Overcome 2024’s Digital Marketing Hurdles
Look ahead, stay ahead. That’s the name of the game when it comes to digital strategy and presence. Right? Well, you have to have a plan, too. Especially this year. 2024 has a few big hurdles headed our way, and we’re here to highlight, define, and bypass them. So let’s start lookin.’
The Rise of AI Answers
In recent years (can you believe we can already write YEARS here?), AI technology has been making significant strides, transforming the way we access information. AI answers are on the rise, revolutionizing the search engine results page (SERP) landscape. Instead of delving into websites for answers, users can now find what they need conveniently through AI-powered chat features on platforms like Google and Bing. This fundamental shift in user behavior presents a challenge for businesses, as search volume is expected to experience a decrease in the coming years.
Side note: While some AI-enthusiasts are calling this shift in information gathering the demise of search, we do not subscribe to the hype. Google is certainly here to stay. However, the truth is that Search is changing, generationally: 51% of Gen Z women prefer TikTok to Google, Millennials – the first truly digital generation – are more likely than Baby Boomers to recognize and click on paid search ads, and Chat (already shortened from ChatGPT) is organically verbing in the same sense that Google, Friend, and Like did.
So what do we do?
First off, don’t scrap your SEO plan. Google still powers nearly 90% of web searches worldwide. And don’t blame AI. It’s here to stay, so let’s harness its power. You have an opportunity to adapt and create innovative marketing strategies that leverage AI answers to engage with users in new and exciting ways:
- Content Optimization for AI-powered Platforms: Tailor content to match AI-driven responses. This involves structuring data in a format easily consumed by AI, like FAQs or concise, direct answers to common queries.
- Focus on Niche or Long-Tail Keywords: While overall search volume might decrease, targeting specific, less competitive, or long-tail keywords can still drive traffic from users seeking detailed or specialized information.
- Diversification of Traffic Sources: Explore other channels beyond traditional search engines. Investing in social media, influencer partnerships, or content syndication can diversify traffic sources and reduce reliance solely on search.
- Enhanced User Experience: Emphasize user experience on your website. Even if direct traffic from searches decreases, a seamless, informative, and engaging website can attract users through referrals or brand loyalty.
- Implement an AI-Powered Chat Bot: Yes, of your own. The more helpful you can be on your website, the more likely your user is going to lean on you for information. There are a million reasons why this is a good move, including 24/7 availability, scalability and efficiency, cost-efficiency, first-party data collection, and enhanced engagement – to name a few.
- Focus on Brand and Authority Building: Develop a strong brand presence and authority in your niche. This can attract loyal users who prefer credible sources over generic AI-generated responses.
- Data Analytics and Adaptation: Continuously monitor and analyze data to understand evolving user behaviors. Use this insight to adapt marketing strategies and content approaches accordingly.
By pivoting strategies to accommodate the changing search landscape driven by AI, businesses can maintain visibility and engage with users, despite the shift in how information is accessed.
Cookies are Out. First Party Data is In.
As we forge ahead into the future of marketing, another hurdle awaits: Google’s cookie depreciation. In just a few months (Q2 2024) Google plans to bid farewell to third-party cookies, which have played a crucial role in tracking and targeting audiences. This move poses a challenge for marketers who rely on cookies for personalized advertising campaigns.
So What Do We Do?
We build stronger relationships with customers through enhanced conversions and 1st-party data.
(First party data = data voluntarily provided by your audience to you/your brand. Think: the information they fill in during email signup, chat conversations, email responses, etc.)
- Leverage 1st-Party Data: Encourage users to opt into sharing their preferences and information directly. This data is voluntarily provided and can offer richer insights into customer behavior and preferences.
- Invest in CRM Systems: Strengthen Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to gather and organize 1st-party data effectively. This allows for personalized marketing efforts based on real user interactions and preferences.
- Implement Contextual Targeting: Shift towards contextual targeting, focusing on the content context rather than individual user data. This strategy relies on the context of the website or content being consumed to deliver relevant ads.
- Explore Privacy-Compliant Technologies: Embrace privacy-centric technologies such as federated learning or differential privacy to derive insights while safeguarding user privacy.
- Build Trust and Transparency: Communicate openly with users about data usage and privacy policies. Establishing trust by being transparent about data collection practices can encourage users to share information willingly.
- Diversify Marketing Strategies: Expand beyond reliance on targeted advertising. Explore influencer partnerships, content marketing, or collaborations that resonate with audiences and don’t heavily rely on tracking.
- Focus on Value Exchange: Offer clear value propositions to users in exchange for their data. Whether it’s exclusive content, discounts, or personalized experiences, providing value can incentivize users to share information.
By focusing on collecting valuable data directly from users, businesses can gain deeper insights, personalize experiences, and create more effective marketing campaigns.
Election Ads are Comin’ in Hot
It’s election year. And a big one, in case you haven’t noticed. Political ads are poised to flood the market, crowding the advertising space and driving up CPMs (in online advertising, cost per mille (the amount an advertiser pays a website per one thousand visitors who see its advertisements). According to recent predictions, spending on political ads is set to reach a staggering $15.9 billion during the upcoming election cycle, a 30% increase from 2020. As a result, businesses need to be even more strategic and creative to ensure their campaigns cut through the noise.
So what do we do?
Dig deep into your data to find the best content, best placements, and best times.
- Advanced Targeting and Segmentation: Refine audience targeting by leveraging advanced segmentation. Focus on precise demographics, interests, and behaviors to reach the right audience segments effectively.
- Creative and Relevant Content: Create standout content that resonates with your audience amidst the political ad noise. Unique, compelling, and emotionally resonant messaging can break through the clutter.
- Timing and Ad Placement: Optimize ad placement and scheduling. Identify peak times or alternative platforms where political ads might be less dominant to maximize visibility and engagement.
- Engagement-driven Campaigns: Emphasize interactive and engagement-driven campaigns. Contests, polls, or user-generated content can foster deeper connections and cut through the ad overload.
- Localized Campaigns: Focus on localized targeting and messaging. While national ad spaces might be saturated, local targeting can be less competitive and more relevant to specific audiences.
- Explore Alternative Channels: Diversify beyond traditional ad platforms. Consider podcasts, influencer partnerships, or niche publications where political ad interference might be minimal.
- Focus on Brand Authenticity: Emphasize your brand’s values and authenticity. A genuine brand voice and transparency can differentiate your message from the political rhetoric.
- Measurement and Adaptation: Continuously monitor campaign performance and adjust strategies. Agile responses to evolving market dynamics can help optimize campaigns for better results.
And again, First-party data. If you can get them into your queues, you can get in front of them regularly, at minimal cost.
Remember, marketing is an ever-evolving landscape, and staying ahead requires a blend of industry expertise, forward-thinking creativity, and a willingness to adapt. So, as you set out on your marketing journey in 2024, be bold, be strategic, and tap into the power of innovation (and first-party data!). Keep your finger on the pulse, continuously refine your approach, and never stop pushing the boundaries to make your mark in the dynamic world of marketing.
Should you ever need guidance or support, remember that we’re always here to help you build a strategy that stands out from the crowd. Let’s make marketing not just effective but fun and engaging as well.