GUEST ARTICLE

Expert Insights: Marketing & Social Media Trends 2024

© George Nimeh
Marketing and Social Media Trends 2024 © George Nimeh

George Nimeh is the founder and managing director of NIMEH & Partners, an award-winning strategy and consulting agency based in Austria. In this guest article, he provides an outlook on the 2024 trends in his industry.

In my 24 years in the digital marketing and technology industry, two things have become clear to me: the pace of change is constantly accelerating, and the companies that succeed are the ones that either create that change themselves or are better at adapting to it their competitors. The rapid development of generative AI has only strengthened my belief in it.

2023 Recap

First, let’s look at what I predicted last year and see how well I did.

What I predictedThe unstoppable rise of AI: In 2023, generative and multimodal AI for consumers will explode. Services like ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 from Open.AI, as well as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, are just the beginning.

The reality: 11/10, and to be honest, the growth is even bigger than I thought. However, I did not predict that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman would be fired by the OpenAI board and then rehired a few days later. It’s a crazy world.

 

What I predictedCrypto in crisis: Bitcoin and Ethereum have fallen by more than 60 percent this year – and they are doing “better” than most others.

The reality: 2/10. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried went to prison, Binance was fined $4 billion, and CEO Changpeng Zhao is also likely to go to prison. A massive SEC lawsuit has been filed against Coinbase. Nevertheless, Bitcoin and Ethereum are in the black in 2023. Go figure.

 

What I predictedHybrid working is here to stay: what started during the pandemic has evolved into an actual way of working. Working from home used to be the exception, but today it is the rule for most companies.

The reality: 10/10. Hybrid working is here to stay.

 

What I predicted: Ubiquitous retail: “The future of retail,” says Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, “is ubiquitous retail. ”

The reality: 7/10. I think I was correct in this prediction, but there are still far too many retailers who are not taking advantage of this obvious global trend.

 

What I predictedThe “Side Hustle”: Another trend that is thriving post-pandemic and will gain traction in 2023 is the side hustle. For those unfamiliar, a side hustle is a part-time business or venture that is done in addition to a full-time job.

The reality: 8/10. Although barely noticed in the media, this is definitely a trend that has developed in 2023 and shows no signs of slowing down.

This year I decided to present you four megatrends and predictions for 2024 as well as some “quick hits”. Let’s start with the megatrends that will influence marketing technology in the coming year:

These are the tech trends for 2024

1. Here we are now, entertain us.

Nirvana wrote this lyric in 1991, and it has never been truer than it is today. In 2024, consumers don’t want advertising. They swipe and scroll past your logo-filled, shiny ads without thinking about it. Additionally, 1.7 billion people use an ad blocker. People want to be entertained, not overwhelmed. So if you want to get her attention, you have to entertain her. Makes her laugh. Makes them think. Get them to do something other than say, “That looks like an ad.”

The IKEA Festival is a great example of this trend. It celebrates creativity, design, and the unique experiences that IKEA products offer. It showcases innovative ideas, collaborations, and interactive installations that inspire visitors to redesign their living spaces. The festival offers themed areas, workshops, live performances, and entertainment, creating a lively atmosphere for visitors. Other examples include Netflix’s interactive film ” Bandersnatch ” and Ryan Reynolds’ commercial for Aviation Gin, to name a few.

2. Dramatic Fragmentation

The era of very large platforms presenting a “global timeline” to millions or billions of users is coming to an end, and the resulting confusion will be a challenge for brands and marketers in 2024.

Recommendation algorithms are replacing the follower model, leading to increasing fragmentation on popular platforms. This means that what users experience on these platforms becomes increasingly unique and is no longer representative of the platform as a whole.

Niche platforms are emerging where trusted information and communities focused on specific interests thrive. Examples include Goodreads for book lovers, Untappd for beer lovers, Wattpad for writers and readers, Ravelry for knitting and crocheting enthusiasts, and Strava for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Niche platforms like VintedDepop, and Poshmark will do better than large established platforms like Etsy , which suffer from spam and cheap copycat products. Still, nothing will stop Amazon from having a very successful year. Both in terms of sales and advertising revenue and this highlights the challenge of the increasingly fragmented landscape.

To navigate this fragmented internet, brands and marketers should focus on creating more engaging content on fewer large platforms and increasing their activity on certain smaller platforms. And despite claims of increased trust or authenticity, shifting budgets back to traditional media is not a solution because audiences are abandoning them en masse. Additionally, their promotional products are often inferior. The key is to focus on targeted channels and encourage creativity.

