By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Communications & Content Director on Dec 15, 2023
With 2024 almost upon us, it’s time to review projections for marketing trends to expect in the coming year. The adoption of a variety of digital technology continues to accelerate. At the same time, customers increasingly expect more of companies every year. These factors have a big influence on the marketing trends for 2024. Some of these trends began in prior years, but are expected to continue and grow stronger.
You have heard a lot about AI this past year as more and more people use Chat GPT to answer questions in a manner that mimics humans. They use it to write content, to program, to generate ideas, to create digital art and more. Chat GPT is far from the first AI platform out there, but a lot of its success can be credited to it being trained on an immense amount of data. This has enabled ChatGPT to learn human speech patterns and relationships between words to a level that exceeds what has come before.
These days, AI touches most of us every day without us even realizing it. Its uses go far beyond contact creation and answering user questions, and certainly AI will be one off the top marketing trends for 2024.
A key way that AI and machine learning helps businesses is that it can slice and dice content and audience preferences in the blink of an eye, determining which content to deliver to which audience for maximum effect. For example, Netflix uses AI to create hundreds and hundreds of audience segments in order to entice people with their preferences. Marketers have no doubt noticed that more and more marketing tools use AI. Expect to see that to continue in 2024. We discussed some of these AI marketing tools earlier this year in our blog post 11 AI Marketing Programs, Platforms and Tools for Your Small Business.
It’s not going to be long before we never see content that doesn’t interest us as more and more platforms adopt AI and machine learning to segment and serve audiences.
Conversational marketing is going to increasingly drive customers interactions in 2024. Customers don’t want to wait around for your business to respond to their queries. With AI Chatbots, they don’t have to. They can get their answers in real time. If your marketing customers are not using AI Chatbots by now to interact with their customers, this is the year you will want to get them on board.
Businesses that rely on AI Chatbots are at a huge advantage over those who make their customers call in only during limited customer service hours. And let’s face it. AI Chatbots are a whole lot cheaper than human help. So, the trend is to start with AI Chatbots and only escalate to human customer service reps if necessary.
AI chatbots can answer basic questions, but they can also guide customers to the best choices for them. Today, customers can even make purchases while conversing with chatbots. Rather than being an impersonal experience, using AI chatbots enables many businesses to give customers a level of instant personalization than they could not provide otherwise.
Sure, you are probably already using video marketing. But it will become increasingly dominant as short form video on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram (Reels) and YouTube (YouTube Shorts) continue to capture attention. Companies who never thought they would market on TikTok and Instagram are now regularly posting video on these and similar platforms.
Let’s face it, audiences today have shorter attention spans than ever before. Yet digital content from all kinds of sources vie for your audience’s attention. Short term video can get their attention. Companies are using short term video for storytelling in all kinds of situations from ads to customer testimonials.
A key secret to successful short form video is to remember that one size does not fit all. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok promote videos that use music and effects that are currently trending on their own platform. You need to understand each platform and tap into its trends.
Livestream shopping combines live video streaming making products for sale during the livestream in real time. Your company can also communicate with the audience during the livestream. It’s entertaining and engaging, and it promotes community among all who participate.
Amazon, TikTok, Shopify, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (among others) all provide livestream shopping options. Expect livestream shopping to be more in the forefront in 2024.
People are using voice search more every year, and its use will continue to significantly increase making it one of the marketing trends for 2024. Voice search users were at around 125.2 million in 2023, an increase from the 123.5 users in 2022. More than 50% of adults use voice search on a daily basis. This is only going to increase. Voice-activated devices such as Alexis and Echo are becoming increasingly popular, and pretty much everyone has some kind of voice assistant or voice speaker these days.
This means that 2024 is the year to check that all your marketing clients optimize for voice search. Voice search tends to be more conversational than typed searches, and both content and keywords need to reflect this. Voice search is particularly popular for local searches, so optimizing for local search will also help client’s voice search results.
Businesses that do not optimize for voice search are certainly losing a lot of business. Beyond customers not finding their business in search, they are missing opportunities to enable customers to order online through voice search and place orders for in-store pickups.
Virtual reality and augmented reality have been around for a while now, but they are going to become ubiquitous thanks to recent advancements. They are the closest thing to an in-person experience. Seeing how products work by interacting with them virtually or witnessing how they fit into your own environment through AR are going to become standard practice before making major purchases.
Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment, completely replacing the real world with a simulated one. Sometimes users experience this with a VR headset. For example, you as a marketer can take customers on an immersive virtual reality showroom tour where they can interact with products.
Augmented Reality (AR) on the other hand, enhances the real world by overlaying digital information or images onto it, blending real-world and digital elements. Users access with AR with different types of devices including smartphones or AR glasses. consider that Ikea has an AR app that enables you to see how true-to-scale furniture and other objects will look and fit into your own home or office. Will this couch overly dominate my living room? Will that coffee maker clash with my kitchen? “See” the product in your own space and decide for yourself.
To sum up, while VR creates an entirely virtual experience, AR adds to the existing reality without replacing it.
The popularity of interactive content has steadily increased, and it will become even more important in the next year, making it one of the marketing trends for 2024. Interactivity grabs customer attention and gives them a more personalized experience.
This surge in interactive content such as quizzes, polls, and augmented reality experiences, is driven by advancements in technology that make it easier to create and distribute. It’s not just about keeping the audience entertained; interactive content provides valuable insights through data collection, enhancing marketing strategies and customer understanding.
Interactive features such as stories and live streaming are becoming common, making interactivity an effective tool for businesses to stand out in a crowded digital space. With its high engagement and conversion rates, it’s clear why more companies are turning to interactive content to connect with their audiences.
Marketers can use interactive content in a variety of channels including social media, website, blog posts, email campaigns, AR and VR, webinars, mobile apps, online advertising and interactive digital kiosks in public spaces.
We have been personalizing content for customers for quite some time now, but in 2024, personalization going to sky rocket even more. As AI, machine learning and big data technology have become more sophisticated, marketers have been able to analyze data in real time from many channels including social media and websites.
This is a win/win for business and customer alike as customers are served ads and content that interest them. Of course, hyper-personalization also increases sales.
The year 2024 is poised to be a landmark year in marketing, characterized by technological innovation and a deeper understanding of consumer preferences. By embracing these trends, marketers can create more effective, engaging and responsible campaigns that resonate with the modern consumer.
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