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5 tips to shape your gameplan and do more with less in 2023

March 08, 2023
Three people sitting on a couch smile while looking at each other.

Yes, we all know the outlook for 2023 is a sobering one. [Alexa, play Radiohead]. With fears of recessions looming, the first instinct for brands is to cut spending. But it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom, and recessions don’t last forever. While cutting spend in the short-term may be tempting, doing so will negatively impact brand equity in the medium and long-term as the economy rebounds.

According to Nielsen Marketing Mix Models, brands that pull back can expect to lose 2% of their long-term revenue each quarter, and it can take 3-5 years to recover brand equity losses resulting from that downtime.1 You’ve likely spent years building your brand equity, and now it’s more important than ever to protect it. In these volatile times, people are looking to brands for reassurance and stability.

Nobody we’ve met has the dials to control the economic climate, but we can help you reshape and optimize your digital strategies to do more with less, giving you access to over 1 billion people. We have expanded to be a full-funnel, multi-channel, globally scaled first- and third-party business. Few companies can match what we offer. Across our offerings, we’re creating differentiated, high-value experiences. With an audience 15% more likely to spend compared to the average web user, Microsoft Advertising is already a low-risk strategy.

2023 is the year to do more with less. And we’re here to help.

Here are five tips to help shape your 2023 gameplan:

An animation resembling a board game that shows all five tips to shape your 2023 gameplan.

1. Be bold and flex your creativity

While layoffs and hiring freezes rip through industry, growth related roles are the fastest-growing jobs in marketing, according to new data from LinkedIn. The 2023 Jobs on the Rise list 2 highlights the increasing importance of driving business growth. And here’s another fun fact: Groupon, WhatsApp, Venmo, and Uber were all founded smack dab in the 2008–2009 recession.3 It’s these times when companies are cutting spend that the return on investment (ROI) on innovation and creativity is greater than ever.

Automation is your smartest new team member

Automation will make you better at what you do and help you do more with less. And we’re only getting started. Don’t believe us? Kevin Scott, CTO at Microsoft, says “2023 is going to be the most exciting year that the AI community has ever had.” Our AI breakthroughs are built to augment human capacity rather than replace, so you can confidently sit back and co-pilot with us while enjoying the many benefits of automation.

Just look at German manufacturer, Hörmann, who went beyond the plateau with automated bidding in 2020—achieving a whopping conversion growth of 900%. Our recent multibillion dollar investments to accelerate AI breakthroughs show just how committed and excited we are to share these benefits broadly with the world.

Play freely in a less crowded playground

In the middle of the pandemic, Air France did just this. While the travel industry was pulling back, they used the opportunity to test and try new ad experiences. As a result, the Microsoft Audience Network added 3% incremental conversions in 2021 on Microsoft Advertising non-branded campaigns, while reducing the overall cost-per-acquisition by 29%.

2. Treat brand as mission critical

Be present and be memorable. When it comes to long-term brand building and short-term performance marketing, you can’t have one without the other.

Today is the day to build loyalty for tomorrow

45% of hybrid workers are delaying their purchases by at least 6 months.4 And the longer the purchase journey, the higher percentage of conversions that native influences. Creating evocative brand memories at every touchpoint of this new journey is critical to ensure your brand is top-of-mind for years to come.

Nailing the balancing act between search and native

Our Microsoft Audience Network delivered a halo effect for Honda’s brand building efforts, aiding their search activity. The results drove 11% incremental clicks for Honda and contributed to a massive 64% of their total impressions with Microsoft Advertising.

3. Show empathy with action

As inflation bites, your audience is increasingly feeling the pinch. We’ll likely see frustrations deepen as audiences try to manage their finances and make their income stretch further. Lead with empathy, be consistent and reassuring. When every instinct is screaming at you to keep discounting—don’t follow the herd. Instead, ask yourself how you can be better at conveying your value to your customers.

Reassurance is king

Brand loyalty has fallen globally from 47% to 44% in the past year.5 And longer purchase journeys present further challenges to this as your customers are shopping around more. But this also presents opportunities. Make sure you’re showing up at every touchpoint in this new journey—reassuring, adding value, and offering value.

Hit the right tone

Review your ad copy and test new creatives that will help you stand out. Make use of Dynamic Search Ads and Responsive Search Ads to test new types of headlines you may not have considered.

4. Lean on partners

Partnership is what we do. Our mission is to empower you to do more and be more successful. Going at it alone in challenging times is hard—don’t be afraid to lean on your partners. At Microsoft Advertising, we’re working with our partners to make our offering and your results stronger. We’re investing in world-class partnerships to deliver robust and easy to manage offerings for our customers.

Expand your reach

Our partner network of trusted third-party search engines like Ecosia and DuckDuckGo, as well as websites like Forbes and Gumtree, give you access to high-quality inventory beyond Microsoft properties. Younited Credit saw a 16% increase in conversions and 63% lower CPA by opting into the additional traffic available from our partner network.

Enter the world of Connected TV

Microsoft Advertising is the exclusive technology partner for Netflix to power their first ad-supported subscription offering. This exciting opportunity grants advertisers unique access to the Netflix audience and premium connected TV inventory. On top of that, our partnership with Roku allows you to understand the relationship between TV streaming, search, and native advertising between the platforms.

Be wherever you customers are online

We’re more than just a search marketing tool. Since the acquisition of Xandr last year, we’re now able to offer a full-funnel advertising experience with world-class ad-tech that spans Search, Native, Display, and Connected TV. Now, wherever your customers are online, we can connect you to them.

5. Think bigger

In 2022, we increased from 34 markets to 164—adding 12 billion additional queries. Yes, you read that right: 12 billion. This means you can now reach your customers wherever they are on the planet. What does this mean for you?

It means first mover advantage

Our 130 new markets are ripe for the taking and offer the perfect testing ground for you to try something new in a less competitive market. The good news? No expensive gambles! Digital MarTech provider, Sembot, swept up the demand in Poland when this market first launched in 2022. Having never run ads with Microsoft Advertising before, they delivered an incredible 1550% return on ad spend in the first 30 days.

Cross borders with us

Achieve incremental reach with minimal effort by simply extending your existing campaigns into new markets across the globe.

Connecting the dots to true full-funnel marketing

You can now seamlessly integrate Search, Native, Display, Connected TV, retail media, and more. Xandr brings into play at Microsoft one of the most unique and powerful data-enabled technology platforms for the ads ecosystem. Promote IQ brings additional offsite opportunities for retailers and brands to access more supply, and the same is true of our Audience Ads.

Help us improve Microsoft Advertising

Your comments and feedback are integral to shape and improve our product. You can use the Microsoft Advertising Feedback portal, in-product feedback, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also email us at or contact Support.


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