Digital marketing is constantly changing. As we begin 2023, we can expect some changes in digital marketing features. Digital marketing changes are expected across Google Analytics, Google Ads, SEO and Web design.

The changes in data privacy regulations have resulted in a need to deliver online experiences with additional privacy controls. An increase in the use of AI, machine learning algorithms and automation in marketing has also resulted in feature changes.

Some of these digital marketing feature changes were implemented in 2022 and will continue to impact us this year. Other changes are new and expected to take place in 2023.

These changes will impact our digital marketing strategies. We need to plan for these digital marketing changes and include them in our digital marketing plans for 2023.

In this article, I discuss 8 digital marketing feature changes to expect in 2023.

1. Google Analytics: Universal Analytics will be replaced by GA4

In a major change to Google Analytics announced by Google, the existing Analytics version, Universal Analytics, will be retired and will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. It will be replaced by a new platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), on July 1 2023.

Here is Google’s announcement from the Analytics dashboard:

Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023. Prepare now by setting up and switching over to a Google Analytics 4 property.

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is an event-driven analytics tool that enables you to collect data about the performance of both your websites and apps.

Some of the changes in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) include:

  • GA4 is completely event-driven. The existing Universal Analytics is based on session-level data measured by hits.
  • GA4 collects both website and app data across the customer journey.
  • GA4 has more privacy controls like cookie-less measurement.
  • GA4 has better cross-device tracking.
  • GA4 has additional customizations, explorations and more.

What will happen to Universal Analytics (UA)?

  • Universal Analytics will continue to collect data until July 1, 2023.
  • After July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics data will be available for 6 months. During this time you should save any data you wish to save.
  • It is important to note that Universal Analytics will Not automatically transition to Google Analytics 4. GA4 will need to be manually set up to run in parallel with UA until UA is retired.

Google is encouraging users to set up Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to start collecting data in parallel with Universal Analytics.

By setting up GA4 now, you will have GA4 set up and running when Universal Analytics is retired in July. You will also have access to a year’s worth of GA4 data for a YOY comparison.

For more information on how to set up GA4, our blog post provides a step by step guide on How to set up Google Analytics 4 for your Website

2. Google Business Profile: Google Business Profile management moves to Google Search

As of November 3 2022, Google has moved the management of Google Business Profile from the legacy Google Business Profile dashboard to Google Search and Google Maps.

Some of the changes in Google Business Profile(GBP) management include:

  • The legacy Google Business Profile dashboard on the website to manage Google Business Profiles is no longer available to small businesses.
  • The Google Business Profile dashboard will only be available to large businesses with many locations.
  • When trying to access the legacy Google Business Profile dashboard, small businesses are now being redirected to Google Search.
  • The Google Business Profile mobile app was retired in July 2022.
  • The Google Maps app now supports most of the features that were available on the Google My Business app.

For more information, read our post on How to Manage Your Google Business Profile on Google Search.

Google Business Profile management on Google Search

3. SEO: Helpful Content Update

Website Content Quality Becomes More Important For SEO rankings

Several SEO changes were announced that will impact SEO rankings and visibility.

Google announced the Helpful Content Update in August 2022. The Helpful Content Update will focus on the quality of website content in determining SEO rankings.

The Helpful Content Update ensures that people get more original and helpful website content that is written for people first, rather than for the search engines.

The Helpful Content Update rewards sites with high quality website content with better SEO rankings. Sites with content written mainly to improve rankings on the search engines will be negatively impacted.

The Helpful Content Update is a site-wide signal. Sites that are negatively impacted can take months to recover.

For more information on this update, read our blog post on Google Announces Helpful Content Update Targeting Sites with Content written for Search Engines First.

4. SEO: Evaluating Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust (E-E-A-T)

Google has established a search quality rating process to ensure that people get helpful, trustworthy and authoritative search results when they search online on Google. Content quality on websites is evaluated by third party quality raters using Google’s guidelines.

Google has made some recent updates to their Quality Raters Guidelines for Search. The most recent update was made on December 15, 2022.

In the revised guidelines, they have included an additional factor to be considered by Quality Raters when evaluating website content quality for search.

The four factors for evaluating website content quality for search ratings now are:

  • E – Experience
    The extent to which the content creator has first-hand or life experience about the topic. This is the new factor that has been added to the quality rating guidelines.
  • E – Expertise
    The extent to which the content creator has the necessary knowledge or skill about the topic.
  • A – Authoritativeness
    The authoritativeness of the content creator, the main content and the website.
  • T – Trust
    The accuracy, safety, honesty and reliability of the page content. Trust is the most important factor for E-E-A-T.

