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2024 Emerging Marketing Trends and Predictions

by Feb 12, 2024Audience Targeting, Direct Mail, First-party Data Solutions, Social Media Advertising0 comments

2024 will bring widespread changes for marketers and advertisers. Here are the data and marketing trends we’ll be watching this year.

As the marketing and advertising industries continue to evolve, staying ahead of the curve will remain essential for businesses’ ongoing success. 2023 brought some widespread changes, but 2024 may present even larger challenges. 

This year, we expect the industry to be shaped by:

  • Google’s deprecation of third-party cookies
  • The ever-increasing relevance of AI
  • Changes to Retail Media Networks
  • The industry’s growing walled gardens
  • Updates to social media networks
  • Rising postal rates
  • Marketers’ increased reliance on the cloud  
  • New requirements for sending sales and marketing emails

These top marketing trends of 2024 will undoubtedly influence how businesses craft and execute their marketing strategies this year. In this blog post, we’ll cover each of the upcoming changes, how they will affect your business, and our recommended strategies for navigating these changes. 

Google is sunsetting third-party cookies.

Here’s what’s happening:

We’ve been expecting cookies to go the way of floppy disks and VHS tapes for a while now, so this industry shift comes as no surprise: Google has started to remove third-party cookies. While this change currently only affects 1% of Chrome users, Google plans to remove cookies completely by Q3 2024. This decision reflects Google’s growing commitment to user privacy, but it also presents a major shift for marketers and advertisers alike.

Here’s why it matters:

In response to this evolving digital landscape, the marketing and advertising industries must adapt and innovate. This can happen in several ways, including new targeting methods, new measurement technologies, and a shift to first-party data.

In the post-cookies world—beginning in July 2024 and through the end of the year—more than $123 billion of programmatic ad spend will need to shift toward new targeting methods and measurement technologies. 

In the broader advertising industry, much will be made of Google’s “Sandbox” approach. However, this approach has already been met with skepticism for a few reasons:

  1. If Google decides to change the Sandbox—as they did with cookies—it will once again upend advertising.
  2. The Sandbox is limited in its effectiveness and only truly offers a suitable alternative to retargeting and contextual advertising.
  3. This approach will make large platforms with access to scalable first-party data even more powerful.
  4. The growing impact of large platforms will put a strain on small and mid-sized publishers, as they will be forced to collaborate with larger players.

Creating a first-party data strategy should be paramount this year. But that presents a challenge: The majority of marketers and publishers don’t see enough first-party data to effectively power their acquisition efforts. Because of this, advertisers will experience a growing need for better identity data and targeted segments in 2024.

Here’s what we recommend:

Beyond an increased focus on first-party data capture, marketers and advertisers will need alternative solutions to reach audiences and measure engagement. It’s time to start testing different strategies, which include everything from modeling to predictive audiences to contextual targeting to using alternative IDs.

There will be a deeper-than-ever focus on modeling and interconnectivity. Marketers and agencies don’t want to outsource all of their audience knowledge to a single platform. By controlling the modeling process and the analysis, they can have a deeper knowledge of their ideal market and can more easily build omnichannel campaigns that align.

Contextual targeting leverages sophisticated algorithms to identify contextual signals across the internet, allowing marketers and advertisers to reach the right audience according to the content they consume. While Google’s Sandbox does provide an alternative for cookieless contextual targeting, there are other solutions available to help businesses place ads for the right audience in the right context.

Fewer, but higher quality, third-party data solutions—powered by a robust identity graph—will be key in this new world. These data solutions will bring about larger conversations on addressability methods such as The Trade Desk’s Unified IDs and Deep Sync’s individual, household, and address-level identifiers. According to early studies, these types of identifiers have led to 40% – 50% CRM increase. Although many of these identifiers are relatively new, their impact will continue to grow in 2024.

AI is on the rise!

Here’s what’s happening:

From Chat GPT to social media and everywhere in between, artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to shake up the industry as we know it. In regards to digital marketing, AI offers endless opportunities from content creation to campaign optimization to hyper-personalization.

Why it matters:

AI isn’t perfect; it needs access to enough data to learn from for it to improve. This will present a challenge, as using the wrong data can violate copyright laws, user privacy, and ethical guidelines. 

Specific to marketing, we’re already seeing data-rich platforms like Meta and Google offer AI-based optimization capabilities. These are likely to work well for smaller marketing budgets and for single-channel campaigns.

