Marketers need to view changes in the industry as opportunities for growth and innovation rather than challenges.

We must remain agile, willing to adapt, and eager to test new avenues in our industry. This agility now includes exploring all things AI—including AI-driven personalisation—and learning more about first-party data and the dominance of video marketing. An always-on approach to learning and innovation will be pivotal in staying ahead in the competitive digital realm.

As we bid farewell to 2023 and usher in 2024, we’re taking stock of this profound evolution in digital marketing. Let’s examine the new tools, platforms, and techniques that have emerged this year and look ahead at what’s to come.

Key Insights from 2023 So Far

Personalisation Is Key

Consumers expect tailored experiences, which has made personalisation crucial to effective digital marketing services and strategies for 2023. Recent stats revealed that 73% of consumers expect brands to recognise their needs and preferences and deliver personalised experiences. Changes in consumer expectations highlight the limitations of a broad, generic approach. Companies should leverage data and behavioural insights to pinpoint what their consumers want (and when), allowing them to offer specific and timely marketing experiences.

Furthermore, beyond just meeting expectations, data-driven personalisation can allow brands to greatly enhance their marketing efforts, increasing user engagement, sales conversions, and long-term customer retention.

Rise of Video Content

Video content has become the dominant format, shaping how brands interact with consumers.

In 2023, 91% of businesses use video as a marketing tool—an all-time high compared to 61% in 2016. Furthermore, 91% of consumers say they want brands to have more online videos, and 89% of people confirm that watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service.

Need more convincing of the power of video?

Why is it so effective, you ask? The allure of video content, particularly short-form video content, lies in its ability to convey information quickly and engagingly. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube have showcased the potential of short-form video content. Brands have harnessed this format for more significant reach and engagement.

For companies new to video and looking to get a foot in the door, you'll be happy to hear that it doesn't require a huge budget to get started! With technological advancements and AI, video creation is also becoming easier, even with smartphones!

Influencer Marketing Continues its Ascent

Capitalising on Influencer Authenticity: Brands are increasingly turning to influencers to establish authentic connections with their target audience. A recent survey found that over 25% of marketers utilise influencer marketing. This surge in influencer engagement has led to a significant escalation in ad spending, projected to reach US$42.35 million in 2023 and soar to an estimated US$60.60 million by 2027.

That said, the influencer landscape is not without its pitfalls. Marketers must exercise due diligence to avoid collaborating with 'parasitic' influencers offering little to no value. In this context, Content Creator Influencers, especially those active on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, often provide more substantial engagement and value than those who only post pictures on Instagram.

SEO Remains a Foundation

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is more than just ensuring visibility; it's about delivering the right content to the right audience. With growing competition in the digital realm, SEO has been instrumental in driving organic traffic. 
While some debate the ongoing relevance of SEO, it's clear that this strategy isn't going away. SEO will adapt to meet new demands as the digital realm focuses further on user experience. Some predict that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will take on a larger role, or that high-quality content (optimised for keyword relevance) will remain highly important, or that the emphasis on Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) will grow. Additionally, voice search optimisation will likely increase, as will the importance of businesses optimising for local SEO.

Ethical Data Handling

Ethical data handling has become more than just a necessity amid rampant data breaches and privacy concerns; it's a commitment brands make to their consumers. Practices such as transparent data collection, giving users control over their data and ensuring robust cybersecurity measures are just a few ways brands have prioritised ethical data practices.

Projecting Trends for 2024

The Future is AI-Driven

We're encouraging marketers to get on top of AI skills sooner rather than later, as artificial Intelligence (AI) will likely become a cornerstone in digital marketing strategies for 2024. From content creation to customer service, AI's growing sophistication will transform how brands engage with their audiences:

  • AI and Content Creation: AI will streamline content creation, enabling brands to deliver personalised, high-quality content more efficiently.
  • AI in SEO: AI algorithms will become crucial in enhancing SEO strategies, aiding in keyword analysis, content optimisation, and predictive analytics to improve organic traffic.
  • Chatbots and Customer Service: Advanced AI-driven chatbots are on the rise, providing personalised and efficient customer service, from handling queries to managing bookings and upselling products.
  • AI in Data Analysis: Enhanced AI algorithms are revolutionising data analysis, allowing brands to make more accurate and actionable insights for optimising their marketing strategies.

By adopting these AI-driven trends, digital marketers can stay ahead of the curve, ensuring their campaigns are effective and innovative.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR technology advancements will revolutionise how brands engage with their consumers. These immersive technologies provide unique, interactive, and memorable user experiences. From virtual try-ons in fashion retail to interactive 3D advertisements, integrating AR/VR in digital marketing campaigns will offer brands a competitive edge and a more engaging way to connect with their audience.

However, there is much debate about when immersive technologies will become mainstream. While there are glimpses of potential, several hurdles—economic, technical, and even behavioural—stand in the way of AR and VR becoming mainstream technologies by 2024. Some predict that true AR will not materialise until 2030 at the earliest.

Consolidation of Marketing Tech

The digital landscape is teeming with tools, platforms, and solutions for businesses, making consolidating tech stacks increasingly important for businesses. Utilising comprehensive platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, or Zoho CRM enables companies to bring various marketing functions under one roof. 

These platforms improve operational efficiency and facilitate the creation of more coherent and integrated marketing strategies. Whether through targeted email campaigns offered by Salesforce or affordable solutions like Zoho CRM, businesses have multiple avenues to ensure streamlined marketing processes and remain resilient and effective.

Final Thoughts?

As we transition into 2024, embrace the dynamic nature of digital marketing. By understanding the takeaways from 2023 and projecting the trends for the next year, marketers can ensure they're not just keeping up but staying ahead of the curve.

Source: Pure SEO, 31 October 2023