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Digital Marketing Hot Topics, Trends & Strategic Insights in 2024

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As the new year has begun, the Digital Marketing team at Perficient has identified a number of areas where they expect a continued focus throughout 2024 within their areas of expertise. Here is a collection of those hot topics, trends and strategic insights that we’re bringing to our clients and partners to ready them for success in the coming months. Some represent opportunities, others are things to watch out for – all will provide you value to have them on your radar. Learn more about what’s top of mind for experts in Content, Audience Insights, SEO, Paid Media and Digital Marketing Strategy below.

Top 4 Content Strategy and Audience Insights Trends to Watch for in 2024

Authors: Nicole Hess and Wes Garner

Content Strategy has gained awareness and popularity within organizations over the years with 84% of organizations reporting they follow a content strategy and 79% of brands stating they use content to generate leads. Combined with The impact of AI this year will see four key trends:

  1. Audience-First Approach: A deeper focus on understanding target audiences, embodying empathy, and producing human-focused content.
  2. Investment in short-form video & other bingeable content
  3. More integrated, omnichannel content campaigns
  4. AI will be leveraged for the entire content lifecycle

Audience-First Approach

As generative AI use continues to surge, 2024 is witnessing a pronounced shift in content strategy – one that places the audience at the forefront. With the likelihood of deep fakes and propaganda proliferating the internet for the 2024 Presidential Election and growing use of generative AI, consumers are growing increasingly wary of content authenticity.

Savvy organizations recognize that a deeper understanding of their target audience’s needs and tailoring their content to them is paramount for success.

According to a recent survey by SEMRUSH, businesses attribute their content marketing success to two key factors: extensive audience research and a focus on enhancing the quality and value of their content. This trend also aligns to consumer behavior as Nearly 95% of consumers are more loyal to brands that are transparent and genuine — and 75% would pay more to support genuine brands.

Cristy Garcia, the Chief Marketing Officer at, underscores this by highlighting the desire of consumers for content that fosters connection, engagement, and tangible benefits. She emphasizes the importance of businesses forging partnerships to deliver interactive content. Garcia asserts that authentic content breeds consumer loyalty, encouraging return engagements and bolstering brand affinity. (MarTechSeries)

For companies seeking to resonate with their audience, it’s imperative to first identify and develop brand identity and voice guidelines. Investing in refining brand standards, establishing guidelines, and streamlining internal processes becomes crucial groundwork for crafting compelling and authentic content.

While the emphasis is on authenticity, business can use AI in their processes while still maintaining brand guidelines and human oversight. Custom AI models, like a GPT trained on an organization’s own content, can assist in generating tailored recommendations, creating supplementary content, or even developing personalized chatbots.

In 2024, content that is sincere and authentic will stand out. By using insights, technological advancements, and a dedicated focus on audience needs, companies can forge lasting connections, fostering loyalty and engagement in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.

Investing in Short-Form Video & Other Bingeable Content

One key trend that will continue in 2024 is the dominance of short-form video and its expansion of importance from social media to websites as well. Already, there has been a shift towards more “media” and less “social” on social media platforms (NYTimes) which has fueled investment in video.

Investment in video has already led to measurable benefits for some organizations. 87% of marketers say that video has directly increased sales, and 43% experienced a reduction in customer support calls due to videos. (wyzowl) Additionally, 93% of consumers found product-related videos useful during the buyer journey (Animoto), emphasizing the importance of video content in driving engagement and sales.

To capitalize on video consumption trends, companies should consider strategically incorporating short-form videos across different social media channels. This could involve creating more Reels on Instagram, leveraging TikTok content, and working with short-form video creators in influencer partnerships. (Video Explainers)

Videos aren’t just for social media or YouTube only. SEMrush reported that articles having video content attract over 80% more traffic to a website than articles without. (SEMrush) Considering how influential video has become in sales journeys and B2B (Business-to-Business) marketing, there is a plethora of content that video can be integrated with.

For 2024, some key recommendations for companies to capitalize on video marketing include:

  • Publish short-form videos on both social media and on website content.
  • Partner with creators who specialize in short-form content to reach a wider audience.
  • Explore different video types, such as explainer videos, product demonstrations, and customer reviews to cater to different marketing and channel needs.

