Marketing Trends 2024: AI and Data Privacy
- Data privacy crucial. In 2024, focus on first-party data and privacy compliance due to growing consumer concerns about data misuse by brands and governments.
- Self-service ascending. Self-service ad platforms gaining momentum in 2024, driven by privacy changes and independence from Big Tech’s walled gardens.
- AI’s rising influence. AI’s integration in content marketing will significantly enhance personalization and efficiency, reshaping marketing strategies in 2024.
2024 promises notable shifts in marketing, driven by technology, data privacy, AI and changing consumer expectations. As third-party cookies phase out, brands will accelerate their embrace of first-party data and self-service ad platforms. The continuous evolution of content marketing and the increasing integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping how businesses connect with and engage their audiences. This article will examine the top marketing trends to be aware of as we bring in the new year.
First-Party Data and Regulatory Compliance
Data privacy has been a subject of concern to the majority of consumers in 2023. In 2023, a Pew Research Center survey indicated that 67% of those polled said that they understand little to nothing about what brands are doing with their personal data. 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 the 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, managing director of media and ad technology at Dixon Schwabl + Company (DS+CO), an independent marketing company, told CMSWire that understanding that the depreciation of cookies is already here in many capacities, she believes that 2024 will be filled with many new solutions and providers bringing forward cookieless 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 cookieless 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,” said Benjamin.
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: Using First-Party Data to Build Trust With Your Customers
Self-Service Ad Platforms
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, will be a powerful marketing story in 2024. A self-serve advertising platform enables brands to purchase digital ads directly, providing them with the tools that are needed 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.
The Expansion of Commerce and Retail Media
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 marketing in 2024, 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 that have comprehensive shopper data are offering brands targeted ad placements that can drive conversions more effectively than broad campaigns. When they are nearest 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.
Such shoppable ad formats and social commerce provide a more integrated experience between discovery, inspiration and transaction. Additionally, retailers already possess rich transactional and behavioral data. As third-party data disappears, retail media enables brands to tap into these insights for more relevant targeting and to build lasting customer relationships through a trusted channel.
Related Article: The Dawn of the Commerce Media Era: Will It Ruin Our Shopping Experience?
AI Will Continue to Impact Marketing
It’s impossible to look forward in marketing without recognizing the pervasive influence of AI. In 2024, AI is primed to revolutionize content marketing by augmenting personalization and performance. The use of AI in general is becoming so transformative that according to an October 2023 Gartner report, it is poised to be recognized as a primary economic indicator of national power.
In 2024, marketers will home in on their ability to more effectively leverage generative AI. Benjamin related that since ChatGPT entered the mainstream, agencies are working around the clock to identify procedures and policies, and determine the most practical solutions to leverage AI to maintain creativity and improve marketing outcomes. “Developing customized prompts and learning to automate manual tasks is likely going to be the focus of many marketers since this is likely to yield the highest return in terms of effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing efforts.” Benjamin explained that using prompts to deliver code that can enable connectivity of disparate tools, improve tracking capabilities, and improve automation is probably one of the most underused opportunities for gen AI.
AI also has a huge potential to enhance and improve personalization in many ways, such as by creating customized experiences, product recommendations, and individualized creatives for advertising. Sidra Berman, CMO at parcelLab, a global enterprise post-purchase software provider, told CMSWire that hyper-personalization will drive marketing in 2024 as today’s consumers expect tailor-made experiences that are dynamic and engaging. “AI technologies will allow marketers to optimize customer experiences at record speeds, offering more ways to delight customers based on specific requests,” said Berman. “Marketers need to use customer data to deploy successful multi-tier marketing campaigns that are specific to each customer segment and personalized at every digital touchpoint.” Berman explained that customizable touchpoints that incorporate on-brand messaging will result in higher conversion rates and increase average net promoter scores (NPS).
Traditionally, the ability to target specific consumer segments has been far more advanced than the capacity to create corresponding creative versions of ads. This disparity often leads to a mismatch between highly targeted audiences and the generalized creative content they receive, limiting the overall effectiveness of the campaigns. However, with AI-driven constant versioning, marketers will be able to create and deliver a multitude of creative versions tailored to thousands of finely-tuned consumer segments.
This means that each segment will not only be targeted with precision but will also receive content that resonates specifically with their preferences and behaviors. As a result, the performance of marketing campaigns is expected to reach new heights, offering a significantly improved consumer experience. This shift will not only enhance engagement rates but also drive higher conversion rates, as consumers are more likely to respond positively to content that feels personally relevant and tailored to their unique needs and interests.
Bill Stratton, global industry GTM lead, media, entertainment, and advertising at Snowflake, an end-to-end data warehouse solution provider, emphasized that in the realm of advertising, we are witnessing a groundbreaking advancement in the form of hyper-personalization made possible by AI. “Currently, targeting data for campaigns, where thousands of fine-tuned segments can be derived from consumer behavior, has far outnumbered the creative versions of a campaign which limits ad effectiveness. This constant versioning via AI is set to unlock a new level of performance and consumer experience. For example — AI can help reach consumers in a buying cycle by targeting and messaging to the individual every step of the way.”
Stratton suggested that what sets this approach apart is AI’s ability to discern someone’s distinct messaging sensitivities, or even identify which imagery resonates with that person the most at unique times. “As consumers, this breakthrough empowers us further with relevancy in our lives and will build a deeper connection between us and a brand in the process.”
Related Article: AI in Marketing: More Personalization in the Next Decade
Social Commerce Expands in Significance
Social commerce is poised to become a major force in both inbound and outbound marketing for online retailers. Social shopping, a blend of ecommerce and social media, allows customers to discover, engage with, and purchase products directly through social media platforms. This method of shopping is transforming the traditional retail journey by providing user-generated social proof and enabling more personal interactions between brands and customers.
The integration of social commerce into daily life is not only changing the way people shop, but also how businesses approach marketing. By offering a dynamic, engaging experience, social shopping replaces more tedious and time-consuming transactions. Michael Nemeroff, co-founder and CEO at Rush Order Tees, a B2B and B2C apparel ecommerce brand, told CMSWire that he foresees social commerce becoming a major element in inbound and outbound marketing for online retailers. “As an ecommerce owner myself, I’ve worked with my team to create a more consistent presence on platforms like Instagram. Reels and short-form videos in Stories are pillars now for nurturing an audience.”
Nemeroff suggested that social commerce will be the next big approach, and while it does require more effort from marketing teams to show up online, it solves two issues at once: growing our relationship with our followers and customers by engaging with them online and boosting our sales through social media selling. “Networks such as Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming sites for sales, and most of the success is coming from the fact that business owners have been nurturing their communities through these platforms,” said Nemeroff, who added that selling and relationship building go hand in hand.
Related Article: 5 Must-Know Social Commerce Trends for 2023
2024 will see impressive shifts in marketing, from the acceleration of first-party data to the expansion of AI in marketing. While data privacy regulations will constrict targeting capabilities, self-service ad platforms and retail media promise marketers greater transparency, control, and efficiency, and the boundaries between ecommerce and advertising begin to dissolve. With consumers expecting personalized engagement across channels, marketers will begin to leverage AI, data, technology, and social media to reinvent brand connections and customer engagement.