Regardless, if used wisely, AI can take your data strategy to the next level. But to reach its full potential, AI needs three things: data, the ability to process that data, and bandwidth to develop the data to train AI models.

What we recommend:

Generative AI can be used to process vast quantities of data; this will make it particularly effective to analyze customer data to uncover detailed insights about preferences and behaviors, including digital behavior, purchasing patterns, engagement, and more. This information can enable customized product suggestions, content, and more. In this way, AI can provide a solution for the signal loss created by Google’s cookie deprecation.

With time, evolution, and training, companies will eventually be able to expand AI and machine learning for predictive analytics. This will allow teams to predict consumers’ likely next steps, allowing for more proactive and personalized strategies.

For enterprises that don’t want to (or can’t) use their first-party data to train AI models, structured, deterministic data can be used to train better AI models. In this way, third-party datasets can be used as a truth set for modeling and training—without violating copyright laws.

Retail media networks will become a breakout vertical… with the help of data.

Here’s what’s happening:

Retail media networks (RMNs) allow retailers to offer their first-party data to other, third-party businesses for advertisement purposes. Marketers can purchase this advertising space, allowing them to use retailers’ first-party data to connect with in-market prospects who are likely to buy. This process allows advertisers to show ads across retailers’ websites, including home pages, search result pages, product detail pages, and category pages.

In 2024, Marketing Dive predicts that: “Retail media networks will enter their own consolidation period in 2024 as marketers sift through dozens of offerings that are struggling with standardization and cut those that can’t demonstrate a distinct performance boost.”

Why it matters:

Retail media networks are changing the way businesses and shoppers interact with each other. The benefits of effective RMNs are:

  • For retailers: an extra revenue stream
  • For advertisers: access to retailers’ first-party data
  • For consumers: a personalized shopping experience

But, RMNs may face some data-related challenges this year. Many of them could greatly benefit from access to additional data as well as scaled data hygiene and identity resolution solutions to maximize the effectiveness of their data.

What we recommend:

Retail media networks should seek scaled identity resolution capabilities and implement good data hygiene practices. These services could help inform retailers which email addresses of their customers are their primary based on recency and frequency. These services can also help match individuals to their household addresses, making it easier for retailers to locate people wherever they are online—including CTV—without super high CPMs.

Retailers can also benefit from additional data, as most retailers don’t have full access to their customer base. They don’t know who is in the aisles and paying with cash vs. who is a loyalty member vs. who is on their website/apps. An identity spine can provide access to the full U.S. consumer base, helping retailers amplify their reach.

Walled gardens are limiting the open internet.

Here’s what’s happening:

Marketers are increasingly concerned with navigating the industry’s growing walled gardens. The largest walled gardens accounted for 78% of global digital advertising revenue in 2022 and are expected to account for 83% by 2027.

Why it matters:

Platform-specific walled gardens create significant challenges for marketers. As the “open internet” becomes increasingly restricted, effective omnichannel campaigns become more difficult to execute. For scaled walled gardens, performance can be strong. But because this is single channel performance, these walled-off silos among disparate channels can cause fragmented audience targeting. 

What we recommend:

Marketers and advertisers need to gain more control over their customer relationships—their data, targeting, attribution, and more. The most effective strategy is to build an audience and then activate that same audience across multiple channels. However, most companies lack the expertise and/or bandwidth to build an audience that benefits from complete portability across platforms and channels. A data provider, like Deep Sync, can help by making an audience and delivering it across all online and offline channels.

Major changes are coming to social media.

Here’s what’s happening:

Social media networks are making significant changes that will affect advertising. Here are the changes that are happening on each major channel:

  • Meta is likely to introduce an ad-free subscription tier, limiting the audiences available for targeting.
  • LinkedIn is discontinuing its lookalike audiences, making targeting based on your existing customers more difficult.
  • TikTok is increasingly promoting TikTok Shop, changing the way users and advertisers can engage on the platform.

These changes will change the way marketers and advertisers reach and engage with audiences on these platforms.

Why it matters:

For the past year, Meta has been encouraging marketers to employ a “set it and forget it” advertising strategy. With their AI capabilities, the platform has been encouraging advertisers to simply set their objective, target country, creative, and budget. Meta’s large scale powers their ability to drive performance for advertisers who are less interested in managing and understanding their audience data. 

