Digital marketing in 2024 is like a big toolbox filled with ways to share what you sell. Each item in your toolbox provides a way to inform consumers about what your business has to offer.
With online audiences continuing to grow at exponential rates, having a throughline to potential customers is more important than ever before. As consumers, we practically live our lives online now. Virtual worlds, cryptocurrency, talking computers – things that sounded like science fiction are now part of our daily lives.
Sophisticated artificial intelligence is consistently improving ways of crafting highly personalized ads and recommendations to keep people hooked. Algorithms analyze online behavior to determine which products or services you might like to buy. LinkedIn isn’t just for finding employment anymore. What this means for businesses is that it’s easier than ever to get your brand in front of customers.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Fear not! Here are six of the hottest digital marketing trends of 2024 that are transforming how brands attract, engage and transact with customers in virtually-powered, AI-enhanced, hyper-personalized ways!
AI Tools In Digital Marketing
Before we dive into the marketing trends we need to look out for in 2024, we first need to address the elephant in the room: artificial intelligence (AI). In 2023, AI tools demonstrated new capabilities, but they also revealed many critical limitations. With just a few clicks, large language models can have conversations, answer questions and generate content. Unfortunately, textual outputs often lacked contextual understanding and required extensive human guidance.
Contrary to some of the doomsday fears of 2023, 2024 won’t place human ingenuity in conflict with machine progress. While the capabilities of artificial intelligence continue to expand, the reality is that humans will always be part of quality content creation in some capacity. 2024 will center on recognizing and thoughtfully combining the unique abilities of human ingenuity and machine efficiency. Use these innovative technologies to empower and elevate the human potential of your digital marketing team.
Key Digital Marketing Trends To Watch Out For In 2024
Beyond the core elements of search engine optimization, content creation and analytics, marketers need to pay attention to emerging trends that offer new ways to enhance brand awareness, trust and conversion. Check out these six trends to guide businesses to a successful year:
1. Social Media Shopping Trends
Social e-commerce is expected to grow rapidly with an increasing number of consumers turning to social media for discovering, sharing and purchasing products. The convenience of exploring, seeking recommendations and completing transactions without leaving social media has become highly appealing to users. Deloitte predicts that in 2024, social commerce will make up 21.4% of the global ecommerce market, reaching a value of $2.05 trillion.
The rise of social e-commerce is largely attributed to platforms promoting user-generated content that encourages shopping. Options like product tags, shoppable posts, in-app cameras and streamlined checkout procedures allow consumers to seamlessly showcase and recommend items they love. Consumers spontaneously promote products organically by sharing photos, videos, reviews and other recommendations publicly or within their networks.
Social platforms have capitalized on this user behavior by offering brands ways to further incentivize user participation and engagement. Here are a couple options for your business:
- Gifts Or Awards: Offer free products or monetary rewards in exchange for creating shoppable posts and other social content that feature and endorse your products or services.
- Coupons Or Deals: Whether you have an online store or a physical location, provide customers with promotional deals for talking about and tagging your business on their social media page.
These low-cost incentives encourage users to feature your brand on social media and help you reach larger audiences.
2. Voice Search And SEO
In 2024, voice search and SEO will have a significant impact on how businesses reach and engage their target audiences online.
Here are some of the key trends and predictions for voice search and SEO in 2024:
- Long-Tail Keywords: Marketers will need to optimize content for long-tail keyword phrases that match how people ask questions out loud. Questions like “what’s the best marketing agency in Seattle” or “find me a nearby Italian restaurant with outdoor seating.” If content isn’t optimized for these natural language searches, brands will miss out on voice search traffic.
- Featured Snippets: Assistants will pull concise answers from websites and read them back as the results, rather than providing a list of links. This makes optimizing for featured snippets critical. Brands that provide quick answers in bullet points or paragraphs will gain exposure in voice results.
- SEO Personalization: Location data, personal information and context allow voice assistants to filter results to user’s specific preferences and situation.
3. Programmatic Advertising
In short, programmatic advertising uses algorithms and machines to buy ads. This approach ensures that your ads are precisely targeted at the right consumers, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.
With programmatic advertising, you can optimize your marketing budget by focusing on reaching those most likely to be interested in your products or services. Here’s a glimpse into the anticipated trends and developments in this field for 2024:
- Enhanced Accessibility And Transparency: One of the challenges of programmatic advertising is the lack of transparency and control over ad inventory, pricing and performance. To address this issue, more advertisers and publishers will need to adopt white label software, which allows them to create and manage their own programmatic platforms and networks. This shift promises greater visibility of ad campaigns and reduced costs.
- Integration With 5G Technology: 5G is poised to offer faster, more reliable and more secure internet connectivity, which will enhance the user experience and ad delivery. It will enable more innovative and immersive ad formats, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D, which will create more engaging and memorable interactions with the audience.
- Expanding Into New Channels And Formats: As media consumption habits evolve, the channels and formats for reaching audiences will also diversify. Emerging channels and formats gaining traction include:
- Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) Advertising: Advertisers will display ads on digital screens in public spaces, providing increased reach and creativity and offering users more interactive experiences.
- Voice-Activated Advertising: Ads will be delivered through voice-enabled devices, offering users convenience while giving advertisers context-rich, intent-driven opportunities.
- Audio And In-Game Advertising: Ads will be placed in audio streaming platforms and video games, promising increased engagement and loyalty from users and enhanced reach and targeting for advertisers.
- Over-the-Top (OTT) And Connected TV (CTV) Ads: Ads will be shown on streaming platforms and gadgets, reaching more people who don’t watch cable TV.
