Strategy Refresh: Trends to Drive Digital Marketing Growth in 2024

By: Daniel Vardi, (un)Common Logic

The ever-evolving nature of digital marketing demands constant adaptation and innovation. Reflecting on 2023 and looking ahead to this new year, there are several trends that are set to shape the industry. It’s an ideal time to audit paid media strategies for optimal results, as it is likely to be a transformative period for marketers and brands.

A new era for search

Search will continue to undergo significant shifts into 2024. AI-powered algorithms will become even more sophisticated, enabling search engines and applications to deliver more accurate and personalized results to users. As Google phases out third-party cookies, and the continued focus on privacy and first party data, marketers will need to rely on evolved methods for targeting and tracking users.

That’s why in a cookieless world it will be important for organizations to invest in a customer data platform (CDP), which is a type of software that collects and organizes data from various sources, such as website interactions, email campaigns, and customer service interactions, to create a comprehensive view of each individual customer. This data can then be used to personalize marketing and sales efforts, improve customer service, and inform product development. This allows businesses to have a more complete understanding of their customers, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and sales. Additionally, CDPs can help businesses comply with data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Another result of one of the results of the deprecation of third-party cookies and privacy regulation is an increased desire to search via channels like Meta and TikTok. And while Google is still the go-to for typical search, maintaining an 89.03% market share, Gen Z has shifted to using TikTok as its primary search engine. This means search will continue to shift into ‘walled gardens,’ which are closed ecosystems where the publisher controls all the buying, serving, tracking and reporting of the data.

While this presents a challenge to marketers, it also presents an opportunity because bounce rates are often high via traditional search because of friction. By working toward optimizing offsite engagement, organizations can see much higher quality site traffic and conversion volume altogether.

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Personalization is key to conversion

Human-centered personalization goes beyond using someone’s name in an email or displaying relevant ads based on their browsing history. It is about understanding individual needs, preferences and behaviors of a brand’s target customer base with tailored content designed specifically for them. People want to be communicated with in a way that reflects who they are, they want to be treated like individuals – not users, accounts or prospects.

By delivering hyper-personalized content through the well-selected channels, digital marketers can build stronger connections and better target their key buying groups, driving higher engagement and conversions. A personalized approach to content gives brands the opportunity to build authentic, emotionally based relationships with their customers, and this is what inspires loyalty and lifetime customers. And today’s customers expect personalization in each interaction they have.

That’s why personalization will be paramount for marketers in 2024, so successful marketing campaigns need to leverage data and AI-driven technologies to create custom experiences. With that, human-created content will reign supreme in a crowded marketplace and digital marketers can use all the tools they have at hand, including their own humanity, to capitalize on emerging technologies and platforms to put humans at the heart of their campaigns.

For example, marketers can use paid social to use “instant experience” on Meta and TikTok, which offers capabilities for native landing pages following ad clicks. This experience smoothly transitions users and increases engagement. While currently the instant experience will drive traffic to the site, we predict that both Meta and TikTok to add full end-to-end purchasing capabilities on their platform without directing users to a different site

Voice search is everywhere

From smartphones to smart speakers to smart TVs, conducting web searches with a virtual assistant is now a very normal thing. About 40% of U.S. internet users use a voice assistant at least monthly, and the number of smart speakers in the U.S. alone is expected to surpass 200 million by 2023. Bottom line is people want to make their lives easier, and nothing is easier than telling Siri what to do. Embracing voice search marketing will be essential to ensure that your brand, company or organization stays relevant and visible in search engine results.

But what is voice search marketing? It is the optimization of data and content with the intention of it appearing in voice search results (Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, for example). Successful voice search engagements require marketers to offer the best, most natural sounding answers to specific questions and to have an effective enough review generation strategy to rank for questions like, ‘what’s the best restaurant closest to me?’ Additionally, marketers will need to optimize their content for natural language queries and long-tail keywords. And, this means incorporating conversational language into content and targeting longer, more specific keywords that people are likely to use when speaking rather than typing.

Also, many voice searches are location-specific, so it’s important that marketers advise their clients to make sure they have a strong local SEO presence, including accurate business information on Google My Business and other local directories. And they’ll need to implement structured data markup (schema.org) on their website to give search engines additional context about their content. Doing this can improve the chances of content being selected for voice search results.

However, to rank for voice search marketers cannot game the algorithms. Like so much of 2024, marketers need to deploy the digital through the lens of the human being at the other end of the search and think about what they’d like to hear spoken back to them.

Phones are the new shopping carts

Mobile marketing will continue to be a critical component of a comprehensive marketing strategy as people are continuing to shop from their phones. It’s expected that mobile e-commerce sales will account for 40.4% of all sales in 2024, or $534.18 billion. As such, mobile devices and retail technology will continue to offer new and creative spaces for brands to connect with prospects, even as niche spaces emerge.

A key component of any mobile campaign is leveraging customer data to deliver personalized and contextual messaging. Marketers can use insights about user behavior, preferences, and location to tailor marketing messages for a more relevant personalized experience. Along with that, SMS marketing will continue to provide an opportunity for marketers to directly and immediately communicate with their targets, giving them the ability to share promotions, announcements and offers in real-time.

Many retailers and marketers will also explore AR and VR technologies to create immersive and interactive mobile experiences. This can be particularly effective for product demonstrations, virtual try-ons or gamified marketing campaigns.

From the end of cookies to the continued rise of artificial intelligence shaping personalized customer experiences to the immersive possibilities offered by augmented reality and virtual reality, marketers are presented with unprecedented opportunities to engage and captivate their audience. Voice search, mobile optimization, and a mobile-first approach have become imperative, acknowledging the dominance of mobile devices in peoples’ lives.

Looking ahead, the key lies in adaptability. As new technologies emerge and consumer expectations evolve, marketers must remain agile, ready to embrace innovation while staying grounded in fundamental principles. By embracing these trends and proactively addressing the ever-changing landscape, businesses can position themselves not just to survive but to thrive in the dynamic world of marketing in 2024 and beyond.

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