These content quality guidelines are more stringent for financial security, health and safety sites or Your-Money-Your-Life (YMYL) sites.

2023 Digital Marketing Feature Changes E-E-A-T

Image from Google Quality Raters Guidelines

5. Google Ads: Responsive Search Ads

Increased focus on Automation & Machine Learning in Google Ads

In Google Ads, Responsive Search Ads replaced Expanded Text Ads as the default search ad format in June 2022. Responsive search ads are now the only search ad type that can be created in Search campaigns.

Responsive search ads are flexible ads that use automation and machine learning to deliver the right ads to the right customer. You enter multiple headlines and descriptions when you create the ad and Google’s machine learning systems will test different ad combinations to learn which performs best. By automatically adapting your ad to show the most relevant message to match customer search queries, responsive search ads may help to increase conversions.

For more information, read our post on How to Use Responsive Search Ads: 10 Best Practices

An example of a Responsive search ad is shown below. The same ad is shown transitioning between multiple headlines and descriptions each time it is shown.

responsive search ad example

responsive search ad example

6. Google Ads : Changes in Google Ads Recommendations

Google Ads made a change in the “Remove Redundant Keywords” recommendation on January 19, 2023.

Previously, the “remove redundant keywords” recommendation only suggested redundant keywords in the same ad groups and match types. This was helpful to remove redundant keywords to prevent duplication.

Starting January 19, the “remove redundant keywords” recommendation can suggest redundant keywords across match types. This is viewed as a broad push by Google toward using broad match keywords in Google Ads campaigns.

This is a problem if you have similar keywords in your ad groups across different match types. This recommendation would remove phrase match/exact match keywords in favor of broad match keywords in your campaign.

This is a good time to check your settings and disable the “remove redundant keywords” in your recommendations if you do not wish to have this recommendation in your Google Ads campaigns.

7. Google Ads: Changes in Audience Targeting

Similar Audiences Going Away

Starting May 1, 2023, Google Ads will no longer allow similar audiences to be added to ad groups and campaigns for ad targeting.

If you have active campaigns running similar audiences, they will remain in your campaigns until August 1 2023, after which they will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns.

In place of similar audiences, Google recommends using privacy-centric automated strategies like Smart Bidding or Optimized Targeting that will help you use your first-party data to optimize your marketing campaigns.

8. Web Design : Increased Focus on Data Privacy

There has been an increased focus on data privacy across Search. Users expect more privacy and control over their data through accessible tools.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws for privacy and security of personal data are being tightened by several European governments.

Brands have been using third-party cookies to track website visitors, provide a great user experience and deliver ads. Third-party cookies are stored on visitor’s computers when they visit websites other than your website. Third-party cookies are being phased out by several browsers. Firefox and Apple Safari have already phased out third-party cookies. Google Chrome is expected to phase out third-party cookies by 2024.

With the removal of third-party cookies, marketers will now have to collect first-party data directly from customers. This can be done through email, contact forms, newsletter subscriptions and surveys. First-party cookies that are stored on a visitors computer when they visit your site can be used to track visitor behavior on your site and improve user experience.

New features like Google Analytics 4 are being introduced because they are more privacy focused and make use of cookie-less measurement.


Marketing feature changes are expected to continue into 2023 to comply with privacy regulations. Data privacy is increasing in importance across Search with the removal of third-party cookies and the introduction of privacy-centric features. The introduction of Google Analytics 4 and the removal of Google Ads similar audiences are some feature changes that have been made to provide additional data privacy.

Other features like Responsive Search Ads illustrate the trend towards increased automation and machine learning technologies in Google Ads. There is also an increased focus on the quality of website content for SEO rankings as shown by the Helpful Content and E-E-A-T updates.

Now is the time to plan and implement these new digital marketing features in your 2023 digital marketing strategies. As always, we can certainly expect more new feature changes to be announced during the year.

Related Articles

  1. How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 For Your Website: A Detailed Guide
  2. How to Manage Your Google Business Profile on Search and Maps
  3. Google Announces Helpful Content Update Targeting Sites With Content Created for Search Engines-First
  4. Google Ads Bidding Strategies: A Guide for Marketing Campaigns
  5. How to Use Responsive Search Ads: 10 Best Practices

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