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The Digital Marketing Landscape is Changing—What You Should Know

by | Jan 12, 2022

The phrase ‘digital marketing landscape’ refers to the vast collection of websites, social networks, sales channels, brand and user-generated content, and emerging technologies that continue to shape digital infrastructure. Over the past three decades, the digital marketing landscape has evolved immensely to match the rise of technological developments and how products and services are sold online. But what’s the latest in the line of evolution?

Between a global pandemic and an American preference to shop online, the general decline of brick-and-mortar retail is exacerbated, with e-commerce leading the charge. New digital marketing trends have even changed how we shop online, from shoppable social media feeds to augmented reality (AR) product try-ons. However, these evolutions barely scratch the surface of how the digital landscape continues to change.

Now more than ever, digital marketers must be strategic when sourcing customer data insights. Advanced privacy laws have poked massive holes in digital marketing campaigns, and the introduction of AI, machine learning, and the ‘metaverse’ has redefined the traditional marketing channel. Here’s what your marketing team needs to know about how the digital marketing landscape is changing — and how to keep up with relevant content creation. 

How the Digital Marketing Landscape is Evolving

There was once a time (a decade ago) when a digital marketing strategy was little more than social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and Google Ads. A time when earning the featured snippet for a coveted keyword was the highlight of your marketing campaign. Well, that time has long passed. While the pillars of a marketing strategy have remained the same, dozens of additional variables equate to success. 

For instance, mobile video ad spend now makes up 72% of total digital ad dollars. Over the past five years, video marketing, in general, has exploded by 41%. Even more, 81% of marketers are now integrating their social networks with commerce systems to open an additional sales channel. Another 85% of marketers leverage marketing automation and other trends to provide their consumers with a personalized experience. 

As more technology is introduced to the landscape, the more it evolves. Here’s how. 

The Rise of New Digital Channels

If there’s one thing for sure about the changes affecting digital marketing, it’s that they’re sure to shift. A fantastic example of the evolution of the digital marketing landscape is the diversification of advertising channels. For instance, a massive 50% of online ad spending in the US in 2000 was for banner ads alone. Today, however, the scenario has shifted dramatically. Banner ads now represent just a small portion of a more complex ecosystem that includes homepage takeovers, landing pages, Google Ads, native advertising, and social media marketing. In 2023/2024, spending on social media advertising alone is expected to grow, reflecting its increasing dominance. In 2024, social media advertising spend is expected to exceed $300 billion, marking a notable increase from approximately $270 billion in 2023. This growth reflects the ongoing shift towards digital channels, emphasizing the importance and expansion of social media in advertising strategies​ (Sprout Social)​.

Digital ad spend has also seen a significant push towards mobile and video advertising, with projections indicating that these formats will capture the majority of digital advertising dollars. The rapid adoption of advanced programmatic advertising technologies further exemplifies the shift from traditional banner ads to more dynamic, targeted advertising solutions that are designed to engage consumers across a variety of digital touchpoints. For 2024, the forecast suggests a continued increase in investment and utilization of these technologies as marketers seek more sophisticated, data-driven approaches to target consumers across various digital platforms. This aligns with the broader trend towards more personalized and dynamic advertising strategies in the digital space.

In today’s media landscape, the variety of digital advertising methods has vastly expanded ways for brands to engage with consumers. For instance, the shift from traditional television advertising to Connected TV (CTV) and Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms is notable. As of 2023, over 125 million households in the U.S. have a smart TV, reflecting the deep penetration of internet-connected devices. In 2022, when this blog was originally published, the shift was underway; today, the shift has already occurred towards streaming and on-demand content across various devices, not just smart TVs. The market has stabilized in this respect, making this less of a “change” and more of a “status quo.” The spend on CTV advertising is projected to surpass $19 billion in 2024, highlighting a significant influx of ad dollars toward digital streaming platforms for ad delivery​ (Sprout Social)​. 

Another example of traditional marketing in today’s digital age is social commerce or the integration of retail e-commerce on social media platforms. Rather than boosting your recent posts to ramp up social media marketing, marketers can now create a synergistic consumer experience where even a social newsfeed is shoppable. Where 27% of online ad spend went to sponsorships in 2000, up to 20% of the total average marketing budget was allocated to influencer marketing in 2020. As of 2024, the percentage of marketing budgets allocated to influencer marketing continues to evolve significantly. Recent studies and surveys show varied percentages depending on the size of the companies and the industries they operate in. Some companies now devote a substantial portion of their marketing budgets to influencer marketing, with nearly one in four companies allocating over 40% of their budget to collaborations with influencers​ (Influencer Marketing Hub)​. 

Overall, the influencer marketing landscape shows robust growth, with projections indicating that ad spending in the influencer marketing sector will continue to expand significantly. The ad spending is forecasted to reach $47.80 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.61% from 2023​ (DemandSage)​. This growth trajectory reflects the increasing importance and effectiveness of influencer marketing as a core strategy for companies aiming to engage modern consumers more authentically and effectively.

Emerging Trend Highlights in 2024 Digital Marketing

🎯 Social Commerce:

Social commerce is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce, reshaping how brands interact with consumers. Major social platforms have integrated shopping features, allowing users to purchase directly through these platforms. Influencers are playing a pivotal role in this trend, driving sales through their personal interactions with followers.

