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Top Marketing Trend Predictions for 2024

The Gist

  • AI integration. Current market trends indicate artificial intelligence will persist in disrupting industries and reshaping marketing strategies.
  • Social influence. The role of social media creators is intensifying, demanding authenticity over traditional influencer partnerships.
  • Privacy emphasis. The growing importance of consumer data privacy stresses the need for transparency and regulatory compliance.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on May 17, 2024 to include new data and information. The original content was authored by Scott Clark.

The marketing landscape is not a static thing — it constantly changes and evolves, adapting to meet customers’ expectations and demands. It shifts with changes in the economy, new strides in technology and viral movements taking over the internet. So what marketing industry trends are top of mind for 2024?

Top Trends in Marketing in 2024

From the growing influence of social media creators to the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence technologies like ChatGPT, what are marketing trends making a splash this year?

Trend #1: Social Media Influencers Will Continue to Influence

A 2024 HubSpot report found that influencer marketing remains one of the top marketing trends delivering on return on investment (ROI). More than half of marketers surveyed in the report said their company worked with creators or influencers in 2023, and 49% of marketers that partnered with influencers worked with them multiple times. Additionally, 16% of marketers plan to invest in influencer marketing for the first time in 2024.

HubSpot’s 2024 The State of Marketing Report

Megan Conahan, executive vice president at Direct Agents, a digital marketing agency, told CMSWire that as streaming companies come to terms with the new reality of slower growth and churn, consumers will start turning elsewhere for content — and that place is social media. Conahan believes that with extra eyeballs going toward social platforms, creators will shine, their content will get more views and their following will grow.

“Notice I said creators and not influencers,” she said. “We have seen an erosion of trust in influencers who will partner with any brand that pays. With an increased focus on authenticity, influencers have no place here.”

Conahan said that creators will be a big part of brands’ future. “Identify your target market and find creators that align with your target.”

Related Article: Types of Social Media Influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro or Nano

Trend #2: Self-Service Ad Platforms Take Over 

The shift toward self-service ad platforms, accelerated by data privacy changes and a push toward data services that are not reliant on the walled gardens of Big Tech, is among the top trending marketing topics in 2024.

A self-serve advertising platform enables brands to purchase digital ads directly, providing them with the tools they need to create, execute and oversee their own advertising campaigns. Examples of current self-service advertising platforms include:

  • The Trade Desk: A major demand-side platform that gives brands the ability to buy digital ad inventory through programmatic channels without relying on walled gardens like Google and Meta. Provides a lot of transparency and control.
  • Adform: Offers self-serve capabilities to manage ad campaigns across display, video, mobile, social and more. Features advanced automation and AI optimization tools.
  • MediaMath: An independent demand-side platform providing real-time bidding ad-buying that can be customized based on first-party data and campaign goals. 

These platforms shift the control of advertising directly into the hands of advertisers, facilitating autonomy and flexibility in their advertising strategies. As brands assemble their own first-party customer data, they can dynamically fine-tune data-driven campaigns themselves, offering more customization at a lower cost. Self-service platforms often use predictive AI to optimize campaign performance on the fly. 

Because self-service platforms support more media publishers and ad types, they open new opportunities for brands to diversify spending. With personalized messaging constrained by privacy regulations, the cost-efficiency enabled by self-service platforms will become increasingly vital for marketers facing budget pressures. Their flexibility and automation provide brands greater control in reimagining customer engagement. 

Trend #3: First-Party Data & Regulatory Compliance Remains Top Concern 

Data privacy has become a subject of concern to the majority of consumers. In 2023, a Pew Research Center survey found that 67% of those polled understand little to nothing about what brands are doing with their personal data.

Chart outlining the findings from a Pew survey on American data privacy

Concerns about data privacy aren’t limited to what private businesses are doing with it — 71% are also worried about the government’s use of their data. As a result, in 2024, the marketing landscape is anticipated to be significantly influenced by the shift toward first-party data, transparency, heightened privacy concerns and compliance with consumer privacy regulations. 

As the reliance on third-party cookies dwindles, primarily due to major web browsers phasing them out and stricter privacy regulations coming into effect globally, marketers are turning to first-party and zero-party data as more reliable and ethical sources of customer insights. This data, collected directly from customer interactions and customers themselves, is not only more accurate but also aligns better with increasing consumer demand for privacy and control over their personal information. 

