Biggest Events of 2022 and What We’re Paying Attention to in 2023

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This was a big year in digital. We saw AI rise, Twitter shaken up overnight, and ecommerce grow stronger than ever. Here are what our team members thought were the most notable trends and events in 2022—and what they’re watching for in 2023.

Yun Wang, Amazon/Ecommerce

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2022 Trend: Paid Over Organic on Amazon

This year, I’ve noticed that Amazon has buried organic placements and replaced them with ad placements. In some categories, ad placement is as high as 30% on page-one search results!

Amazon has also put more emphasis on creative and unique brand assets this year. 

2023 Watch: Data-Driven Amazon Ad Strategies
Amazon Ads will continue to grow in complexity as more ad features are made available. Cost-per-clicks (CPC) will continue to rise as competition on the platform gets stronger. This means brand ad strategies need to be more sophisticated by utilizing massive data from Amazon, such as near-real-time ad metrics and brand metrics.

Ali LaBarge, Design

2022 Trend: Y2K v.2
The Y2K aesthetic has returned in all its bright, colorful weirdness. Consumers are craving early 2000s nostalgia, which this year has led to unexpected (and successful!) partnerships like the one between Crocs and Lisa Frank. 
2023 Watch: Expect the Unexpected
I’m watching the fashion industry for cues on what’s going to be trendy. I think we’ll see a lot less corporate, overly structured layouts. Designers are looking to mix unexpected patterns, colors, and shapes. When it comes to type and illustration, I think we’ll see more expressive, organic shapes vs. the minimalistic and clean styles we saw in previous years. The noisy/textured/low-quality style of the early 2000s graphics will make a return in a thoughtful, playful way. 

Isabel Coomes, Accounts Intern

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2022 Trend: Workplace Culture
As a college student utilizing available co-op/internship opportunities this year, exploring different workplace styles was important. I chose Icon Commerce because of the workplace culture and the company’s positive recognition. Agency life holds a stereotype of poor work-life balance and high turnover, so hearing good things about Icon was one of the reasons I wanted to explore this company. It’s safe to say that I love it here!
2023 Watch: New Experiences 
I believe that next year college students will consider more out-of-state or remote job opportunities in order to travel to new places and live with different experiences. Since some of our college experience was cut due to quarantine and remote learning, many students are eager to explore the country, and other countries for that matter, especially if they didn’t have the opportunity to study or work abroad pre-COVID. 

Priya Deshmukh, Strategy

2022 Trend: Social Shopping…and Selling
More brands have started selling on Instagram as the platform refines its social commerce capabilities. However, with the aesthetics of the platform, there’s becoming a gray area between “sales” and “non-sales” content. More brands are posting lifestyle photos or UGC and using Instagram’s shopping tags to turn this into an opportunity to sell products. This points to how different social commerce is to traditional ecommerce. The content still needs to align with the platform’s culture and not feel like an advertisement. 

2023 Watch: Twitter, Sustainability
With Twitter being overhauled under Elon Musk’s ownership, the social media landscape is going to look very different for brands. I’m curious to see how popular Twitter will be in 3 months, 6 months, etc., and which social media platforms will benefit from that potential decrease in popularity. I’m also paying attention to how brands are aligning with climate change. Climate change has become even more of a HOT topic, and more brands are committing to lowering their carbon footprint. I want our clients to be competitive in their respective market, and that will sometimes require me to bring sustainability into the conversation.

Liz Schulz, Client Services

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2022 Trend: Digital Advertising Anywhere and Everywhere
The rapidly changing social media and technological landscape keeps changing where and how brands market to consumers. We have more clients looking into TikTok, selling products directly on Instagram, and marketing via Reels. Even Netflix is adding an ad-supported option, joining the exploding OTT category. 

2023 Watch: Gen-Z Shoppers
Looking forward, I’m interested to see how Gen Z, as they become a larger part of the consumer base, changes the marketing landscape. They value transparency, honesty, and overall goodness in brands. And if you aren’t those things, you’ll probably get called out in a viral TikTok about how employees at your store are treated unfairly or how you source your materials in an inhumane way. Brands that don’t take transparency, honesty, and responsibility seriously may see a loss in brand value. 

Sulin Ngo, Copy

2022 Trend: Inclusivity & Normalizing Digital Lexicon
This year inclusive language continues to be normalized copy and journalism—things like the use of gender-neutral pronouns and using people’s chosen names. And words are being canonized in the dictionary, which confirms we’re shifting toward an increasingly digital world (as “influencer,” “supply chain,” and “side hustle” are being added to Oxford and Webster dictionaries). 
2023 Watch: TikTok
Every year brings a new generation of hashtags and internet meme-isms, and it’s a tricky balance to know when something is mainstream enough to be used in ad copy for a general audience. Plus, copy is no longer just words. Thanks to the rising popularity of short-form videos, words are attached to viral sounds, memes, and shared cultural moments, and should be carefully selected with that context in mind. I’m keeping my eyes on TikTok to see what’s new in our shifting modern lexicon. 

There you have it. There’s a lot to look forward to as we turn the page to 2023. We look forward to looking back next year to see what we got right and what other market-shifting factors emerge.  


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