20 Crucial Digital Marketing Trends to Watch Out for
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying ahead means monitoring emerging trends. We’ve gathered eighteen insights from founders, CEOs, and other marketing experts, ranging from leveraging content for video to optimizing for image searches, to guide you through the crucial digital marketing trends of today.
- Leveraging Existing Content for Video
- Voice Search’s Rising Dominance
- Using Predictive Personalization Through AI
- Navigating Ethical Marketing Carefully
- Capitalizing on Micro-Moments
- Prioritizing First-Party Data Collection
- Exploring In-Game Marketing Opportunities
- Cultivating Empathetic Marketing Strategies
- Focusing on Helpful Content Creation
- Enhancing Data Protection and Ethics
- Adopting Agile Micro-Pivoting
- Personalizing Automated Email Campaigns
- Investing in Micro-Influencer Partnerships
- Embracing AI-Driven Conversational Marketing
- Including Sustainability in Ethical Marketing
- Adapting to Privacy-Centric Marketing
- Offering Valuable Online Tools
- Adjusting to Post-Pandemic Consumer Shifts
- Optimizing for Image Searches
Leveraging Existing Content for Video
A critical digital marketing trend to watch is video—not heavily produced, TV-commercial-level video, but everyday videos that repurpose content you’ve already created.
Many companies are sitting on a treasure trove of written content that can be easily turned into a video and republished on multiple platforms, including TikTok and YouTube. Or, if you have video, consider taking snippets of those longer videos and turning them into shorter segments for TikTok or YouTube Shorts.
New content isn’t always the answer—instead, look at what you have created already and determine what else you can do with that content.
Voice Search’s Rising Dominance
The one digital marketing trend to watch out for is the rise of voice search.
Voice search is exploding, and every year it becomes more and more popular. Google has reported that over 5 billion voice searches have been done on Android devices alone.
As voice search becomes more common, it will begin to affect the way we conduct our business. The way we optimize websites for SEO will need to be adjusted, as well as what we include in our content marketing campaigns.
The best thing you can do right now is to start planning for a future where people are using their phones instead of typing things into Google Search on a computer screen!
Using Predictive Personalization Through AI
The emergence of AI is obviously a crucial trend, but as AI evolves, look out for “predictive personalization” being used in digital marketing.
Beyond just understanding current consumer behavior, AI is now being used to accurately predict future consumer actions. This means businesses can anticipate the needs of their customers and tailor their marketing efforts before the consumer actively expresses interest in their product or service.
This will not just be about reacting to trends, but about proactively setting them by understanding and meeting consumer needs ahead of time.
Navigating Ethical Marketing Carefully
While social responsibility and values are critical for a brand to communicate, it’s also critical to “feel” the fine line and keep a balance in brand communication on those topics. Today’s users, too vulnerable about social injustices, are often overreacting to a brand’s position on controversial issues.
In plain English, no matter what you write, it’s still going to hurt someone’s feelings and can lead to brand hating or canceling. The point I’m trying to bring home is this: know your audience and agenda inside out; have a clear brand mission and vision; and communicate your ethical marketing messages wisely.
Capitalizing on Micro-Moments
Micro-moments are a shift in consumer behavior towards instant gratification, and they meet this need by providing short, fleeting instances when a consumer turns to their device promptly to act on a certain need, such as to discover, learn, buy, or watch something. Recent Google research indicates that searches with the words “near me” have increased by 500% on mobile phones, which is an indicator of the power micro-moments hold.
These moments are game-changers because they allow brands to be where the customers are at the time of need. This will reshape how brands strategize their online presence in an attempt to understand and predict these moments. Brands are increasingly capitalizing on these micro-moments to capture the attention of their audience when their interest is at its peak, making it a powerful tool in digital marketing.
Prioritizing First-Party Data Collection
First-party data will continue to dominate during 2024, as online privacy concerns persist. This will remain at the forefront of both consumer and advertiser minds throughout the year, with first-party data collection being a priority.
AI and automation will continue to evolve in 2024, with the sunsetting of Google Chrome cookies still on track for the fourth quarter of 2024. This means advertisers will need to adapt and work together with AI and automation to ensure continued success.
Google began to phase out similar audiences in the spring of 2023, because of new data privacy regulations and the eventual removal of third-party cookies. This is another reason for advertisers to shift their focus toward first-party data during 2024.
Exploring In-Game Marketing Opportunities
The evolution of in-game product placements and smart integrations is noteworthy. For example, Blizzard Entertainment is already actively hiring a person who will be seeking collaborations with major consumer brands for product placement and licensing.
This strategy is a goldmine for marketers. All it takes is aligning your product with a game that resonates with your target audience and devising a memorable integration. It’s a cost-effective approach compared to traditional advertising, and if the game turns into a hit, the return on investment can be staggering.
This realm of marketing is still relatively untapped, making it a “blue ocean” with vast opportunities for innovative brands looking to make a significant impact.
Cultivating Empathetic Marketing Strategies
Empathetic marketing is a digital trend I see continuing to snowball over the coming years. It goes beyond traditional personalized marketing and involves understanding and addressing customers’ emotional needs and values.
I noticed a shift in focus toward creating marketing content that resonates with the audience’s current life challenges; this was highlighted during the pandemic with a focus on people’s mental health. Campaigns of this nature see a significant increase in customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Empathetic marketing requires a shift from data-driven strategies to a more human-centric approach, where understanding and responding to the emotional state of your audience is critical. This trend is not just about selling a product or service; it’s about building a lasting relationship with your audience.
Focusing on Helpful Content Creation
As AI content floods the internet, truly helpful content, including interactive solutions, is shaping the future of digital marketing. “Helpful Content” is the name of a Google algorithm update from August 2022.
