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Marketing Trends for 2024

Marketing also changes due to consumer behavior and the external environment. While global growth is set to be modest and inflation is likely to cool, according to the OECD, consumers will still be cost-conscious. Also, most people are likely to seek out brands that show they are doing something for the good of society, and not just their bottom line.  There’s a lot to do to succeed in 2024, but if you know the trends coming down the line, it’s easier to plan, strategize, and get ahead of the competition.

Social Media Trends

It’s going to be another interesting year for social media! In 2024, social media platforms will continue to battle for consumers’ attention and they’ll need to re-examine the way success is measured. There may also be a shift in dominance as the continuous drama with X (formerly Twitter) leaves room for new platforms like Instagram Threads and Bluesky to rise in popularity, while other networks have the potential to gain new ground for organic traffic.

Retention rate is the new engagement rate

In recent years, marketers have seen the engagement rate on organic social media activity decline. While there are many reasons for this – content quality, time of day, device – people may shift away from engagement to focus on retention in 2024.

“People will be reporting much more on retention rate than ever before. And with attention being the world’s most valuable commodity, users are presented with more choice than ever before,” says Battisby. To combat this, brands have been creating fantastic social media campaigns built around entertaining, educating, and informing audiences. The key is to drive engagement by being playful and creative.

Battisby believes that social media platforms are looking to enable this by testing longer-form videos – for example, TikTok will introduce 15-minute-long uploads – and focusing more on how brands not only engage their audiences but retain viewers.

 

LinkedIn organic reach dominates

LinkedIn has just hit a billion members worldwide. That’s a long way from the days when it was just a place to upload your resumé and look for a job!. In 2024, Battisby expects to see a huge rise in organic engagement on LinkedIn –  a rarity on social channels right now.

“People are updating their LinkedIn profiles, not just about work topics either – general life skills, advice, support, mental health issues, tips and leadership.”

 

AI is being integrated into social platforms

It’s no surprise that AI is being used by social media marketers to drive productivity. AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney help marketers come up with campaign concept ideas and social post ideas, and help with copy generation and text-to-image generation.

 

Marketing should take charge of AI strategy

There’s some confusion about what to do with AI. Because marketing departments are closest to the consumer, they can be proactive and push forward with an AI strategy. They can use the knowledge gained over the customer journey to identify the opportunities AI can bring to enhance what a business already has.

“Marketers have the opportunity to own AI because nobody owns it in companies at the moment. It’s a great opportunity for marketers to say, ‘I’m going to grasp this and be the person who helped set the strategy, who decides what we’re going to do and how we’re going to use AI best’,” says Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Digital Marketing Institute.

Corish believes the first step is to figure out what type of company you’re working in, as well as the ambition for change and the resistance to that change. Then you can strategically identify and prioritize AI projects, getting any necessary buy-in from stakeholders.

Google’s Search Generative Engine (SGE) will grow up

Google’s SGE is transforming the search experience with generative AI. The goal is to provide more relevant and comprehensive information to users based on questions. SGE also provides relevant links and has a conversational mode where users can follow up with more questions – in essence, have a conversation with Google.

 

Create content that’s worth talking about & sharing

It’s always been important to create great content, but in 2024 if you want to appear on search results, what you create needs to be ramped up. “Your success is going to be tied to whether you can create content that’s much better than AI-generated content,” says Lam.

In recent months, there have been rumors about backlinks dying off. In fact, interviews with Google employees have uncovered that backlinks are not a top three ranking factor. However, Lam believes backlinks will continue to be a signal of popularity to Google, especially when it is planning to corroborate its AI snapshots with sources across the web.

 

Create high EEAT content

Google’s EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) framework is not a ranking factor but a component of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. While this framework has existed for a decade, this year Google added an extra E for ‘Experience’.  This is significant as AI cannot generate real-world experience like people can. This gives human content marketers an advantage and cements the importance of having experts write or inform content.

 

Focus on conversion rate & UX

Google always makes changes that affect your ability to capture people directly in the search engine results page (SERP) with clicks. Unfortunately, that’s out of your control. But you can control user experience (UX).

 

PPC Trends

With such fierce competition for customers, paid advertising offers a way for companies to target their core audience with relevant messages. What makes the pay-per-click (PPC) model so enticing is that marketers can control their spending and stick to a budget.

Unsurprisingly, the leader in this space is Google. Worldwide revenue for Google in Q3 2023 came in at $76.7 billion, of which $59.6 billion was from Google advertising. This was a 9.5% year-on-year increase, demonstrating the appetite for paid ads. In 2024, that growth shows no signs of slowing down but there will be developments to consider, particularly AI.

 

AI is an ‘assistant’ to Google Ads

In 2024, Google is going to roll out further generative AI tools into Google Ads. While this can be helpful, we also need to be skeptical because Google Ads is, after all, a moneymaker. The danger is AI will use design engineering and create biases in things like algorithms and ad layouts.

 

Avoid on-the-spot pressure

Don’t take Google’s word for it! No matter how long you have been working in PPC or search marketing, be sure to use your own (data-backed) judgment with Google Ad campaigns. Over the past few years, Google reps have been calling up accounts and suggesting changes to ad campaigns. But there’s an increasingly aggressive script that they follow. This can make you think you’re taking the wrong strategy or not using the right features on tools, but Melinn recommends never deciding on the spot.

 

Managing customer expectations on sustainability

According to PWC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, more than 70% of customers said that they were willing to pay more for sustainably-produced goods. This positive trend enables customers to use their purchase power to align with their social concerns, and it offers companies pricing power for a product or service that addresses these concerns.

 

2024 is going to be an exciting and challenging year for marketers. AI is changing everything from the way consumers behave and purchase to how businesses and departments operate. The one thing we’ve learned from talking to our experts is that marketers need to embrace AI to be effective in their jobs. Even if your role is not impacted by AI right now, it will be in the future. So start learning about the technology and start using some of the platforms. Otherwise, you risk being left behind.