It’s that time of year again. It’s time to look back at our forecasts for the digital landscape in 2023 to see what we got right, and then to look forward to how we think it will shape up in 2024.
Taking a slightly different approach this year, to give more face-time to the many very talented people across the agency, we asked the team to nominate trends from across the various disciplines and then we voted on what we thought would be the biggest.
As ever, there was some healthy debate, but thankfully nothing that required HR intervention. What we do have, is a long list of topics that didn’t quite make the cut and fistfuls of ‘I told you so’ cards, waiting to be played.
Owning our successes and our failures is very much part of our EC values, so where did we hit the nail on the head and where did we miss by a mile?
We started with a win, with the third year in a row that we predicted AI would be significant. Ok, so that was a fairly safe bet, but I don’t think many of us accurately predicted the incredible rate of adoption it had. A study by PwC estimates AI could add up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, while Gartner predicts conversational AI within enterprise applications will rise significantly, with 40% using it by the end of 2024, up from less than 5% in 2020.
Unfortunately, we predicted that the Metaverse would make a bigger impact than perhaps it did, and although it was a talking point it was overshadowed by the hype around AI. The initial interest in the Metaverse certainly carried forward from 2022 and some brands made meaningful connections with their audiences, but really it was only the biggest brands with the deepest pockets who could take advantage of it.
The divisive NFTs also took a nosedive. While experts agree that the future of NFTs won’t resemble the bull run of 2021/22, there is some speculation of a potential revival for the market in 2024. If it does, that recovery is expected to come from utility and value-driven projects, creative collaborations, and demand for real-world applications. This proves that, as with many new digital trends, there is often an initial surge of interest as brands rush into the space, then a pull back, before settling into a more rational growth curve.
Sustainability continued as an ‘evergreen’ topic but, perhaps with global woes of war and recessions, took a slight step back in the news agenda. Nonetheless, according to the latest CEO survey by PWC, 39% of CEOs are concerned about the future of their businesses, believing that switching to green technologies is necessary to address these concerns. As the demand for green tech rises, technology’s role in driving sustainability will grow.
So, looking forward, here are the Everything Connected team’s predictions for the top 10 digital trends in 2024:
Google’s decision to join Safari and others in phasing out third-party cookie tracking by 2024 has significant implications for both marketers and Google itself, as it’ll lead to a substantial hit to digital advertising revenues. With 41% of marketers anticipating challenges in tracking the right data, 23% are planning to invest in email marketing software, as a more direct way to reach their customers, in response to Google’s new policy.
The shift requires a transition from relying on tracking data to investing time in understanding customer needs and generating relevant content for customer discovery. Although third-party cookies have been integral to digital advertising for over a decade, acknowledging their disappearance is crucial. Focusing on a deep understanding of customers and creating valuable, needs-based content will allow businesses to generate a robust funnel of opportunities.
Just like how cheap website templates aren’t always the best choice, AI-generated content also needs careful thought. While AI can transform industries and speed up content creation, its output can sometimes feel impersonal, like a templated email. Achieving good content marketing requires investment; AI is a tool that still requires skilled writers and editors to produce quality work.
At Everything Connected, we pride ourselves in our data-led content marketing approach. We conduct thorough analysis of our clients’ businesses, customers, and needs, identifying areas they may have missed to drive better results.
Don’t assume that AI is a quick fix for content creation. Instead, learn how to use it as a tool not a magic wand, and plan your content marketing strategy accordingly.
Maintaining a coherent brand identity and design across various digital platforms is challenging, often requiring the coordination of multiple disciplines. Design systems are emerging as a valuable asset in achieving this.
Essentially, design systems are a synthesis of guidelines, components, and tools conveniently housed within an easily accessible digital location. They’re useful because they offer:
Operating as a singular source of truth, design systems can improve and streamline an organisation’s digital presence, making them an increasingly essential tool for the future.
In the past, corporate network security focused on the external parts, like the public Internet, and placed controls on traffic between public and non-public networks, or intranets. However, recent changes, like remote work and bring-your-own-device policies, make this approach hard to adapt.
The ‘zero-trust’ model shifts from the traditional castle-and-moat idea and instead doesn’t trust any entity by default. This method includes:
Zero-trust network security improves defences by constantly verifying, adapting, and minimising potential breaches. This new approach is a better fit for today’s evolving digital landscape.
Artificial intelligence and digital platforms have revolutionised the marketing landscape, and a return to the foundational principles of marketing – the four Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion – seems almost anachronistic, even when later extended to seven Ps . . . somewhat like the ever increasing number of blades on a Gillette razor!
Yet, these pillars remain as relevant today as they were when first conceptualised. Among the seductive allure of cutting-edge technology and granular data analytics, there lies a perilous risk: losing sight of overarching market goals and business aims. It’s imperative to harness these technological advancements not as ends in themselves, but as tools to better understand and cater to the evolving needs and desires of consumers.