The most important AI trends in 2024

3. Short Attention Span Theater

There’s a lot of talk about long-form content making a comeback. TikTok, for example, now promotes videos longer than 10 minutes. The platforms are happy about this because long content (especially videos) is easier to monetize. You can insert multiple midroll ads into longer videos, as you’ve probably all noticed on YouTube. The problem is that there are only so many hours in a day and the amount of content is exploding. So while others predict the rise of longer formats, I predict that the most successful content in 2024 will be shorter. Shorter average text length. Shorter videos. Shorter stories. While marketers and creatives may be tempted to create long-form content, their most successful content will be short and concise. Just like this prediction.

4. Google’s iPod Moment

The classic “search business” will be plunged into the biggest upheaval of all time in 2024. And let’s be honest, when we talk about the “search business,” we’re really just talking about Google. Over the next 12 months, Google will struggle to keep up with the flood of synthetic crap, and its search results will suffer as a result. The result will be that consumer searches will shift more towards TikTok and AI-powered results, and Google will dramatically change its core search and keyword advertising business.

Generative AI technologies are revolutionizing the way people search and access information online. These technologies enable more natural language interactions and the ability to get real answers rather than just a list of links. Multimodal input (text, images, and audio) is on the rise, and hundreds of millions of people are finding AI-powered search experiences more convenient, relevant, and efficient than typing text into a search box.

Nothing will stop the inevitable rise in the use of generative AI in 2024. Criticism of factual inaccuracies and “hallucinations” on ChatGPT and other platforms will subside as GPT-5 and other innovations improve both the quality and accuracy of their results. OpenAI, for example, just closed a major deal with Axel Springer and will pay the publishing giant tens of millions of euros to use its news content in the company’s artificial intelligence products. This is the first global publishing deal of its kind, allowing ChatGPT to train its AI models on reporting from Axel Springer brands, including Politico, Business Insider, Bild and Welt, with attribution and links to the original sources of the articles.

Meanwhile, TikTok will also gain traction as a search engine. With its algorithm-driven content recommendations and short video format, TikTok offers a unique and engaging search experience for users. Travel inspiration, DIY and life hacks, educational content, fashion, beauty, and local tips and recommendations are areas where TikTok has gained popularity as a search destination. This shift in search volume on TikTok fits perfectly with the aforementioned trend of consumers seeking entertaining and engaging content.

But all of this doesn’t mean that Google is on the decline.

Steve Jobs famously ditched the iPod in favor of the iPhone. At the time, this was a visionary and completely misunderstood decision and paved the way for the success of the iPhone. I predict that Sundar Pichai (with the full support of Larry Page and Sergei Brin) will make a similar decision in 2024 when Google begins replacing search as we know it with an LLM based on Google DeepMinds Gemini based and complemented by key data licensing agreements and a powerful new “advertising engine”. In the near term, Google will develop new signals to distinguish AI content from human content on Google and YouTube to protect Google search and advertising revenue in the meantime.

What does this mean for companies? Your content is more valuable than ever and should be carefully protected in this new era of AI-driven search. The understanding of SEO and SEM will change and companies will need to adapt their marketing strategies accordingly. Agencies that deal with Google Ads will have to drastically change their business model.

The 9 biggest ClimateTech trends for 2024

What “smaller” trends to expect?

Here are some other trends and predictions that didn’t make “the big list” but are worth mentioning given their impending impact:

Podcasts: Companies will create more podcasts than blogs in 2024, podcast listeners will become video podcast viewers.

Threads will fail. It is a copycat product and an imposter. The platform’s numbers are inflated because registration and login are directly linked to Instagram. Support from ActivityPub (which makes its posts available on Mastodon and other interoperable services) won’t help either. You may not like Twitter – I mean “X” – but unless it commits digital suicide, it is here to stay.

Runway – the popular AI company that offers text-to-image and text-to-video creation services – will be acquired by either Google or Adobe.

AGI will be the digital buzzword of the year. The concept of Artificial General Intelligence refers to the development of highly autonomous systems with human-like intelligence and has captured the imagination of researchers, policymakers, and companies.

The ChatGPT Store will open in 2024 and will be a resounding success.

Sustainable trade wins: Companies like Refurbed from Austria and Vinted from Lithuania are two prime examples of companies that have their finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment and offer high-quality and very sustainable products at a fair price. They – and others like them – will achieve record results in 2024.

The Political Price to Pay: National parliamentary or presidential elections are due in 2024 in Austria, Great Britain, the USA, India, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and for the European Parliament. Be prepared for a lot of noise and a lot of advertising spending that will continue to drive up media costs.

Congratulations if you’ve come this far! As a “reward,” you now get access to this Google Drive folder with over 160 reports on trends and predictions for 2024 from various agencies and consulting firms in different industries, written by a group of strategists such as Amy Daroukakis, Ci En Lee, Gonzalo Gregori, and Iolanda Carvalho were put together.

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