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One thing you can always count on with the digital marketing landscape is that it constantly changes… and moves fast! 
One prime example is the amazing rise in artificial intelligence (AI) that we’ve seen during 2023. This phenomenon will continue to evolve and impact all areas of marketing in 2024. 
Marketing also changes due to consumer behavior and the external environment. While global growth is set to be modest and inflation is likely to cool, according to the OECD, consumers will still be cost-conscious. Also, most people are likely to seek out brands that show they are doing something for the good of society, and not just their bottom line.  
There’s a lot to do to succeed in 2024, but if you know the trends coming down the line, it’s easier to plan, strategize, and get ahead of the competition. 

In this article, we’ll explore the digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2024 as we’ve learned from some of our global experts at the Digital Marketing Institute: 

1. In social media, we explore the rise of Instagram Threads, why you should take LinkedIn seriously, and how AI is going to play more of a part in social media platforms.
2. AI’s use in marketing examines the marketer’s role in driving strategy, the self-learning nature of the technology, the need for new skills, and the importance of co-creation.  
3. SEO trends are focused on us preparing for Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), with an emphasis on valuable and shareable content, EEAT, and the value of user experience.  
4. In PPC, Google Ads urges us to look at AI as an assistant and to avoid pressure from Google reps to change campaigns. 
5. In digital marketing strategy, you’ll hear about the increased importance of data privacy and sustainability. 
6. When it comes to digital marketing careers, 2024 will be an employers’ market, and while AI won’t take your job, someone with AI skills will. 

1. Social Media Trends

It’s going to be another interesting year for social media! In 2024, social media platforms will continue to battle for consumers’ attention and they’ll need to re-examine the way success is measured. 
There may also be a shift in dominance as the continuous drama with X (formerly Twitter) leaves room for new platforms like Instagram Threads and Bluesky to rise in popularity, while other networks have the potential to gain new ground for organic traffic.
Threads is on the rise
Meta launched Threads in July 2023 and now claims to have 100 million monthly users, a number which will no doubt rise as it finally went live last week in the European Union. A rival and alternative to X, Threads is used primarily for sharing text updates and joining public conversations. 

Expert tip: At a minimum, brands should have a presence on Threads, even if it’s just grabbing a username because user numbers will increase in 2024. Do your research. Have a look and see how other brands are using it, such as Canva, TedTalks, and Channel 4. This is the time to experiment with the platform.
 Screenshot of Threads interface

“Recently there’s been a resurgence in Threads engagement,” says Alison Battisby, of Avocado Social in our webinar. “I think a lot of people are coming to establish their profiles on the platform, ready for next year. What we're seeing many brands do is have a lot of fun through conversations by asking questions or posing discussions."
Expert tip: Don’t spend too much effort on using Threads to direct traffic to a website. That's not its purpose. It’s about in-platform conversations and discussions that people can get involved in on the platform. The brands seeing success  - Canva, TedTalks, and Channel 4 - are asking questions, and posing discussions. That’s what the users of Threads want right now.

Retention rate is the new engagement rate

In recent years, marketers have seen the engagement rate on organic social media activity decline. While there are many reasons for this – content quality, time of day, device – people may shift away from engagement to focus on retention in 2024.  
“People will be reporting much more on retention rate than ever before. And with attention being the world's most valuable commodity, users are presented with more choice than ever before,” says Battisby. 
To combat this, brands have been creating fantastic social media campaigns built around entertaining, educating, and informing audiences. The key is to drive engagement by being playful and creative.
Battisby believes that social media platforms are looking to enable this by testing longer-form videos – for example, TikTok will introduce 15-minute-long uploads – and focusing more on how brands not only engage their audiences but retain viewers. Check out this viral ten-minute example from Hilton Hotels with socialite Paris Hilton. 

Expert tip: TikTok has a new analytics option for Reels, where you can look at your audience retention rates, watch time, and content replay.

LinkedIn organic reach dominates

LinkedIn has just hit a billion members worldwide. That’s a long way from the days when it was just a place to upload your resumé and look for a job! 

In 2024, Battisby expects to see a huge rise in organic engagement on LinkedIn – a rarity on social channels right now. 

“People are updating their LinkedIn profiles, not just about work topics either – general life skills, advice, support, mental health issues, tips and leadership.”

Expert tip: There’s a lot of engagement happening between creators on LinkedIn. You can switch to ‘Creator Mode’ on a personal profile, which enhances your profile and gives you access to more tools. For paid media, video ads seem to be driving the most engagement on LinkedIn.

AI is being integrated into social platforms

It’s no surprise that AI is being used by social media marketers to drive productivity. AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney help marketers come up with campaign concept ideas and social post ideas, and help with copy generation and text-to-image generation. 
In parallel to this, social media platforms are integrating AI into their platforms. For example: 
TikTok enables you to customize your feed based on AI.
Instagram is experimenting with AI-generated stickers.
LinkedIn is offering premium users AI features such as AI-powered profile writing assistance and ‘Top Choice Jobs’ signals.
YouTube is experimenting with Dream Track for Shorts and Music AI tools.
But you need to be aware that using AI has risks, including privacy and ethical violations. Consider your audience's attitudes toward AI. What do they feel about it? Do they like to see this kind of content? Or do they not like it?
“If you generate something using AI, are you going to own up to it and label it as being created by AI?” asks Battisby. “I think this will become regulation eventually.”

Expert tip: Keep an eye out for new features on each of the social platforms and watch how other brands use them to good effect.
(To be continued)


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Tranining Program

DMI PRO is the best training program in Digital Marketing
with DMI’s Global Standards in Digital Marketing Training. This program
will transform Marketers into Global Digital Marketers, and
develop a new generation of Marketers for the Digital Age

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