🎯 Influencer Marketing:

Live shopping events are becoming increasingly popular, with influencers using these platforms to showcase products in real time, significantly boosting consumer engagement and sales. The importance of influencer marketing is expected to lead companies to create specialized roles, such as Chief Influence Officers, to oversee and maximize the effectiveness of these campaigns.

🎯 Video Marketing:

Short-form video content will continue to dominate the landscape in 2024. Recent changes announced by Google will see a reduction in the number of video thumbnails displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). This requires marketers to focus on producing high-quality video content optimized for search engines and viewer engagement. Furthermore, AI-powered tools are becoming essential in video marketing, enhancing productivity and allowing creative teams to achieve more with less.

Tracking, Targeting, and Privacy: Recent Adjustments

With the recent adjustments in tracking, targeting, and privacy, Google and Apple have set new rules that significantly alter digital marketing strategies.

Google was set to replace third-party cookies with an interest-based advertising model called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) that clusters consumers with similar interests for relevant targeting. This move away from technologies that track individual people across the web underscores a broader industry shift towards greater privacy. Google received significant industry pushback and has since abandoned FLoC in exchange for something called the “Privacy Sandbox”, set to roll out later in 2024. Phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome comes after extensive development and testing periods to ensure that the new technologies adequately protect user privacy without disrupting the digital economy. The implementation timeline includes a stage where the key technologies will be tested and refined, taking into account feedback from developers, publishers, and regulators to ensure they are effective and privacy-compliant. The goal is to provide more private browsing experiences while still enabling businesses to thrive online​

Apple has escalated its privacy measures by requiring app developers to disclose how their apps use data collected from users. Developers now need explicit permission from users to track them across apps and websites using Apple’s new IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers)—which users may block if they wish. These changes, including additional Mail Privacy Protection updates, mean email marketing strategies may see a significant reduction in user data accessibility.

So, today’s digital marketers must turn to alternative targeting options for potential customers. For example, running retargeting ads to users who visit your website or using lookalike models to target users who share characteristics with your existing consumers. Focus on building brand awareness through conversational marketing to encourage the collection of first-party data and a loyal customer base. 

The Future(?): AI, VR, AR, and Metaverse Marketing

It’s no longer a bold statement to claim that the future of digital marketing is rich with digital technology like automation, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, and the metaverse. All of the above tap into consumer behavior for digital marketers to create a synergistic consumer experience maintained by artificial intelligence (AI). 

In 2022, these burgeoning technologies were all the rage and seemed like they were taking over marketing discussions in boardrooms across the globe. Today, in 2024, although AR and VR continue to develop, the explosive growth and transformative impact that was once predicted have not materialized at the scale expected. While there are niche applications and some sectors where AR and VR have become more integrated (like gaming and specific training simulations), they haven’t reshaped marketing to the extent once anticipated.

One industry that has experienced significant benefits from AR and VR is the hotel industry. Hoteliers have adopted these burgeoning technologies at a rapid pace and it changing guest experiences from the pre-booking phase through the on-property and post-stay relationship. 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are significantly transforming hotel and travel marketing by enhancing the guest experience with interactive and immersive technologies. These technologies are being integrated into various aspects of hospitality to not only attract but also retain guests by offering them a unique and memorable experience.

Hotels are leveraging AR and VR to create engaging experiences right from the booking phase. Potential guests can take virtual tours of hotel properties, exploring rooms and amenities remotely before making a reservation. This not only builds excitement but also instills confidence in their booking decisions. For instance, hotels like Hyatt offer virtual tours allowing guests to virtually explore properties, which enhances the guests’ anticipation and satisfaction even before their stay begins.

During their stay, guests can use AR for interactive experiences such as navigating the hotel with their smartphones, which act as virtual tour guides providing information about hotel amenities and local attractions. This technology can also translate texts and signs in real-time, helping guests who are unfamiliar with the local language, thus enhancing their comfort and overall experience.

Furthermore, VR is employed for staff training, where employees experience realistic customer service scenarios. This training method has proven to be effective in improving service quality and reducing customer complaints significantly, as evidenced by several hotels reporting a drop in guest complaints and an increase in satisfaction after implementing VR training programs.

These technologies also enable hotels to offer personalized services based on the data collected about guests’ preferences and behaviors, further enhancing guest satisfaction and loyalty. Overall, AR and VR are redefining the concept of guest experience in the travel and hospitality sector, offering both fun and functional value to the end-users and operational efficiencies to the service providers.

The Digital Marketing Landscape is Constantly Changing

The past three decades have witnessed an incredible amount of change in the digital marketing landscape. As technology became more complex, advancements like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and even social commerce opened new doors to potential marketing channels. And as more doors opened, privacy and tracking laws have continued to become stricter.

In other words, the digital marketing landscape will continue to evolve, and our digital marketing campaigns must do the same. If you need help growing your marketing efforts to match the times, reach out to a full-service digital marketing agency like Bullseye Strategy. We’ve evolved right along with the digital marketing landscape with more than a decade in business and are here to help.

Contact us today to bring your marketing efforts into the digital age.

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