The essence of marketing, despite its digital transformation, still pivots around creating value and forging connections. Businesses must not forget that beneath the veneer of sophisticated algorithms and data points, the fundamental objective is to meet and exceed customer expectations, a goal that the timeless four Ps still adeptly guide.
‘Marketecture’ is quickly becoming the cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy. It focuses on crafting an end-to-end narrative that speaks to the customer at each interaction, no matter what channel they’re using. This involves integrating your marketing systems and messaging infrastructure to ensure a consistent story throughout the buyer’s journey, creating a ‘single source of truth’ for customer and prospect data.
A unified database amplifies the impact of every marketing effort by echoing the same message. This doesn’t just make a marketing strategy more coherent, but also more efficient and resonant with customers, leading to a deeper connection with the brand.
Many companies are already experiencing the benefits of coordinating their content with a unified marketing infrastructure, offering a strong, singular voice in a noisy market. As this holistic approach becomes more popular, ‘marketecture’ is set to redefine both the thought and success behind marketing in the digital age.
In 2024, video marketing will undergo a significant shift because of an unprecedented emphasis on video SEO. Video SEO ensures every video is optimised for search, not only for Google and YouTube, but to social media, such as TikTok, which has emerged as the primary search engine for Gen Z.
To thrive in this evolving landscape, video marketers must focus on more than just keywords. Yes, they’re essential, but equally crucial is creating engaging content for unconventional platforms, reaching audiences where they are most active. Just as search engines consider factors like bounce rate and dwell time for web pages, they now weigh factors like watch time and engagement metrics for video rankings.
As we navigate video marketing in 2024, one thing will become clear: Video SEO won’t be a luxury, but a necessity. To be seen won’t be enough, video will need to be remembered.
Over the last 10 years, shopping by mobile phone has really taken off, with mobile shopping set to be worth more than $620 billion in 2024. With more people browsing on their phones, search algorithms now put mobile content first before desktop versions. By making their websites mobile-first, online shops can improve their visibility on search engines, attract more customers, and boost sales.
One phone feature that is gaining in popularity is using voice search to shop. In 2024, this feature is expected to be even more widespread, so businesses should consider making their websites voice-search friendly by revamping website addresses, site search, newsletter sign-ups, location details, contact info, and payment options to make them voice-search ready.
Mobile is the future of shopping, and businesses need to adapt if they want to stay in the game.
A new digital trend called ‘headless communication’ is changing online interactions by separating the user-facing front end from the back-end system. This enables smooth information flow across various devices and platforms, ensuring a consistent experience for users.
Another trend for 2024 is ‘microservices architecture’, which complements headless communication. It involves breaking down back-end elements into smaller, manageable pieces that can grow independently, affording developers more flexibility.
In 2024, the focus will be on efficiency, scalability, and delivering seamless user experiences. Headless communication is expected to shape the way we interact online, revolutionising the digital landscape.
Modern web design has moved towards eye-catching, bold fonts. In 2024, we can expect this to keep growing with the help of ‘kinetic typography’, which makes words come to life by adding animation, so the message is more fun and memorable. It helps brands to share their message in a truly unique way, while still showing off their style.
From a design standpoint, it’s a bold move away from that plain, minimalist look we’ve seen on so many websites, people are ready for more creativity and excitement. And when it comes to user experience, these big headlines mean less reading for users, and encourage writers to be super clear with what they’re saying, ultimately making the message better. Plus, moving text grabs people’s attention and gets them more involved.
So, in 2024, kinetic typography is sure to be a game-changer for web designers everywhere.
Each year, the digital landscape accelerates at a tremendous speed. Four in five (79%) online teenagers now use generative AI tools and services. This cohort will be entering the workplace in a few years with a very native mindset on this and other emerging trends.
A fringe talking point can become mainstream industry practice within a couple of years. The trick is to lean into the ones that you think are most relevant to your business and adopt a test-and-learn approach. There is often a first-mover advantage for those brave enough to get into new channels and technologies. They can be rewarded by a greater share of voice and clear water from competitors.
But, chase every new shiny thing and you’ll end up diluting your authority and the impact of your revenue and resources. At some point you have to commit and stick to a lane. Repetition is reputation and reputation leads to revenue…if we keep repeating ourselves will that prove our point?
We look forward to revisiting this throughout the year to see which of these trends dominate and which get bumped off the news agenda for the next new thing.
So if you want to stay ahead of the digital curve and on top of the emerging trends, sign up to the Everything Connected newsletter to find out the latest about industry news and thought leadership pieces from the team.
If you are interested to discuss any of these digital trends and how they might impact your business, please drop the Everything Connected team a call and LET'S CONNECT