We asked our digital marketing and client service teams what they see coming down the pike in 2024. Here’s what they said.
By Rebecca Au-Mullaney
With a new year just around the corner, our team members share what they think will be top of mind — and included in marketing plans — in 2024.
1. New Optimization Strategies. Search engine giants have started to lean in to AI tools such as Google Bard, Search Generative Experience (SGE) and Microsoft/Bing AI to compete with ChatGPT. This trend, in combination with voice search and changes in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features, will significantly impact the way that users conduct searches — and what content they see. Websites are seeing organic CTRs drop dramatically and, as a result, search engine optimizers will need to change their strategy to keep eyes on their content. — Jordan Thomas, Strategist, Digital Marketing
2. Social Media Platforms as Search Engines. Increasingly, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are using platforms like TikTok and Instagram as their primary search engines over traditional platforms like Google. Searches on TikTok and Instagram return quick, concise and highly visual content, making it easy for users to find things to do, restaurant recommendations, travel tips, beauty tutorials — even health and medical advice. To respond to this trend, marketers will need to more seriously consider SEO (hashtags, captions, alt text, meta data) when producing social media content. — JT
3. Voice Search Optimization. Alexa, Siri and Cortana aren’t going anywhere, which means optimizing for voice search will continue to be essential in 2024. — Shelby Varner, Account Coordinator
4. Voice-Activated Devices. Reliance on voice-activated devices for hands-free use is increasing. Brands will need to join the trend in designing for and integrating with these devices, which are popular for both accessibility and convenience. — Sonia Friedman, Account Director
5. Audio Advertising. With the continued popularity of podcasts and music streaming, audio ads provide advertisers with the opportunity to target and reach larger audiences. According to Statista, the number of listeners is expected to rise to 1.5 billion by 2027. — Tina Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer
The popularity of shortform video continues to grow, so we can expect to see it everywhere in 2024.
Social Media and Streaming
6. Paring Down Social Media Platforms. There seems to be a further thinning of the herd when it comes to social media marketing. Clients are abandoning X (formerly Twitter) and shifting their focus to only one or two platforms rather than trying to be everywhere. — Paul Peterson, Chief Client Officer
7. Shortform Video Across Applications. The shortform videos you find on TikTok have emerged on other platforms in the form of YouTube shorts, Instagram Reels and more. The popularity of shortform video continues to grow, so we can expect to see it everywhere in 2024. — PP
8. Speaking of Shortform Video … TikTok operates differently than other social channels, so it requires a unique approach and strategy — and deep consideration as to how DMOs, universities and healthcare organizations use the platform, which some state and local governments have banned. This digitally savvy audience can spot an intrusive ad from a mile away, so authentic — and responsible! — campaign creative will help brands connect, genuinely, with this audience. — Kaci Blatchford, Client Partnerships Director
9. CTV Marketing. Some of our clients have tapped us recently for Connected TV (CTV) marketing, and we expect to see this area of marketing continue to grow. With programmatic targeting, data-driven insights and dynamic ad insertion, CTV allows brands to deliver personalized ads to viewers. As consumers continue to embrace streaming platforms and CTV devices, advertisers are allocating more resources to reach audiences in these digital environments. — Ben Stone, Account Director
10. Social Commerce. No longer are social media apps just for entertainment or social connection. We expect these platforms, including TikTok and Instagram, to expand their shopping features, making it even easier and more enticing for users to purchase products directly within the apps. — SV
11. In-Game Advertising. This is a relatively untapped mainstream market. But as the number of gamers continues to increase, advertisers are seeing vast potential in investing in the in-game advertising space. — Kennan Walton, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing
12. Influencer Marketing. “Influencer marketing” continues to evolve. We foresee the emphasis transitioning to more independent personalities and producers. — PP
13. Continued Rise of Micro-Influencers. As consumers continue to look for authenticity in marketing, we’ll see micro-influencers being tapped to share sponsored content instead of celebrity influencers with large followings. When done well, these niche marketing efforts can appear more genuine and compelling to audiences. — SF
14. Conversational Content. Marketers will focus more and more on facilitating two-way conversations with audiences, fostering authentic connections and a sense of community, which, in turn, creates brand loyalty and trust. — SV
Gen Z and Gen Alpha are using platforms like TikTok and Instagram as their primary search engines over traditional platforms like Google.
Data & Analytics
15. Zero-Party Data. Zero-party data is different than first-party data, which is collected from pixels surrounding user behavior, like web activity. Zero-party data is proactively offered up from users through polls and website forms, making it more reliable and accurate than first-party data. With the rise of privacy concerns, zero-party data should be a focus for data collection as brands continue to personalize their marketing to user interests, location and more. — KB
16. Privacy. Citing protected health information privacy concerns, a lot of our healthcare clients are moving away from Google Analytics to more enterprise-level analytics platforms like Adobe Analytics, as well as those specifically designed for privacy, such as Piwik PRO and Amplitude. — PP
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
17. Personalization by Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI-powered personalization enables marketers to leverage vast amounts of data to create highly tailored messages, creative, content and experiences for different target audiences (see how you can use ChatGPT for travel marketing). By helping organizations better understanding their customers’ preferences and behaviors, AI is able to help them forge deeper connections and enhance customer loyalty. — TK
18. Augmented Reality (AR) Showrooms. We’ve already started seeing brands use AR to educate customers and show products in real-time but, as the technology continues to improve and become more popular, we expect to see AR use grow exponentially. — BS
19. Virtual Reality (VR) Meetings. In 2024, Apple is set to release its augmented reality glasses, Apple Vision Pro, which is essentially a VR/AR headset. Meetings will never be the same — or “remote” — again. — KW
20. AR in Healthcare. In healthcare and, specifically, patient education, AR offers more interactive and engaging ways to understand complex medical topics. Healthcare organizations will be using this more and more in the coming months and years. — SF
Social Responsibility and Inclusion
21. Promoting Mental Health Awareness. Organizations are not only taking responsibility for the content they publish, but also for the way it impacts their communities — particularly regarding mental health. Knowing that excessive social media usage is linked to poor mental health outcomes, organizations are trying to prioritize the content that adds the most value for users. — KB
22. Inclusive Marketing. While not necessarily a new trend, inclusive marketing continues to evolve. Beyond just showing diversity across gender, race, age and sexual orientation, we’ve seen brands (particularly our DMO clients) focus on being more inclusive of people with disabilities, creating content specific to their needs and including them in imagery and ad creative. — PP
23. Social Responsibility. Brands now more than ever want to support the causes they believe in, and, likewise, consumers are placing ever more importance on the values — and actions — of the brands they support. We expect this to continue to grow as more and more young people accept, and act on, social responsibility. — BS
24. Anticipating Gen Z Skepticism. While younger consumers are increasingly demanding marketing strategies that align with their social consciousness (from gun control to the environment to LGBTQ+ representation and more), there’s a catch. Gen Z in particular has a finely tuned barometer for insincere cause marketing. Hold the gimmicks and stick to the real stuff to win over consumers. — SV