The tech industry is still hurting. Valuations are tumbling. Layoffs abound, and venture capital deal value is down. Plus, most consumers aren’t “tech geeks,” so we have “to remind ourselves that people aren’t interested in [the] new technologies themselves. They’re really interested in how and what they can do for them,” Insider Intelligence eMarketer analyst Yory Wurmser said during a December 2022 webinar.

“People are not buying into the hype as much, and [these new technologies are] really going to start to be applied in useful ways for marketers,” he added.

Here are five tech trends for marketers.

1. Connected devices keep up with commerce

We predict US retail mcommerce sales will grow 14.7% this year to reach $504.95 billion. That growth comes as the US sees 230.0 million connected TV (CTV) users, 151.4 million connected car drivers, 117.1 million smart homes users, and 105.5 million smart speaker users in 2023.

All these devices are being better integrated, Wurmser said, making it easier for consumers to purchase through them. Not all sales will be incremental, however. Most smart home sales will result in a channel shift to replenishment sales or a shift to purchasing gas with car-related payments. There will be additional sales with new ad formats like shoppable ads in CTV or QR codes on billboards.

We predict 2023 will see more carmakers partnering with payments systems and shoppable media to grow, though it will take time for serious commerce to develop.

2. Generative AI will transform creative

From Dall-E to ChatGPT, there’s been a lot of chatter about AI and how it will impact marketing.

More companies are supporting generative AI, including Adobe, Canva, and Microsoft. Only 4% of marketing and advertising executives worldwide said they were not currently using AI, according to a June 2022 MIT Technology Review Insights and Databricks survey. Twenty percent said there was already wide-scale adoption.

A quarter (25%) of US adults may have already interacted with generative AI content on Persado, an AI marketing platform, according to Persado.

We predict the next unicorn will be a generative AI startup, and if you haven’t already, your marketing team will likely adopt AI tools this year.

3. Clean rooms will become more interoperable

2022 was the year that clean rooms went from obscure to must-have as third-party identifiers became harder to use. But they have limitations.

“Many of these clean rooms have their own protocols for how to program them or work with them. Unless you’re a large marketer and have the ability to learn many of these different platforms, you almost need to reinvent the wheel with each clean room,” Wurmser said.

This process is improving, however. We predict better standards and more interoperability will fuel growth as the ability to port data and insights more easily between clean rooms will make them more appealing to smaller brands, publishers, and data holders.

4. As hype subsides, Web3 gets to work for loyalty

Web3 can provide loyalty to benefits programs in four ways:

  • Individual ownership of rewards (nonfungible-token-based (NFT) rewards that can be traded)
  • New ways to register or activate rewards (gaining points by scanning a QR code, for example)
  • Virtual goods or experiences (access to virtual events or voting on products)
  • Community (the idea of exclusive rights tied to the NFTs and their owners feeling connected to each other and the brand)

Starbucks introduced Odyssey, a blockchain-based loyalty program, as an extension to its existing—and valuable—program. Through Odyssey, members can play interactive games or earn collectible journey stamps that are NFTs. These stamps can add up to experiences like classes or trips, and there’s even a marketplace for them.

We predict other brands will follow Starbucks’ expansion of its existing loyalty program with NFTs.

5. Gaming becomes the training ground for marketers with the metaverse

Meta’s huge losses have dampened enthusiasm for the metaverse, but brands remain interested: 79% of US brand marketers believe there will be widespread adoption of metaverse technologies, according to a September 2022 Sitecore and Advanis survey.

For consumers, the easiest way to envision the concept is through virtual reality (VR) gaming. Game developers have been early adopters of VR and augmented reality, and major game platforms have partnered with brands in the virtual worlds of Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft.

We predict new mixed reality devices from Apple, Meta, and Sony will drive more VR interest among game developers. And while economic conditions may slow ad innovation in the metaverse, it won’t be stopped.

Watch the full webinar.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.