that whole data picture. It may not be accurate, but then again, GA may not be accurate too because of privacy issues. So I think there's a lot of opportunity here. Analytics tools like GA, and Adobe analytics – really look at that internal data. But if internal data's not accurate and it's super expensive from a resource standpoint, you could probably get a good sense of how things are working when you use a tool like Ahrefs, SimilarWeb, or SEMrush.
(It helps in) understanding which channels are working for you, where you should put more money, and where you should pull back.”
The impact of privacy on Marketing in 2023
Kevin thinks there will be a big tectonic shift in privacy thanks to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT). This may also result in a potential clash with Alphabet:
“We've already seen ATT throwing a major wrench into attribution in general, destroying many billions of dollars for Facebook and for other platforms. Then, Apple themselves kind of stepped into that gap – where they restrict data, which makes it much harder for other platforms to provide value to advertisers.
I think this has shown us the power of hardware manufacturers and hardware providers on a whole different level. Any platform that provided performance marketing solutions – I think there's going to be a big change (for them).
I'm very interested and curious about how Alphabet will actually respond to that. Will they follow something similar or actually provide something different in order to grab more market share from advertisers against Apple?
So I think those two companies are going to clash a little bit when it comes to privacy.”
Eli thinks GDPR, and more nations adopting it is a bigger threat to tech giants when it comes to privacy:
“The really important thing to call out is that it's not really up to them, it's up to governments. So GDPR was a fundamental shift in tracking and data. I remember when I was at SurveyMonkey, we spent a year implementing Google Analytics premium and spent like $108,000, and got it implemented a week before GDPR.
So we get this thing going, we bring all this data, and then GDPR comes out and you can't track anymore. So it blows up the whole thing. We can't see the European continent, we have no idea what our data is because people have to opt in and by the time they opt-in it becomes a direct visit. So GDPR and laws like GDPR are having a huge impact on what companies like Apple, Google, and then everybody tracking any sort of data can do.
Going back to the Ahrefs – in a privacy world where there are no first-party data, nothing is shared, and all you have is estimates. I don't know necessarily where Ahrefs gets their data, but they're using AI to estimate things – so that's a better bet.
I think other countries are going to imitate GDPR – they will look at this and say, – okay, cool, this is like a great way to make tech companies pay taxes. They weren't already paying, so we'll pass a law that they're guaranteed you're going to break.”
Agency SEO skills matrix by Tom Critchlow – SEO MBA
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Eli and Kevin