The rise of short-form video and the increasing importance of video in driving engagement and sales necessitate a strategic shift. By embracing these trends and adapting strategies, companies can position themselves for success in the evolving landscape of video and short-form content.

More Integrated, Omnichannel Content Experiences

Today, consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints when buying a single item. (Marketing Week). Thus, there’s no surprise that companies with strong omnichannel customer strategies report they keep 89% of their customers, compared to a 33% customer retention rate for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.

As consumers have a greater desire for authenticity, higher expectations for digital experiences, and encounter more personalized experiences daily, this raises the expectations for all organizations and their digital marketing strategies. In 2024, companies who understand and invest in omnichannel strategy and analyzing data from various sources will be able to create integrated content experiences.

There’s been progress to integrated content experiences, with 84% of organizations stating they have at least a Content Marketing Strategy, however, only 11% said that they consider their strategy to be an excellent one.(CMI) In my experience, factors such as efficient content management systems, reusable content, and un-siloed teams are driving factors in moving a good content strategy to a great one.

Achieving integrated content experiences will also require dedicated time from various individuals in organizations. Yet, 35% of organizations don’t have dedicated content marketing teams (SEMrush) which shows a gap in content needs and the resources to support them.

As noted previously, AI can lessen the manual effort of the content lifecycle and produce these integrated campaigns.  Current studies show that that most people (59%) are individually exploring AI for their work. Yet to achieve integrated omnichannel content experiences, AI will best be used by teams or even cross-business units(c). While currently mostly individual use of AI is occurring at organizations, MIT conducted a study that reported among respondents who report that their organization obtains value from AI, 85% claim that they personally obtain value from AI. (MITSloan)

In 2024, the need for omnichannel content experiences will continue to grow, and entire teams will start to explore leveraging AI for their projects and companies, just as we at Perficient have begun to do as well.

Overall, companies that have integrated and efficient Content Strategies will reap the rewards of their investments. They will be at an advantage to launch integrated campaigns faster, measure the results, and iterate.

Leveraging AI for the Entire Content Lifecycle

From Ideation through Research, Creation, Analysis and Management of Content, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the entire content lifecycle across various industries, from creation to optimization to distribution. This transformative technology is reshaping how content is produced, personalized, analyzed, and optimized, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness throughout the content lifecycle.

According to Insider Intelligence, 76% of marketers consider content creation to be the most useful generative AI application. Some savvy Content Strategists are already testing AI with other aspects of the content lifecycle as well, especially in idea generation, keyword research for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and to produce variations for split testing.

In 2024, I expect to see more AI application into analyzing content in volume, which tends to be a time-intensive task at companies that is left to the time of big overhauls, redesigns, etc.

In the content creation phase, AI is being employed to generate high-quality and relevant content. Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms enable AI models to understand and mimic human language, allowing them to create compelling articles, blog posts, and even creative pieces. AI-driven content creation tools can generate content at scale, freeing up human creators to focus on more strategic and complex tasks.

As content is created, AI plays a crucial role in optimizing and personalizing it for specific audiences. Machine Learning algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to understand user preferences, behaviors, and engagement patterns. This information is then used to tailor content recommendations, ensuring that individuals receive content that aligns with their interests. Personalized content not only enhances user experience but also increases engagement and conversion rates.

In the distribution phase, AI aids in content curation, recommendation engines, and targeted advertising. AI algorithms analyze user interactions and feedback to refine content recommendations over time. This dynamic adaptation ensures that users are presented with content that is increasingly aligned with their evolving preferences. Additionally, AI-powered advertising platforms leverage user data to target specific demographics with personalized ads, maximizing the impact of marketing efforts.

Content analysis is another area where AI is making significant contributions. AI tools can quickly and accurately analyze large datasets, extracting valuable insights into audience behavior, sentiment, and trends. This data-driven approach enables content creators and marketers to make informed decisions, refine strategies, and optimize content for better performance.

Moreover, AI is instrumental in automating content moderation and ensuring adherence to content policies. Advanced algorithms can identify and flag inappropriate or harmful content, helping platforms maintain a safe and secure environment for users. This proactive approach minimizes the risks associated with content-related issues and fosters a positive online experience.

