As we step into 2024, Austin Williams is looking at the road ahead – identifying key trends and opportunities we’re keeping our eyes on. From AI-driven innovations to shifts in media planning, content marketing, and digital strategy, our team is sharing marketing predictions and insights to help your brand stay ahead of the competition.
AI Will Revolutionize Google Search
Alex Zieniewicz, Senior SEO Strategist: The launch of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) marks a transformative shift in search behavior and will change how people search daily. It signifies a trend toward a more interactive, user-centric search experience. We expect it will profoundly impact the search engine results page (SERP), and seeing how consumers interact with it over time will be exciting.
Shift from Macro to Micro-Influencers
Andrew Catalano, Managing Partner: While macro-influencers with a large following will still have their place in influencer marketing, brands are increasingly recognizing the value of micro-influencers. Micro-influencers typically have a smaller, more niche audience but often have higher engagement rates and a more authentic connection with their followers.
In 2024, we anticipate a pronounced shift toward partnerships with niche and local influencers with deeper connections to specific communities and markets. This allows for hyper-targeted campaigns, which can be especially effective for businesses with regional or niche customer bases.
Creativity and Efficiency with AI in Design
Ashley Rose, Production Artist: In the year ahead, AI will continue to blend real-life human creativity with technological efficiency to revolutionize the way we conceptualize and produce visual content.
Initially, I was skeptical about its ability to make a beautiful image. However, my experience revealed that AI doesn’t replace my designs. Instead, it enhances the design process, assisting with conceptual brainstorming, streamlining tasks like background extension, and bringing storyboards to life.
The Evolution of CTV & DOOH
Erica Brown, Vice President, Integrated Media Services: We expect to see a shift in ad spend toward connected TV (CTV) and digital out-of-home (DOOH). With the emergence of new technologies and capabilities in these formats, brands can create more personalized, engaging ad content.
With DOOH, the challenge is the availability of placements in the regional areas where our clients advertise. More sophisticated placements reign supreme in urban areas, and we’re eagerly waiting for these new opportunities to trickle into the suburban and rural areas many of our clients target.
Data-Driven Marketing That Goes Beyond Generational Labels
Eva LaMere, President: Generational research will continue to fade, ultimately becoming obsolete. The typical gap of 15–20 years between the members of a generational moniker is too vast for any real commonality of experience and, therefore, significant insights.
In 2023, the Pew Research Center acknowledged the faults of generational research and the Center’s role in conducting it over the years – announcing it would modify or limit its use moving forward. As an agency, we agree that generational research has become crowded with “clickbait” and marketing mythology. Further, these labels perpetuate bias and stereotyping.
Instead, the future lies in data-driven segmentation and first-party data, such as behavioral characteristics, purchase history, online behavior, geographic location, and more; this allows for more precise targeting and personalized campaigns.
“Ageless” Social Media Marketing
Jenny Klaum, Account Executive: Brands’ social media strategies will need to broaden their reach beyond traditionally younger demographics. Brands will begin leveraging contextual marketing techniques like social listening to create effective, agile strategies that better resonate with their audiences. In ad-saturated social platforms, only highly targeted, relevant ads that deliver real value or align with users’ active interests will capture the attention of the discerning consumer.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing in Education, Healthcare, and Finance
Kate McAllister, Account Executive: While widely adopted by fashion, beauty, travel, and luxury brands, influencer marketing is poised to expand into higher education, healthcare, and financial services – especially with the anticipated shift toward micro-influencers, as Andrew noted.
With 69% of consumers trusting the recommendations they get from influencers, their reach presents significant opportunities for every brand. Those ready to incorporate influencer partnerships into their marketing strategy will see a boost in their brand’s image and credibility and reach new audiences.
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AI + Web Development = Automated Customer Interactions
Kevin Hand, Web Development Manager: As AI becomes more integrated with our daily lives, brands will increasingly seek AI integration for their websites. We’ll see an AI boom, similar to the dot-com boom. It’ll be crucial to balance demand with realistic expectations. Still, partial automation with AI Chat Agents, like our proprietary Austin AI, can deliver significant value, enhancing user experiences and decreasing customer support costs.
Messaging Guidelines: The Differentiator in a Sea of AI Content
Kim Plummer, Content Director: AI-generated content is bound to flood the market in 2024. Brands that invest in developing strategic messaging guidelines to train AI will be the ones that stand out. A solid set of messaging guidelines should include your brand’s mission and vision, core values, positioning, approved CTAs, and boilerplate messaging, at minimum.
Having them ensures consistency across communications that builds awareness and trust while breaking through the clutter. And if you’re one of the 44% of marketers using AI for content production, guidelines provide a foundation for better prompts and content that more closely aligns with your brand’s identity.
Agile, Organic-Looking Content Will Continue to Dominate
Lindsay Calvo, Account Director: I expect to see organic-looking content skyrocket. While not necessarily new, its dominance is set to continue, with many of our clients switching to this content style and seeing success.
Our approach will need to be agile and focused on quick content development. And that’s the beauty of organic-looking content – its flexibility and speed of production – enabling brands to stay current with news and trends to engage in real-time conversations. We’re excited to guide our clients, even those in more traditional industries, to leverage this approach to build stronger connections with targets.
Long-Form Content Will See a Triumphant Return
Marianne O’Connor, SEO & Content Marketing Specialist: Long-form content will begin to break through the incessant noise of trending audio and short-form content (thanks for that, TikTok). While initially engaging, the short-form content cycle yields diminishing ROI – and if not done correctly, it can negatively impact a brand’s image.
I predict (and certainly hope!) that this trending, “copycat” short-form content will fizzle out with consumers. Even TikTok, the leading platform for short-form content, has increased video length consistently through the years. Hmmm, I wonder why.
GA4: From Bitter UA Farewell to Sweet Success
Nick Gaffney, Director of Digital Strategy: The sunset of Google Universal Analytics (UA) and the resulting proliferation of GA4 have left a sour taste in the mouths of many marketers. That said, one of the reasons marketers oppose GA4 stems from a need for more understanding and preparation.
As marketers grow more accustomed to it, I anticipate they’ll begin to like it and abandon their searches for outside analytics tools. Although Google doesn’t have an excellent track record in responding to user feedback, the pressure from marketers in this instance will ultimately result in enhancements. I expect improved real-time analytics and intuitive conversion tracking sooner rather than later.
Threads: A New Frontier in Social Media Marketing…Maybe
Nitin Varghese, Paid Social Media Strategist: Given the recent controversies surrounding X and Elon Musk, Threads is positioned to emerge as a key player in the market. But first, it needs to update its APIs and enhance the user experience. If it follows through, Threads can establish a solid foundation that attracts advertisers, opening up big opportunities for social media marketing in the year ahead.
There’s Power in Partnerships
Rick Chiorando, Chief Executive Officer: In today’s market, strategic partnerships are a key differentiator – and we’ll continue to see more of them in 2024. Brands that collaborate effectively will outshine those that spend millions to market themselves in a silo. Well-planned brand partnerships can boost engagement and loyalty while saving time and money, proving there’s real strength in numbers.
Looking for a partner to help you navigate the evolving marketing landscape in 2024 and beyond? We can help. Let’s chat.