Malorie Benjamin, chief transformation officer at Dixon Schwabl + Company (DS+CO), told CMSWire that, understanding that the depreciation of cookies is already here in many capacities, she believes 2024 will be filled with many new solutions and providers bringing forward cookie-less measurement platforms. “As marketers, the need to understand ROI has become ingrained in the expectations of CMOs everywhere. There is significant opportunity for anyone who’s bringing forward solutions in this space that allow marketers to have more granular information about tactical performance and audience insights.” 

Benjamin emphasized that there is a desire to have solutions that are not reliant on Google, Meta or any other walled garden provider. “Seeking new ways to identify audiences and track actions in a cookie-less environment is at the forefront of every media planner/buyer’s needs as we move into 2024 and a future that’s reliant on contextual and first-party data solutions without the option of retargeting,” she explained.

The challenge for marketers will be in effectively collecting and using this first-party data while respecting consumer privacy. This shift is likely to prompt a greater emphasis on building direct relationships with customers, possibly through loyalty programs, personalized content and social media interaction. Marketers will need to balance the need for detailed customer data with the growing emphasis on privacy, requiring transparent data collection practices and clear communication about how data is used. The overall impact will likely be a more trust-based relationship between brands and consumers, with marketing strategies becoming more personalized, data-driven and privacy-conscious.

Related Article: The Role of Data Privacy in Customer Trust and Brand Loyalty

Trend #4: Commerce and Retail Media Expands

The advent of self-service ad platforms coincides with the expansion of commerce and retail media (a form of digital advertising where ads are placed on retail websites and platforms). Retail media is poised to have a big impact on current marketing trends, reshaping how brands interact with consumers and how advertising is integrated into the retail experience.

Noted retail media brands today include Amazon and Walmart:

  • Amazon DSP: Amazon’s platform lets brands plan, buy, measure and optimize advertising campaigns across Amazon’s owned properties as well as third-party sites and apps.
  • Walmart Connect: Walmart Connect enables brands to advertise across Walmart’s digital properties, retarget them across the web and social media and aims to improve brand visibility and product discovery, featuring simplified navigation and step-by-step guidance.

Major retailers with comprehensive shopper data are offering brands targeted ad placements that can drive conversions more effectively than broad campaigns. When they are near the point of purchase, advertising to customers unlocks major sales potential. Retail media tightly embeds marketing into the customer’s native shopping experience, creating a more cohesive journey where customers receive useful recommendations as they browse or purchase, seeing relevant ads as additive rather than disruptive.

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Such shoppable ad formats and social commerce provide a more integrated experience between discovery, inspiration and transaction. Additionally, retailers already possess rich transactional and behavioral data. As third-party data disappears, retail media enables brands to tap into these insights for more relevant targeting and to build lasting customer relationships through a trusted channel.

Trend #5: Disruption Through AI Technologies Continues 

It’s impossible to talk about new marketing trends without recognizing the pervasive influence of AI. In 2024, AI is primed to revolutionize content marketing by augmenting personalization and performance. The use of AI in general is becoming so transformative that according to a Gartner report, it is poised to be recognized as a primary economic indicator of national power. 

This year, marketers will home in on their ability to more effectively leverage generative AI. Benjamin related that since ChatGPT entered the mainstream, agencies are working around the clock to identify procedures and policies, and determine the most practical solutions to leverage AI to maintain creativity and improve marketing outcomes.

“Developing customized prompts and learning to automate manual tasks is likely going to be the focus of many marketers since this is likely to yield the highest return in terms of effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing efforts.” She explained that using prompts to deliver code that can enable connectivity of disparate tools, improve tracking capabilities, and improve automation is probably one of the most underused opportunities for generative AI.

AI also has huge potential to enhance and improve personalization in many ways, such as by creating customized experiences, product recommendations and individualized creatives for advertising.

Sidra Berman, CMO at parcelLab, said hyper-personalization will drive marketing in 2024 as today’s consumers expect tailor-made experiences that are dynamic and engaging. “AI technologies will allow marketers to optimize customer experiences at record speeds, offering more ways to delight customers based on specific requests. Marketers need to use customer data to deploy successful multi-tier marketing campaigns that are specific to each customer segment and personalized at every digital touchpoint.” Berman explained that customizable touchpoints that incorporate on-brand messaging will result in higher conversion rates and increase average net promoter scores (NPS).