Looking forward, AI will continue to evolve and redefine the content lifecycle. Innovations in natural language understanding, computer vision, and generative models will further enhance content creation and personalization. As AI technologies become more sophisticated, businesses and content creators will leverage them to stay ahead in a competitive digital landscape, driving efficiency, relevance, and engagement throughout the entire content lifecycle. The integration of AI is not just a trend but a transformative force that will shape the future of content creation, distribution, and analysis.

SEO Trends and Predictions for 2024

Author: Brittany Nowlin

Instantaneous (Zero Click) Search & Rich Snippets

In the rapidly evolving digital age, the essence of search is transforming towards immediacy.

Google’s SERP and technology enhancements have made rich snippets and structured data increasingly crucial for brands to enhance their visibility within search results in 2024. This shift will make zero-click searches more prevalent, prompting companies to focus on providing quick answers directly within search results. However, website traffic will be compromised. In-depth inquiries will still play a significant role in guiding users back to websites for more comprehensive insights.

This shift to zero-click searches will also cause a reevaluation of SEO practices. The traditional Google-centric approach gives way to a more expansive view, recognizing that data search is no longer limited to Google. The digital population will increasingly use alternative platforms like TikTok for routine search inquiries. SEO professionals must adapt their strategies, adopting more nuanced KPIs like SOV to understand and quantify these evolving patterns.

AI, Search Generative Experience (SGE), and Content Creation

The year 2024 is expected to see a rise in the use of generative AI for SEO, which will play a crucial role in shaping content creation. Brands will have to balance the accuracy and relevance of their content with the emotional power of storytelling as AI becomes increasingly integrated into digital content strategies.

However, the human element is still necessary, arguably becoming more critical than ever, setting experts apart from algorithmic content and resulting in engaging narratives and emotional connections.

The emergence of advanced platforms like Bing’s Chat GPT highlights the importance of user engagement and interactivity. SEO metrics, such as click-through rates and keyword rankings, are no longer the sole focus of analytics. Instead, a more holistic approach that considers SEO’s impact on driving traffic and conversions should be adopted.

Search generative experience (SGE) has the potential to disrupt the SERP, changing how we optimize content and engage with users in their search journey. It may make capturing data and bringing users to the website increasingly challenging, like the zero-click search. SGE saw a couple of iterations in 2023 and will likely see several more before becoming a permanent fixture.

To get the most visibility and the most meaningful connection with users, websites will have to work extra hard at focusing on delivering a seamless and enriched customer experience becomes more critical as we delve deeper into the customer search journey. Expect digital assets that provide rich insights, compelling narratives, and multimedia elements.

SEO should prioritize comprehensive search engine optimization, including the entire SERP ecosystem and website optimization.

Local SEO and Mobile Experience

As we approach 2024, the local search landscape is gaining momentum like never before. It is projected that Google searches with local intent will make up almost half of all queries, indicating a crucial trend business cannot ignore. Local Service Ads (LSAs) have become essential for companies seeking prominence in local search outcomes. Google’s strong emphasis on localized content and the mobile user experience further highlights the need for businesses to adapt their strategies to these evolving standards. Recognizing these elements as vital to local search rankings will be non-negotiable for those aiming to maintain a competitive edge.

Although mobile-first indexing is not a new concept, it is set to become even more significant, emphasizing the need for businesses to continue to prioritize mobile optimization. The local SEO horizon is abuzz with developments, with hyper-local targeting leading the way as companies strive to capture the nuances of their immediate markets. Additionally, optimization for Apple Maps signifies a focus on diversification, recognizing the importance of platform-agnostic visibility in local search.

At the same time, we are witnessing a harmonization of content with the conversational nuances of voice queries. Voice search optimization is adapting to the subtle inflections and idioms of how people naturally speak, ensuring that businesses remain attuned and aligned with how users are increasingly choosing to search. Taken as a whole, the interplay of these elements outlines a comprehensive blueprint for success in the intricate dance of local search optimization as we navigate through 2024 and beyond.

