News & Insights

Three Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2024

By Alyssa Carino

With 2024 already off to a hot start, it’s crucial for marketers to look ahead at the trends and technologies that will play a hand in how we connect with our audiences this year. Check out the three trends below that we believe will have a big impact on marketing strategies this year.

The Cookie-Less Future is Here

The time has come, and Google has officially started phasing out third-party cookies, with plans to completely wipe them by Q3. Third-party cookies, primarily used to track users across different websites, have been a staple for advertisers looking to identify and reach targeted audiences with personalized content. However, with growing concerns over data privacy, Google Chrome and other web browsers were forced to discontinue them. Although given fair warning, the removal of third-party cookies will be a big hit to marketers who are ill-prepared. Marketers should make themselves familiar with the following alternatives if they haven’t already:

  • Focus on First-Party Data: Marketers should be building and enriching first-party data by directly interacting with customers. Encourage user registrations, subscriptions, and loyalty programs to gather information like preferences, behavior and demographics.
  • Leverage Zero-Party Data: Actively seek direct input from customers through surveys, feedback forms, and interactive content. Zero-party data, provided willingly by customers, can offer insights into their interests, preferences, and expectations.
  • Test Contextual Targeting: Rather than relying on user data, contextual targeting allows marketers to deliver ads based on the content a user is currently engaging with, ensuring relevance without depending on specific user tracking.

While the removal of third-party cookies poses challenges for advertisers in terms of targeted advertising, it also opens the door for more privacy-centric practices and innovations in data collection methods that prioritize user consent and data protection.

Google’s Search Generative Experience

As we saw in 2023, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay – and in 2024, we should expect to see a lot more of it. Tech giants, like Google, have been using AI behind the scenes for years to help run their massive search engines. In fact, one of Google’s first uses of machine learning in a product was their early spelling correction system back in 2001, which helped people get relevant results faster, regardless of spelling mistakes or typos. Now, the company whose goal is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is taking the next step with Search Generative Experience (SGE).

Simply put, SGE is a new search experience that leverages generative AI to provide users with quick and clear answers to queries, eliminating the need to click through individual webpages. Instead, SGE compiles these answers from multiple sources and presents them at the top of the search results, similar to how a Chatbot functions. SGE will also provide linked sources for users if they choose to explore further. To refine searches, SGE offers users to “ask a follow up” where they could continue their search without having to restate the context of their original query. In addition to all of this, Google is looking to make SGE a shopping partner for consumers by helping them understand the full picture while shopping, even while making more difficult purchasing decisions. Being built upon Google’s Shopping Graph, which has more than 35 billion product listings, this opens users to “the world’s most comprehensive data set of constantly changing products, sellers, brands, reviews and inventory.”

As of now, marketers and SEO specialists should continue business as usual, but they should definitely be staying up to date on the latest advancements in SGE. In preparation of SGE, here are some tips that marketers should keep in mind:

  • Drill Down on User Search Intent: SGE is all about giving users exactly what they are searching for in as few steps as possible. Create content that mirrors that by addressing what users are looking for. Dig deep into keyword research to get a better understanding of what users are searching for, then tailor your content to answer these questions in a digestible manner.
  • Focus on Creating Quality Content: Creating high-quality, relevant and valuable content that follows Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines is always preferred by both search engines and users. Leverage your personal expertise and experience to create unique content that offers a perspective that users cannot get elsewhere. Further support your content with forms of rich media like imagery and video.
  • Keep Up with SEO Health: In order for search engines and AI to better understand your content, it’s imperative to make sure your technical SEO is in a good place. Structured data markup is not new, but it continues to benefit content’s visibility in search results when done correctly. By providing as much additional context as possible, your content has a better chance of ranking in highly visible search results features like snippets and knowledge graphs.

Social Media Becoming the New Search Engine

The rise of social media has caused a massive shift in how users are searching for information online. Users, especially younger generations who grew up alongside social media, have started to turn to platforms like Instagram and TikTok to get answers, find products and discover new interests. Turning to social media allows these users to get real-time interaction from peers, influencers and communities that are easier to relate to and trust. With attention spans dwindling, social media has also made receiving and digesting information a whole lot easier with the rise of short-form videos thanks to TikTok. Now, users can get quick, to-the-point content on hyper focused topics, eliminating the need to toggle between websites to find what they are looking for.

This shift is nothing new and has been gradually happening over the past decade as social media use continues to grow each year, according to recently released research from the Pew Research Center. Already aware of this change, a lot of these social platforms have been adjusting their own algorithms to cater to the increase in user searches. To stay ahead of this trend, here are some thoughts that marketers should consider:

  • Optimize Your Social Media: Make sure that your social media profiles are filled with relevant keywords, compelling content, and clear calls-to-action in order to be easily discoverable on popular platforms.
  • Tailor Your Content to Your Audience: Create content that is shareable, engaging, and that resonates with your target audience on social. Supporting visual content, like imagery and videos, are a must nowadays in order to capture dwindling attention spans in the fast-paced social media environment.
  • Partner with Influencers: Get in with your target audience’s community by collaborating with influencers with a strong social media presence. Their recommendations and endorsements have the power to reach a wider audience and build credibility for your brand.
  • Emphasize Thought Leadership for B2B: For B2B companies, it’s important to hone in on your thought leadership strategy in order to enhance visibility, facilitate real-time engagement, support networking, and allow thought leaders to establish and amplify their personal brand in a dynamic and interconnected digital environment.

Want to learn more? Reach out to speak with our digital marketing experts.

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