In light of the uncertain economic conditions in the coming year, marketers and agency leaders may shift their focus on technology, following a year of fluctuations. The start of 2022 saw new technologies such as metaverse activations, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies being highly sought-after, however, their popularity began to decline due to setbacks like the failure of digital exchange FTX, investors losing interest in Meta’s virtual world plans, and an overall downturn in Silicon Valley caused by increasing federal interest rates and inflation.

Meanwhile, recent advancements in generative artificial intelligence have opened up new possibilities for automation and creative enhancement in the near future, as the ability to generate realistic copy and imagery becomes increasingly relevant to creative industries.

Given this context, some experts anticipate that in 2023, marketers may focus more on how new technologies can improve their financial performance and achieve specific business objectives, rather than continuing to experiment with them.

“The year 2022 was focused on the idea of escaping reality. We were looking for a new way to engage and find something exciting,” said Elav Horwitz, the SVP of global innovation and creative partnerships director at McCann Worldgroup. “However, in 2023, the focus will shift to being more realistic and addressing actual problems.”

As the development of a comprehensive metaverse is still far off, and NFT sales have dropped significantly, market research firm Forrester predicts that interest in these technologies will decrease in 2023.

According to analysts’ report, the metaverse has not yet experienced a widespread, popular trend that would bring it into mainstream use, similar to how Pokemon Go did for augmented reality in 2016. With marketing budgets decreasing, it is unlikely that this inflection point will happen in the near future.

“The situation could change if brands experiment with creating a combination of physical and digital experiences, but currently, it seems unlikely for 2023,” said Forrester analyst Mike Proulx. “Economic instability will lead to reduced innovation budgets, which will limit brands’ ability to take bold and risky actions.”

Mark Curtis, head of innovation at Accenture Song and co-lead of the metaverse continuum business group, is optimistic about the long-term impact of the metaverse on how people interact on the internet. However, the lack of AR and VR infrastructure required for consumers to fully engage in virtual worlds is currently hindering the technology’s growth.

“The development of the metaverse will be closely tied to hype cycles, which will fluctuate,” said Curtis. “Currently, I believe we are either at the lowest point or on the way to reaching the lowest point of one of these cycles.”

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