INP, Interaction, and User-Based Signals

Google has introduced Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a new Core Web Vitals metric, reflecting the tech giant’s focus on user interaction.

It’s important to understand that INP, or Input Timing, is a metric that measures the time it takes for a page to respond to user interactions. Unlike other metrics such as Time To First Byte, First Contentful Paint, or Largest Contentful Paint, INP takes into account multiple interactions over time. As a result, INP accumulates as a user interacts with a page.

It’s worth noting that the elements that impact INP the most are not necessarily the ones that are the least responsive. Instead, it’s the elements with which users interact the most that have the greatest impact on INP. Publishers should prioritize improving these elements to enhance user experience.

Fixing INP issues can be more challenging than dealing with other metrics like LCP or CLS. However, there are tools available to help track and identify INP hotspots. Google’s Chrome extension Web Vitals and Debugbear are two such tools that can be helpful in this regard.

Third-party Cookie Deprecation Is Finally Happening. Is Your Paid Advertising Ready?

Author: Christy Belden

2024 will be the year where third-party cookie deprecation, and the subsequent loss of audience signals, will finally happen. Google has been threatening action for years. However, Google announced in December 2023 that they would start limiting tracking starting with 1% of Chrome users in January 2024. A full roll-out would be complete by the second half of the year.

As a refresher, third-party cookies are software that sits on a site, picks up user behavior and then applies it to subsequent websites with the intent of serving ads to those consumers. For example, if a user visits and favorites a pair of Jordan 1’s, then Facebook can pick up that cookie on the favorite button and use it to render ads about shoes. The “third-party” comes from the fact that the signals were sent to a site the user may not have visited.

Third-party cookies have been around since the late 1990’s to help advertisers target relevant ads to consumers – effectively reducing waste as consumers have shown some intent by visiting a website. However, with passages of CPRA, CCPA, ePR,, GDPR and Apple, it has deemed third-party cookies do not protect a consumer’s privacy because the consumer has not opted in to be tracked by sites they have not visited.

Should advertisers worry about losing third-party cookies? The short answer is no. There are plenty of tactics advertisers can use to offset the third-party cookie data. Below are a few examples:

  • Contextual Targeting – Contextual targeting has been around for some time and is very relevant today to help offset third-party cookie deprecation. Contextual targeting uses the content on a website to deliver ads to a user. For example, if a user is reading posts about Jordan 1’s on Facebook, an ad could be served for Jordan 1’s on Facebook. Advertisers opt-in to show their ads when the content matches their ad. Advertisers aren’t tracking users, they are finding relevant content and placing ads near that content.
  • Geotargeting – Employing geotargeting can create efficient ad buys by showing ads when a user is close to a location of interest. For example, an advertiser could target a mall where they sell Jordan 1’s. As the consumer visits the mall, they are served an ad for the shoes. Has that consumer explicitly stated they wanted shoes? No. However, the consumer is presumably shopping and may be in the market for shoes.
  • First-party Data – Collecting information on your consumer in privacy-safe ways is completely appropriate. Using marketing automation tools can help manage that data and help develop audience segments. Identifying owned audience segments allows advertisers the ability to target users most likely to purchase their products.
  • Premium Ad Inventory – Buying advertising directly with specific websites and apps or through private marketplaces (PMP) doesn’t target like a third-party cookie does. However, buying premium inventory gives advertisers the ultimate control over where ads are placed. Premium inventory sites understand their audiences and site visitors. Therefore, advertisers can tailor ads – both creatively and via site targeting – to specific audiences.

Not all is lost when it comes to digital advertising in 2024. However, advertisers need to understand the landscape and be ready to pivot strategies to comply with current regulations and consumer privacy. Advertisers can take this adversity and become advocates for their consumer’s privacy while driving business goals.

The Rise of Zero UI

Author: Tod Szewczyk

The Digital Marketing Strategy trend we are paying attention to at the beginning of 2024 is the continued rise of Zero UI across digital properties. While this trend has been around for some time, the acceleration of generative AI is pushing it to the forefront. Consumers and customers both want the quickest and easiest interaction from a brands or retailers app and website, the only acceptable response time is seconds, and even that feels slow. Implications for brands and marketers are significant and we suspect that this trend will become top-of-mind in 2024 as it ladders up to creating a better consumer and customer experience.