Traditionally, the ability to target specific consumer segments has been far more advanced than the capacity to create corresponding creative versions of ads. This disparity often leads to a mismatch between highly targeted audiences and the generalized creative content they receive, limiting the overall effectiveness of the campaigns. However, with AI-driven constant versioning, marketers will be able to create and deliver a multitude of creative versions tailored to thousands of finely-tuned consumer segments. 

This means that each segment will not only be targeted with precision but will also receive content that resonates specifically with their preferences and behaviors. As a result, the performance of marketing campaigns is expected to reach new heights, offering a significantly improved consumer experience. This shift will not only enhance engagement rates but also drive higher conversion rates, as consumers are more likely to respond positively to content that feels personally relevant and tailored to their unique needs and interests.

Bill Stratton, global industry GTM lead, media, entertainment and advertising at Snowflake, emphasized that in the realm of advertising, we are witnessing a groundbreaking advancement in the form of hyper-personalization made possible by AI. “Currently, targeting data for campaigns, where thousands of fine-tuned segments can be derived from consumer behavior, has far outnumbered the creative versions of a campaign which limits ad effectiveness. This constant versioning via AI is set to unlock a new level of performance and consumer experience. For example — AI can help reach consumers in a buying cycle by targeting and messaging to the individual every step of the way.” 

Stratton suggested that what sets this approach apart is AI’s ability to discern someone’s distinct messaging sensitivities, or even identify which imagery resonates with that person the most at unique times. “As consumers, this breakthrough empowers us further with relevancy in our lives and will build a deeper connection between us and a brand in the process.”

Related Article: Generative AI in Marketing: Unlocking the Next Generation of Use Cases

Trend #6: Social Media Marketing Becomes More Important

You can’t ignore social media when it comes to current trends in marketing. In 2022, more than 4.59 billion people used social media worldwide, with Facebook leading the pack as the most popular social network platform, according to Statista. By 2027, that number is projected to increase to almost 6 billion.

Chart showing number of social media users globally

Social media has become an integral part of people’s everyday lives. In fact, the average internet users spends 143 minutes per day on social media and messaging apps alone. And many people, especially those in Generation Z, use social apps such as TikTok to look up product reviews and endorsements, find local businesses and restaurants and even look for jobs.

Brian Bennett, president and founder at STIR Advertising & Integrated Messaging, said that social media has evolved into much more than a series of websites we use to communicate with friends. “Brands of all shapes and sizes are turning to social as a primary means to ecommerce, giving their customers a direct avenue to make purchases — without navigating away from the app. In other words, the platforms themselves include built-in browsers that act as virtual storefronts.”

Trend #7: Social Commerce Expands in Significance

Social commerce is poised to become a major force in both inbound and outbound marketing for online retailers. Social shopping, a blend of ecommerce and social media, allows customers to discover, engage with and purchase products directly through social media platforms. This method of shopping is transforming the traditional retail journey by providing user-generated social proof and enabling more personal interactions between brands and customers. 

The integration of social commerce into daily life is not only changing the way people shop, but also how businesses approach marketing. By offering a dynamic, engaging experience, social shopping replaces more tedious and time-consuming transactions.

Michael Nemeroff, co-founder and CEO at Rush Order Tees, told CMSWire that he foresees social commerce becoming a major element in inbound and outbound marketing for online retailers. “As an ecommerce owner myself, I’ve worked with my team to create a more consistent presence on platforms like Instagram. Reels and short-form videos in Stories are pillars now for nurturing an audience.” 

Nemeroff suggested that social commerce will be the next big approach, and while it does require more effort from marketing teams to show up online, it solves two issues at once: growing our relationship with our followers and customers by engaging with them online and boosting our sales through social media selling.

“Networks such as Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming sites for sales, and most of the success is coming from the fact that business owners have been nurturing their communities through these platforms,” said Nemeroff, who added that selling and relationship building go hand in hand. 

Related Article: Did TikTok Just Change the Ecommerce Game?

2024 Is a Year of Adjustments in Marketing

As financial concerns grow and consumers’ wallets get tightened, marketers will have to adjust their methodology and focus to adapt to these new and upcoming marketing trends in 2024.

Social media, influencers and content creators will continue to play a large role in how consumers shop and what they buy. Local marketing will become even more important, and customer retention, rather than conversion, will take the lead. Emerging AI technologies such as ChatGPT will become more useful to marketers, and although it may seem counterintuitive, instead of pulling back, brands will make greater investments in marketing with a focus on measurable results and ROI.

Originally Appeared Here

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