5 digital marketing trends for 2024

Explore the latest marketing trends, including the role of AI, voice search, the tension between privacy and personalisation, and video marketing.
· 16 January 2024 · 5 minute read

What you need to know about digital marketing in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for businesses aiming to connect with their target audiences.

As we approach 2024, we look at the technologies, practices and customer attitudes likely to affect your digital marketing. We delve into five trends and how you can use them to your advantage.


1. Increasing access to artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are already common in marketing. Global platforms such as Google and Facebook have offered AI-powered services, such as those that automatically adjust adverts to better match users’ searches, for many years.

However, we expect small businesses (SMB’s) use of AI in digital marketing to increase sharply in 2024. This is because AI capabilities are becoming accessible to businesses of all sizes and budgets.

Generative AI – tools designed to generate text, images, or other media in response to prompts – is available to anyone with a web browser. But it may also become embedded in your existing apps and tools. Software providers, such as Microsoft, Google and Adobe, are building generative AI tools into their existing services to help users create content and work more efficiently.

Chatbots are also becoming more common among small and medium businesses. Previously reserved for larger businesses, there are a variety of chatbot services aimed at SMBs. Chatbots can help you answer customer queries, streamline sales processes and collect customer feedback efficiently.

As these user-facing AI-powered services become more common, it's likely advanced data analytics will too. Tools that can help you better predict anticipate future customers demands based on historical data will become more accessible and easier to use. These insights can be used to develop more targeted marketing plans that can help maximise the return on your marketing investment.


Harnessing AI for marketing success

The accessibility of advanced AI capabilities is likely to mean it’s when, not if, you and your teams begin to use AI.

When considering how to implement AI in your digital marketing strategy, it's useful to think about the areas where you want to add capability or extend your skills. But it's also important to identify where you don't want to use AI. For example, AI is a great tool for automating the time consuming task of analysing large amounts of data. However, it's not a replacement for human creativity, empathy and insight.

It’s important to note there are ethical considerations in the use of AI too. The Australian Government has a set of principles for AI use that may be helpful in formulating your own position. The eight AI Ethics Principles cover areas such as human rights, fairness, privacy and security.

To learn more about AI, read our article AI for small and medium businesses.


2. Voice search continues to grow

Voice is already a popular way to search due to its speed and convenience. Research shows 71% of consumers prefer voice to typing, and it’s estimated that more than 1 billion voice searches take place globally every month. There’s a strong link between voice and local search too. Approximately 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses.

The growth of voice search has implications for SMB’s digital marketing because it affects the way search engines find results.

Voice searches differ from typing because they are more conversational. Voice search queries tend to be longer and more detailed than written searches. This means websites with content that best matches that specific query are more likely to rank higher in results.


How to optimise for voice search

Your content marketing strategy becomes critical with voice search. The starting point is understanding your customer base. Consider the questions your target audience might ask, and ensure those answers are reflected in your content.

Website content should also use more conversational language to match the way your customers’ talk and search.


3. The evolving tension between personalisation and privacy

There is a tension between Australian consumers’ preference for personalised products and services, and their desire for privacy.

The Telstra Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing found that 81% of consumers don’t mind when businesses use their data to deliver better products or services. And according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), if Australian consumers must receive ads, just over half (53%) would prefer the ads are targeted and relevant to them.

However, the OAIC also found Australians see privacy as important when they look to purchase products and services. It’s rated as the third most significant factor after quality and price. And 84% of Australians want more control and choice over the collection and use of their personal information.

Businesses will have to navigate this tension while also dealing with major changes to digital marketing and privacy regulation.

Google and other browsers are ending third-party cookie tracking. Businesses that relied on cookies may have to collect their own data to power their digital marketing initiatives.

Australian privacy regulation may also change for SMBs. The Federal Government announced its intention to remove small businesses’ exemption from the requirements of the Privacy Act. Currently, businesses with a turnover of $3 million or less are not required by law to keep personal information secure. Additionally, they do not need to notify affected people if there is a data breach.

The removal of this exemption may have implications for small businesses. This includes current privacy practices, as well as how and what information must be kept secure.


How to balance privacy and personalisation

Rather than view privacy and personalisation as conflicting forces, this is an opportunity for businesses to create stronger relationships with customers.

Consider what data you need to operate and offer your services. Be transparent with your customers about your policies. In each case where you collect data, be clear on how you will use it, if and how you will store it, and how you will protect it.

For practical advice on protecting data, read 3 simple steps to help you better protect customer data.


4. Best practice web design becomes essential

The vast majority of consumers (78%) look online when they are researching products to ensure they make the right decision. With a huge amount of choice available, a high quality website can help you stay competitive online.

There are technical reasons for this. For example, search engines favour sites with fast-loading pages, mobile compatibility and the HTTPS security standard.

Consumers also want to trust the businesses they buy from, and that’s where your website can play a role.


How to achieve website best practice

Your website is not just a place to display information, it’s at the centre of how your business shows up in the digital world. 

Ensure it works well and is regularly updated and leverage that content across other channels. Regularly updating your content helps to build trust, encourage repeat visits, and improve your website’s ranking in search engines.

Make sure you consider important web design elements, and digital accessibility. The more accessible your website, the easier it is for all individuals to connect with you online. This, in turn, helps fuel customer engagement and build brand satisfaction that can also lead to greater advocacy.

Discover more about the benefits of digital accessibility and key principles to consider when designing your customers’ online experience.


5. Short form video becomes more popular

Short form videos are an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. According to one survey, 73% of consumers prefer to watch a short video to learn about a service or product. Short-form videos are also shared at twice the rate of any other form of content.

Businesses are using short videos to help build stronger engagement with their customers. Video marketing can help build brand awareness, show the people behind the business, and demonstrate product features.

One of the reasons short form video is so important is they suit the format of social media. TikTok leads with short video content. Instagram and YouTube both promote short videos. If your target audience uses these platforms, video could be a good marketing tactic for you to try.


How to integrate short videos into your marketing strategy

Short-form videos are typically between five and 90 seconds.

Think about what you want the video to do, then consider what might resonate with your audience. Some good examples of content suitable for short form videos include how-to guides, product feature guides, and behind the scenes content.

When planning your video content strategy make sure you’re clear on what you want to say and consider things like –

  • Will your video be scripted, unscripted or semi-scripted? Either way, authenticity is important.
  • When producing it will you need additional content elements to integrate into the video?
  • What will your approach to a soundtrack be? You may also need to consider music licensing regulations.
  • Will you create closed captions or subtitles to make your video more accessible.

You may adopt a DIY approach to creating your videos, or take advantage of specialised skills from a digital marketing partner to help with your video production.


Navigating digital marketing in 2024

Your digital presence is likely to become even more important as consumer expectations and behaviours continue to evolve in 2024. Consider reviewing your digital marketing strategy to see if there are opportunities to take advantage of these trends.

Business website solutions that can scale and integrate with other digital platforms to reach customers can help drive results for your business. Staying on top of trends and seeking support from experts can help you optimise your marketing activities. This means you can spend more time on delivering great outcomes for your customers.

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