The technology surrounding Zero UI are numerous and varied, its real promise is to provide the most convenient and natural interaction to access information online. Speaking of convenience, it’s probably best to start with the fact that this consumer and customer need is what is driving almost everything. According to NRF’s Consumer View report from 2020,”83 percent of consumers say convenience while shopping is more important to them now compared with five years ago.” Further, “97 percent of respondents have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them.” While these stats are derived from the shopping experience, we believe that they can be extended to any consumer or customer interaction with a brand from app to website. When we think of Zero UI, we tend to focus on voice as it is the most mature modality in the Zero UI movement.

Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa have been around for at least a decade and, surprisingly, have not lived up to their promise. While we have seen any number of use cases where voice was supposed to solve a problem, from hands-free help to ultra-convenience in-the-moment assistance (Hey Alexa, order me more paper towels), it turns out that accessing search is one of the areas where it is most used with over 1 billion voice searches performed monthly.

The awareness phase of the marketing funnel is where voice search really shines, according to SEM Rush (, 1 in 3 people across US, UK and Germany start a discovery session using voice. There are clear impacts here for brands here, from re-thinking SEO strategy to better customer service. But it’s the behavior shift that stands out to us, this is all about convenience for consumers and customers, for brands, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate they can be there at the right time with the right experience to assist in their journey.

So, on one hand, the training has been in place for consumers to understand how to use voice to perform a task or get information. On the other, this training also is getting consumers ready for interactions with technology that is, or nearly is, invisible. As the NRF stat above shows, consumers just want convenience, and, while the advances in technology providing convenience have been significant, we are at an inflection point as the existing containers of information (apps and websites) are being broken apart by the ease of generative ai and intelligent search. Give me one place to ask the question and the machine does everything else across all containers.

Speaking of convenience and the related implied simplicity of interaction, one place that has become cluttered and somewhat bloated is our smartphones, specifically the number of apps we navigate across these devices.

A clear winner at CES this year (although they weren’t at the event) was the Rabbit R1 device. A $199 handheld device about half of the size of your phone, this technology claims to be the single portal a consumer would need to help get tasks done by being the interface between your voice and your phone’s apps. I won’t get into all the details about the device, watch the product launch video or read any number of reviews to learn more. What I will focus on though is this device claims to be the intermediary between the consumer and any brand app or website. You simply tell Rabbit what you want, and it summons any number of apps on your device to get the job done. While the Rabbit hasn’t shipped yet, and it adds a layer on top of existing interfaces, it immediately sold out in multiple waves. They’ve tapped into an unmet need, and it is all rooted in convenience. If the Rabbit R1 device catches on, or, more likely, if Apple or Google decide to implement their own version of the Large Action Model, the implication for brands here is the fact that all of the work you’ve done on your app to increase engagement and stickiness could have just been made obsolete by this device, maybe not this year, but soon. At the end of the day, we all want more convenience in our modern lives, not less. Why would I continue to use an app that requires X number of taps to get a thing done when I can just say it and trust it will happen?

What does this all mean for marketers? Whatever the category, B2B or B2C, its well past time to improve your overall online experience. There a thousand places to start in your technology stack to make the overall experience better or more refined, but the best place to start is to ask what your consumers and customers want (probably a more convenient, easy, and intuitive interaction with your brand). Pilot and experiment here, can you take steps out of the journey or provide a better site search experience? Perhaps the real trend of 2024, given the astonishing advance of generative AI, is the rise of ease-of-use. The only way to keep up and potentially get ahead of all this swirl is to understand how to meet your consumer and customer where they are and that is on the island of convenience.

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Matt Ruud

Matt Ruud is a Digital Marketing Director at Perficient. He first entered the digital marketing industry in 2004 and has worked in various agency and consulting roles, optimizing enterprise sites and SMBs in a variety of industries. Matt has deep experience establishing technical SEO best practices for a number of platforms, including Magento, Sitecore, AEM, and WordPress. He prides himself on providing effective acquisition strategies that effectively blend efforts in organic and paid channels.

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