Programmatic advertising is set to grow and play a crucial role in digital marketing by 2024. Advertisers must strike the right balance in reaching customers effectively, ensuring they don’t overwhelm them with excessive ads. Brands should steer clear of deploying automated placement for ads that appear too often or are too intrusive, as this can annoy consumers and damage their reputation.
4. Mobile-First Marketing
Mobile-first marketing involves crafting and fine-tuning marketing campaigns specifically for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This approach acknowledges that mobile represents not just a channel, but also a behavior and mindset characteristic of today’s consumer.
Here are some of the reasons why mobile-first marketing will be essential for digital marketers in 2024:
- Mobile will be the primary device for online access. According to a report by Statista, the number of mobile internet users is projected to reach 4.28 billion in 2024, accounting for 73.5% of the global online traffic surpassing desktop and other devices. This means that mobile will be the first and often the only touchpoint for many online consumers, and marketers will need to ensure that their websites, apps and content are mobile-friendly and responsive.
- Mobile devices provide valuable insights into user data such as location, preferences, behavior and intent. Marketers can use these mobile insights to deliver personalized and relevant messaging. For example, geofencing allows pushing notifications to users near physical store locations. However, it is important to clarify that voice search is user-initiated. Businesses do not actively deploy voice search to target consumers. Rather, marketers can optimize content to surface in voice search results when users pose relevant verbal queries.
- Mobile will drive more engagement and conversions. Mobile devices are used for browsing and searching and for taking actions and making decisions. These tools facilitate engagement through resources like in-app advertisements and direct messaging, which can help marketers build trust and loyalty with their audience. Mobile devices also enable conversions via calls, app downloads, purchases and bookings. According to Google, mobile conversions have increased by 64% year-over-year in 2023 and mobile conversion rates are 1.5 times higher than desktop conversion rates.
Remember, as smartphone innovation accelerates especially with 5G and device capabilities, mobile-first marketing will increasingly become the most viable digital marketing strategy for the future. Consumers in 2024 are mobile, and marketing must follow where they lead.
5. Data Privacy And Compliance In Digital Marketing
Data privacy and compliance are two of the most important and challenging aspects of digital marketing today. As consumers become more aware and concerned about how their personal data is collected, used and shared online, they demand more transparency and control from the brands they interact with. At the same time, regulators around the world are introducing and enforcing stricter privacy laws and regulations, such as the GDPR, the CCPA and the ePrivacy Directive to protect the rights and interests of consumers and citizens.
While brands race to utilize AI for highly targeted, personalized marketing, these automated systems raise significant privacy concerns by relying heavily on large volumes of consumer data. AI algorithms are “black boxes,” ingesting swaths of data to create insights about consumers without offering transparency on the process. This allows brands to make inferences about consumers based on correlative models rather than transparent logical reasoning.
Despite privacy safeguards like the GDPR, deceptive data collection methods are still prevalent. Cookie notices that merely give an illusion of consent and complex terms of service agreements deprive consumers of a clear understanding and real choice in how their personal data is processed automatically.
While new regulations are emerging to increase user control – such as the proposed ePrivacy regulation which aims to tighten consent requirements for adtech platforms – effective enforcement is still catching up with the rapid adoption of AI. In many cases, the entities with the deepest insights into individuals are algorithms, not identifiable individuals.
While AI in digital marketing drives profits by personalizing and predicting consumer behavior, its ethical implementation lags sorely behind. It is up to marketing executives to conduct rigorous audits of data privacy, security and transparency. In 2024 and beyond, decision makers will need to integrate data reduction, anonymization and consumers access to automated decisions that affect them.
6. Retention Rate Is The New Engagement Rate
Retention rate is a metric that measures the percentage of customers who continue to use a product or service over an extended time. Retention rate is often considered a more reliable indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction than engagement rate, which measures the frequency and intensity of customer interactions with a brand.
Here are some of the reasons why customer retention will be a key part of digital marketing trends in 2024:
- Retention is more cost-effective and profitable than engagement. According to a report by Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer can cost five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one. Increasing customer retention rates by five percent can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
- Retention is more challenging and competitive than engagement. According to a report by Adobe, the average retention rate across industries is only 36%, which means that 64% of customers are lost within a year. Customers have more choices and higher expectations than ever before, and they can easily switch to competitors or alternatives if they are unsatisfied.
- This metric is more influenced and enhanced by AI tools than interaction. AI tools help digital marketers improve retention rate in various ways such as:
- Personalizing Customer Experiences: AI tools can use data and analytics to understand customer preferences, behavior and feedback and to deliver customized content, offers and recommendations that match their needs and interests.
- Predicting Customer Attrition: AI tools can use machine learning and predictive analytics to identify and segment customers who are at risk of leaving and to provide insights and suggestions on how to prevent or reduce attrition.
- Automating Customer Service: AI tools can use natural language processing and chatbots to provide fast, accurate and consistent customer support, and to resolve issues and complaints efficiently and effectively.
Need Help With Your Digital Marketing In 2024?
Digital marketing is continuously evolving with new technologies, platforms and consumer behaviors. By staying on top of the latest trends and innovations in 2024, brands can gain a competitive edge and more deeply engage their target audiences. As attention spans get shorter and consumers expect ultra-customized, on-demand interactions, brands need to harness automation, real-time data and interactive formats to deliver value across devices.
Looking for a digital marketing agency in Washington, Oregon or California? To discuss which emerging marketing trends apply best to amplifying your brand’s performance in 2024, schedule a consultation with our team today!
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