Our Take on 2023’s Digital Marketing Trends – and Predictions for 2024
Change happens at warp speed in digital marketing. Even “old reliables” – Google Analytics and WordPress, for example – are constantly updating and evolving. All the while, new MarTech comes at us like…
Luckily, deciding which digital marketing trends to leverage for clients is Hammer Marketing’s calling card. Here’s a look back at what worked this year (spoiler: AI is runner-up in our book, not queen!) and some bold digital marketing predictions for 2024.
Google Analytics 4
For the Hammer Marketing team, 2023 goes down as the Year of the Google Analytics Switch.
On July 1st, Google Analytics moved users from Universal Analytics (UA)—their platform since the Digital Dark Ages, aka 2012—to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). We spent the first half of 2022 prepping clients for this seismic shift. Come July, we put Green Day’s “Good Riddance” on repeat, bid adieu to our frenemy UA, and—like marketers everywhere—dove in.
Our take so far: GA4’s widely-reported glitches are outweighed by its benefits and promise. Its advantages over Universal Analytics – insights into user downloads, top-engaging pages, purchase funnel insights by demographic, and users’ website journeys – can’t be overstated, and shouldn’t be eclipsed by GA4 bugs.
We’ll spend Q1 and Q2 helping clients merge UA data and GA4 before UA data access disappears for good on July 1, 2024.
Bigger picture, we bet anything that GA4 is dramatically improved and de-bugged by this time next year. Google, if you’re reading – our wish list:
- Edit permissions for Explore reports
- Stronger compatibility between certain dimensions and metrics, ie. resolve scope issues
- Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) de-dupe issue fixed
- Free temporary BigQuery storage for UA, and automatic integration. Pro Tip: This could translate to more market share, since BigQuery is Google-owned.
- More predictive analytics, AI-generated Event gathering, heatmapping, AI suggestions for on-page SEO like what’s currently generated by Yoast, and AI-generated content suggestions.
AI and Machine Learning
Headlines make it seem like AI and machine learning dropped out of the sky in late 2022. And while, indeed, 2023 was the year of generative AI widespread adoption, many of Hammer Marketing’s go-to tools (Google Ads, Social Media ad platforms, and programmatic advertising) have used AI technology for years. This positioned our Hammer team to explore AI’s possibilities without a huge learning curve. And so we did – mindfully. Our clients appreciated our willingness to tap AI for efficiency but with restraint. First we test. Then, when it makes sense, we consider more applications.
Expect to see two camps emerge: Unabashed large-language model (LLM) adopters who will point to its time- and cost-savings…and unabashed AI rejectors who are also likely to push for greater governance. Widespread adoption will pull through as winner, but not without some horror stories and hurdles. Think elections are polarizing? Buckle up!
More smart speaker-enabled devices = more buyer journeys kicking off with voice search.
In 2023, the Hammer Marketing Team expanded our knowledge to keep up with evolving trends such as SEO specifically for voice search. Today we routinely optimize conversational content and long-tail keywords in the quest to connect clients’ products with users who are asking related questions of Alexa, Siri, or any smart device.
Statista predicts the number of voice assistants worldwide will hit 8 billion in 2024. With that said, brands looking to optimize voice search still have a window in which to get ahead of the curve. Act fast if you’re not leveraging voice search already, and expect to see a windfall of adoption later this calendar year.
Influencer marketing has been growing steadily for years; 2023 was no exception. Few highs compare to finding a complementary individual with a sizable following, hitching them to a client brand, and witnessing the returns.
We partnered with a small microinfluencer platform to get some user-gnerated content onto Instagram for the holidays. On behalf of one of our clients, we connected with five micro-influencers with a family or food niche, and asked them to review or post about their chocolates.
The Results: Our partnerships enabled organic content to make it to new audiences in our demographic and region, and we were able to place ads using the content and partnership labels within Meta.
Social commerce (using social media to sell) is an aggressive tactic that will reach its peak in the next few years. Live-selling on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok is the future of influencer marketing and where we expect to continue putting our focus for the foreseeable future.
88% of consumers say they’ve purchased a product after seeing it in a video. Video-influenced shopping hit new highs during the COVID quarantine. Not being able to leave the house to shop, coupled with hours in front a screen, opened the door to easily captivated audiences. As they eagerly watch how-to and explainer videos, makeup and cooking tutorials, or around the house fixer-upper tips — marketers placed convenient order-now links. This set the stage for a video content marketing boom, that continues to grow.
Thankfully the pandemic restrictions have all been lifted, but that has not hampered visual shopping and video marketing. More users than ever are finding out about, and being educated, via social shopping and livestream OTT content.
Over the Top Marketing
Over the top marketing (OTT) refers to streaming services like Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, and Hulu that are ripe for reaching highly targeted and engaged audiences via ads. In 2023, we helped businesses do exactly that (as we have for years), but with a new twist: programmatic advertising.
Essentially AI-driven media buying with real-time bidding, programmatic advertising is a huge time saver and a stellar use of data in targeting highly qualified prospects. How huge? It made up more than 90% of all U.S. digital display ad spending in 2023.
Programmatic marketing for OTT will be everywhere in 2024. For all its impact, though, it’s not user-friendly – which is why Hammer Marketing expects an onslaught of brands seeking to leverage programmatic marketing but know better than to try to handle it in-house.
Okay, one last prediction for 2024: Your brand will optimize digital marketing by working with Hammer Marketing! Take the first step toward making tomorrow’s digital ROI wins a reality. Contact us today to start seeing which tools we can manage and optimize for you.