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The Gist

  • AI integration. Current market trends indicate artificial intelligence will persist in disrupting industries and reshaping marketing strategies.
  • Social influence. The role of social media creators is intensifying, demanding authenticity over traditional influencer partnerships.
  • Privacy emphasis. The growing importance of consumer data privacy stresses the need for transparency and regulatory compliance.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on May 17, 2024 to include new data and information. The original content was authored by Scott Clark.

The marketing landscape is not a static thing — it constantly changes and evolves, adapting to meet customers’ expectations and demands. It shifts with changes in the economy, new strides in technology and viral movements taking over the internet. So what marketing industry trends are top of mind for 2024?

Top Trends in Marketing in 2024

From the growing influence of social media creators to the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence technologies like ChatGPT, what are marketing trends making a splash this year?

Trend #1: Social Media Influencers Will Continue to Influence

A 2024 HubSpot report found that influencer marketing remains one of the top marketing trends delivering on return on investment (ROI). More than half of marketers surveyed in the report said their company worked with creators or influencers in 2023, and 49% of marketers that partnered with influencers worked with them multiple times. Additionally, 16% of marketers plan to invest in influencer marketing for the first time in 2024.

HubSpot graph showing top marketing trends that deliver ROI.
HubSpot’s 2024 The State of Marketing Report

Megan Conahan, executive vice president at Direct Agents, a digital marketing agency, told CMSWire that as streaming companies come to terms with the new reality of slower growth and churn, consumers will start turning elsewhere for content — and that place is social media. Conahan believes that with extra eyeballs going toward social platforms, creators will shine, their content will get more views and their following will grow.

“Notice I said creators and not influencers,” she said. “We have seen an erosion of trust in influencers who will partner with any brand that pays. With an increased focus on authenticity, influencers have no place here.”

Conahan said that creators will be a big part of brands’ future. “Identify your target market and find creators that align with your target.”

Related Article: Types of Social Media Influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro or Nano

Trend #2: Self-Service Ad Platforms Take Over 

The shift toward self-service ad platforms, accelerated by data privacy changes and a push toward data services that are not reliant on the walled gardens of Big Tech, is among the top trending marketing topics in 2024.

A self-serve advertising platform enables brands to purchase digital ads directly, providing them with the tools they need to create, execute and oversee their own advertising campaigns. Examples of current self-service advertising platforms include:

  • The Trade Desk: A major demand-side platform that gives brands the ability to buy digital ad inventory through programmatic channels without relying on walled gardens like Google and Meta. Provides a lot of transparency and control.
  • Adform: Offers self-serve capabilities to manage ad campaigns across display, video, mobile, social and more. Features advanced automation and AI optimization tools.
  • MediaMath: An independent demand-side platform providing real-time bidding ad-buying that can be customized based on first-party data and campaign goals. 

These platforms shift the control of advertising directly into the hands of advertisers, facilitating autonomy and flexibility in their advertising strategies. As brands assemble their own first-party customer data, they can dynamically fine-tune data-driven campaigns themselves, offering more customization at a lower cost. Self-service platforms often use predictive AI to optimize campaign performance on the fly. 

Because self-service platforms support more media publishers and ad types, they open new opportunities for brands to diversify spending. With personalized messaging constrained by privacy regulations, the cost-efficiency enabled by self-service platforms will become increasingly vital for marketers facing budget pressures. Their flexibility and automation provide brands greater control in reimagining customer engagement. 

Trend #3: First-Party Data & Regulatory Compliance Remains Top Concern 

Data privacy has become a subject of concern to the majority of consumers. In 2023, a Pew Research Center survey found that 67% of those polled understand little to nothing about what brands are doing with their personal data.

Chart outlining the findings from a Pew survey on American data privacy

Concerns about data privacy aren’t limited to what private businesses are doing with it — 71% are also worried about the government’s use of their data. As a result, in 2024, the marketing landscape is anticipated to be significantly influenced by the shift toward first-party data, transparency, heightened privacy concerns and compliance with consumer privacy regulations. 

As the reliance on third-party cookies dwindles, primarily due to major web browsers phasing them out and stricter privacy regulations coming into effect globally, marketers are turning to first-party and zero-party data as more reliable and ethical sources of customer insights. This data, collected directly from customer interactions and customers themselves, is not only more accurate but also aligns better with increasing consumer demand for privacy and control over their personal information. 

Malorie Benjamin, chief transformation officer at Dixon Schwabl + Company (DS+CO), told CMSWire that, understanding that the depreciation of cookies is already here in many capacities, she believes 2024 will be filled with many new solutions and providers bringing forward cookie-less measurement platforms. “As marketers, the need to understand ROI has become ingrained in the expectations of CMOs everywhere. There is significant opportunity for anyone who’s bringing forward solutions in this space that allow marketers to have more granular information about tactical performance and audience insights.” 

Benjamin emphasized that there is a desire to have solutions that are not reliant on Google, Meta or any other walled garden provider. “Seeking new ways to identify audiences and track actions in a cookie-less environment is at the forefront of every media planner/buyer’s needs as we move into 2024 and a future that’s reliant on contextual and first-party data solutions without the option of retargeting,” she explained.

The challenge for marketers will be in effectively collecting and using this first-party data while respecting consumer privacy. This shift is likely to prompt a greater emphasis on building direct relationships with customers, possibly through loyalty programs, personalized content and social media interaction. Marketers will need to balance the need for detailed customer data with the growing emphasis on privacy, requiring transparent data collection practices and clear communication about how data is used. The overall impact will likely be a more trust-based relationship between brands and consumers, with marketing strategies becoming more personalized, data-driven and privacy-conscious.

Related Article: The Role of Data Privacy in Customer Trust and Brand Loyalty

Trend #4: Commerce and Retail Media Expands

The advent of self-service ad platforms coincides with the expansion of commerce and retail media (a form of digital advertising where ads are placed on retail websites and platforms). Retail media is poised to have a big impact on current marketing trends, reshaping how brands interact with consumers and how advertising is integrated into the retail experience.

Noted retail media brands today include Amazon and Walmart:

  • Amazon DSP: Amazon’s platform lets brands plan, buy, measure and optimize advertising campaigns across Amazon’s owned properties as well as third-party sites and apps.
  • Walmart Connect: Walmart Connect enables brands to advertise across Walmart’s digital properties, retarget them across the web and social media and aims to improve brand visibility and product discovery, featuring simplified navigation and step-by-step guidance.

Major retailers with comprehensive shopper data are offering brands targeted ad placements that can drive conversions more effectively than broad campaigns. When they are near the point of purchase, advertising to customers unlocks major sales potential. Retail media tightly embeds marketing into the customer’s native shopping experience, creating a more cohesive journey where customers receive useful recommendations as they browse or purchase, seeing relevant ads as additive rather than disruptive.

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