When first launched, its impact was negligible. Because of a series of ongoing updates, its importance as a ranking factor is steadily increasing. For B2B sites, blogs, interactive content, and commercial content intertwined with informative text are dominating the search results.
For e-commerce sites, visitors expect to quickly home in on the best product for them. Meeting these expectations is crucial for achieving a sale. To stay ahead of the competition, consider what helpful content best addresses your customer’s needs. This might include advanced search forms, interactive infographics, or videos. Your content should assist in assessing your customer’s stage in the sales funnel and direct them to the best solution.
Adopting Agile Micro-Pivoting
As the digital marketing landscape becomes ever-changing, micro-pivoting will become an important trend. Living in what I call the “never normal”—a world of constant change and uncertainty—has really pushed us marketers to be more agile than ever. We’re in an era where reacting fast to changes like economic shifts, new customer needs, and changing budgets is key.
Agility and being able to pivot quickly might already be something we do, but now, we need to be even more adaptable. Long-term planning is out; instead, we need to focus on making small, frequent adjustments—these micro-pivots. We’ve got to keep our eyes on our ultimate goals but be ready to zigzag our way there, rather than following a straight path.
This approach means sometimes changing our strategy week by week, based on what’s happening right now, what our customers are saying, and just plain common sense. We don’t always have the time to analyze everything in depth.
Take Airbnb in France, for instance—they quickly changed their marketing earlier this year to focus on their unique selling points amid the rising cost of living. By embracing this “never normal” with quick, smart changes, we ensure that in 2024, we’re actively participating in the conversation as it happens, not just trying to catch up.
Personalizing Automated Email Campaigns
Automated email marketing involves sending emails to customers based on pre-established schedules or triggers. Email marketing has traditionally been the most reliable digital marketing channel. Promotional emails inform consumers about upcoming deals or company milestones.
However, due to the excessive use of bulk email tactics, most customers no longer respond to promotional emails. Personalized emails can help regain consumer attention and develop a more active customer base.
Investing in Micro-Influencer Partnerships
Micro-influencer marketing, the practice of working with niche social media personalities as brand representatives, is an underrated trend that brands should observe. As a digital marketer, I see micro-influencers as providing authentic yet cost-efficient alternatives to celebrity endorsements. Their loyal, focused followings foster real engagement and trust—for instance, skincare brands might work with makeup vloggers, while food companies partner with mom recipe bloggers; such partnerships produce higher sales than celebrity endorsement deals.
Future trends predict that micro-influencer marketing will continue to become more popular as brands appreciate its authenticity and return on investment (ROI). Offering celebrity-level results at fractional costs, micro-influencers’ niche authority makes them attractive to fans. Targeting specific communities via micro-influencers’ personal touch provides authentic promotion that users trust and engage with.
Embracing AI-Driven Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing is powered largely by AI-driven touchpoints. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants took massive steps forward in 2023 and are poised to take even more giant strides in 2024.
At this point, wait times for support or chat with your organization are no longer acceptable if you want to stay competitive—using AI to engage consumers in real time to answer questions and guide purchasing decisions will be the name of the game going forward. This will not invalidate the need for people manning support systems; far from it, but it will shift the focus of the work they do, as there will be less and less need for tier-one support.
Including Sustainability in Ethical Marketing
The increasing focus on sustainability and ethical marketing is evident. If you’re plugged into the industry, this should come as no surprise, as more and more spaces (both physical and digital) are pushing for more ethical practices in marketing. This takes the form of everything from ad-free city centers in parts of Europe to increasingly stringent consent forms for data processing required in more and more places.
Beyond that, however, we’re seeing a shift as Gen Z consumers take center stage and make the point that to them, the values of your company are just as important as the value you provide to them.
Adapting to Privacy-Centric Marketing
Next year is shaping up to be one of privacy-centric marketing practices. We’re seeing it everywhere at the moment, such as Facebook being forced to send its EU members a message asking them to continue to have their data sold to advertisers or to pay the equivalent monthly cost to continue using their services.
Obtaining explicit consent from customers before collecting their data is going to become more and more important in the current shifting regulatory landscape, so planning on giving your customers more control over how their data is gathered and used now is a good way to get ahead of the curve.
Offering Valuable Online Tools
Offering value through tangential online tools is key to recognizing that your audience has goals beyond your primary product. By providing free tools that help them achieve these goals, you create an entry point to your main offering. For instance, in the travel niche, creating interactive itinerary-building tools is a great example. These tools allow travelers to build and customize their itineraries easily.
This not only enhances their planning experience but also builds trust in your brand. Once users see the value in these free tools, they are more likely to explore and purchase your primary travel products. This strategy seamlessly transitions from assistance to increased sales, making it a powerful tool in digital marketing.
Adjusting to Post-Pandemic Consumer Shifts
The post-pandemic landscape has led to shifts in consumer behavior, which means businesses need to be able to make appropriate adjustments. Digital marketing strategies may need to adapt to changes in online shopping patterns, remote work trends, and evolving customer preferences.
This means adjusting the timing of campaigns, creating content tailored to remote workers, and exploring new channels for engagement. I also find that local businesses have gained importance during the pandemic, as consumers show a preference for supporting local economies. Businesses are emphasizing local SEO, community engagement, and partnerships with local influencers to build a strong presence in their immediate surroundings.
Optimizing for Image Searches
When it comes to digital marketing, text searches aren’t the only thing to optimize your website for. There are billions of reverse image searches every month, plus voice assistant searches.
We are already taking steps to ensure that if someone does a reverse image search on our products, they come to our website. In addition, we are tracking our optimization for Siri searches. Digital marketing evolves every day. We’re all just constantly playing catch-up. Stay adaptable.
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