As we start 2024, the digital marketing industry is in the midst of a massive change in how we start, think about, and execute marketing and advertising campaigns. Digital Marketing trends include SEO seeing shifts in automation tools as well as content creation and efficiency while performance marketing channels like Google Ads and Meta Ads are increasingly investing in their black-box ad automation tools. These updates are reshaping how marketers approach growth and audience engagement.
SEO Trends: Adapting to Google’s Core Updates
Google’s Core Updates have been one of the few constants when it comes to SEO. Towards the end of 2023, there were literally large scale core updates that rolled out monthly. These updates are increasingly focused on enhancing user experience and content relevance. Key areas affected by these updates include mobile usability, page experience (incorporating Core Web Vitals), and the relevance of content. To adapt, SEO professionals are shifting towards creating more user-centric content that aligns closely with search intent, rather than simply targeting keywords. If keyword stuffing wasn’t dead yet, I think we can safely say, it’s over.
The role of AI in SEO is becoming more pronounced, especially in keyword research and execution of content creation and optimization. AI tools are enabling marketers to understand nuanced search queries better and tailor their content accordingly. This includes optimizing for long-tail keywords and semantic search, which are also largely important in voice search optimization. We are taking the time to explore adding AI elements to help our SEO Services, but mainly using it in the way to do research and topic expansion, rather than actually writing copy, because that still needs a very human touch, especially to keep brand voice and tone in place and balanced with SEO.
AI, especially ChatGPT, is increasingly being used for generating initial drafts for various types of content, such as blog posts, social media updates, and even technical writing. At a minimum, using ChatGPT to do content research, building out of bullets, creating a framework, etc. It’s making the day-to-day creation of content much more efficient than ever before. Whether the content overall is quality content, will be to be determined at a later date. The truth is, this is all going to depend on the ability of the content creators to prompt AI and brief content well.
Bottom line, I think if you sucked at creating content before, AI is not going to make you better.
What it will do is help you get content created quicker by making the research process way more efficient. Instead of searching through a bunch of articles or websites, ask and you shall receive.
AI-generated content often requires human editing to add nuance and brand-specific tone, it significantly reduces the time and effort involved in creating initial drafts.
Google Ads: Performance Max and Beyond.
Google Ads continues to introduce new features that are changing how campaigns are run. For instance, the integration of machine learning for better targeting and bid adjustments is a significant trend. Features like responsive search ads and automated bidding strategies are being used to enhance ad performance. But the most important thing is Google has been heavily pushing advertisers towards Performance Max, even if the reactions that I’ve had with fellow marketers is 50/50 on the efficacy of moving all campaigns over. Managing Google Ads will require a bit more testing and tweaking, and quite frankly, trying new strategies especially as SGE starts becoming more and more prevalent.
There’s a growing emphasis on more refined and sophisticated audience targeting options. Google Ads is providing advertisers with more tools to reach specific segments of their audience based on online behavior, interests, and search activities.
Local search ads are gaining importance, with Google providing more advanced features to target local audiences effectively. This is particularly relevant for businesses looking to drive in-store traffic.
More interestingly for me, Google’s largely bold move of trying to move away from cookies. Apparently, starting in Q1 2024, Google will start a limited test that will restrict cookies for 1% of the people who use its Chrome browser with the goal of going completely cookie-less by Q4, according to WSJ. This means marketers will absolutely need to adapt their strategies to rely less on personal data and more on contextual targeting and intent signals.
The truth is though, marketers and advertisers are largely, not ready, for a cookie-less internet and the tooling and tracking is just not there. This will be fun to watch.
Social Ads: Innovations on Platforms like Facebook and Instagram
Social media platforms are constantly evolving, and 2024 is no exception. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, are introducing more sophisticated AI-driven tools for ad targeting and performance analysis.
Omnichannel marketing and advertising across platforms like Meta Ads, as well as testing across TikTok, Snap, and Pinterest are becoming more apparent, advertisers are looking to diversify and find new channels as Meta becomes more and more expensive as a channel.
Speaking of Omnichannel, the ever evolving debate and theories around attribution are still there as advertisers try to understand the effectiveness of Meta Ads and how it is driving discovery and Brand Awareness.
Of course, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a crucial role in revolutionizing targeting and personalization in social advertising. By analyzing data across platforms, AI helps in creating highly personalized ad experiences for different user segments. This includes predicting user behavior, customizing ad content based on individual preferences, and even optimizing the timing and placement of ads. As a result, ads are more relevant, engaging, and effective, leading to higher conversion rates and ROI. We will see how this plays out over the year but I think we will find that the targeting and custom audience tools will become more personalized and effective.
These platforms are leveraging user data to create highly personalized ad experiences. The rise of interactive and immersive ad formats is changing how brands engage with audiences. The use of such formats varies across platforms, tailored to leverage the unique strengths and user base of each.
The use of ephemeral content, such as Stories, for advertising has been on the rise over the last few years. And, these formats offer a more authentic and engaging way to connect with audiences, especially younger demographics. Leveraging stories can provide an alternative path to communicate, share promotions, provide product details and context with audiences and potential customers. Additionally, social commerce features are being integrated, allowing for seamless in-app shopping experiences.
The Growing Importance of Video Advertising
Video Ad formats have been a bullet in the “what’s new this year” list for the last few years (maybe even 5), but its importance continues to grow in 2024. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are enhancing their video ad offerings, with features like shoppable ads and enhanced targeting options based on video engagement. The rise of short-form video content, especially on platforms like TikTok, is also influencing how brands approach video advertising. Creating shorter form videos and even more user generated and more authentic video. And, on the other side, there are even brands now launching longer format videos to get into the nitty gritty of products and services and give customers more details and new perspectives.
Data-Driven Marketing and Privacy Compliance
With the increased focus on privacy and data protection (such as GDPR and CCPA), marketers in 2024 are finding new ways to collect and utilize data in a compliant manner. The use of first-party data, along with AI-driven predictive analytics, is becoming more crucial for understanding customer behaviors and preferences without breaching privacy norms.
In conclusion, the digital marketing landscape in 2024 is characterized by a greater reliance on AI and machine learning, an emphasis on user experience and privacy, and the innovative use of new ad formats and channels. Marketers need to be more aware of these trends and, to be quite honest, adapt their strategies to leverage these advancements effectively and efficiently. Brands can’t spend months thinking about adapting, they need to do it quickly. These trends not only create new opportunities but also pose challenges in terms of keeping up with the rapid pace of technological changes and evolving consumer expectations.
Simply put, you need to bring your digital marketing up to speed in 2024 or you might churn out audiences and engagement. On the flip side, if you can adapt quickly, you might be able to find more audiences and acquire more customers quicker, more efficiently, and more effectively, which sounds pretty good to me!
Are you in need of a team to help with your growth through performance marketing? Let our team at Visible Factors help you, get in touch and we’ll guide you to finding the growth you deserve!