LinkedIn plans to discontinue its lookalike audiences on February 29, 2024, meaning that marketers can’t create new lookalike audiences or edit existing ones, and lookalike audience data will no longer refresh. Any active campaigns using a lookalike audience will continue to deliver using a static audience.

As for TikTok, the platform’s advertising capabilities are still quite new. They will continue to change and evolve at a rapid pace, making it essential for marketers to stay up-to-date regarding TikTok advertising.

What we recommend:

For marketers with limited advertising budgets, bandwidth, or experience, Meta is a good starting point. Meta’s tools provide an opportunity for marketers to learn more about optimization and basic campaign setups. As the potential for an ad-free subscription tier looms closer, marketers can consider doubling down on organic social growth in the meantime. That way, you can reach a wide audience before the ad-free tier is implemented.

When LinkedIn lookalike audiences disappear from the platform, LinkedIn recommends: “Predictive audiences for contact list, conversion, or Lead Gen Form data sources [and] Audience Expansion for Matched Audiences and LinkedIn attribute targeting, such as by skill or interest.”

In the face of all of the changes to social media, smaller marketing teams might consider exploring other avenues like search ads or relying more heavily on organic content. But for larger marketing teams, we recommend spreading your efforts across channels and platforms. 

Targeting the same audience across disparate channels requires a significant understanding of audience targeting, addressability, and how to use your customer data. But, that’s where data providers like Deep Sync can provide expertise and help marketers have more control over their audiences—regardless of the changes to social media platforms.

Postal rates are rising… again.

Here’s what’s happening: 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has once again raised postal rates; as of January 21, 2024, First-Class Mail Forever Stamps are now 68 cents (up from 66 cents). The pricing changes are expected to raise the price of mailing services by approximately 2%. This is the third rate increase since January 2023—and the most mailing rates have increased in USPS’s history.

Why it matters:

Many businesses rely heavily on direct mail to attract new customers. For these marketers and advertisers, USPS’s rate increases will significantly impact ROI. To mitigate the financial impact, brands will need to adapt their strategies to account for rate increases.

What we recommend:

A combination of first-party data solutions and high-quality third-party datasets is the solution to optimizing your direct mail ROI. Perhaps the most impactful solution is data hygiene. After all, if your database has outdated, incorrect, or incomplete addresses, you won’t be able to reach your customers with a direct mail campaign. Data hygiene services can ensure that you don’t waste resources sending to incorrect addresses. Couple this with suppression services— including deceased, prison, and DMA Do Not Mail suppression—to remove unwanted or undesirable profiles from your mailing. 

Analytics and other insights can also be useful tools to navigate postal rate increases. For example, consider how recipients have engaged with your content previously. Contacts that have not engaged with previous direct mail campaigns are less likely to respond to future mailings. Reaching contacts where they respond best—whether that be on social media, CTV, SMS, or direct mail—will help you maximize the impact of your budget. 

The influence of cloud software is growing.

Here’s what’s happening:

Marketers and advertisers have a continued—and growing—interest in cloud software. Over the next 10 years, Gartner predicts that cloud software will become a “pervasive and essential driver of business innovation.”

Why it matters: 

Cloud platforms, like Snowflake, offer their clients a secure place to collate, store, and analyze data. Third-party data sales used to predominantly occur on major ad platforms like Google, Facebook, and The Trade Desk. But with increasing privacy concerns, it’s become more difficult for companies to monetize their data without creating their own walled gardens, as sharing data outside of the cloud can create privacy risks. These changes will increasingly shift data—and data service consumption—to the cloud.

What we recommend:

Marketers should continue to learn more about the cloud and the growth potential it provides. It’s never been easier to start moving data into the cloud, and cloud offerings are innovating at a rapid pace. Snowflake, for example, offers robust data capabilities in its marketplace.

Data solutions available in Snowflake

Today, Deep Sync offers native hygiene, enrichment, and resolution in Snowflake—all without data leaving your environment. Using data applications within the places where your data already exists reduces friction and improves privacy 

Google and Yahoo are making cold outreach harder.

Here’s what’s happening:

As of February 2024, Google and Yahoo will begin to enforce new requirements for bulk email senders, including anyone who sends more than 5,000 messages in one day. Anyone who is sending mass emails—including both B2C and B2B marketing and sales teams—will face challenges with their email deliverability. According to MarTech, the new guidelines will focus on authenticating domains, spam rates, and the ease of unsubscribing from emails. 

Why it matters:

Sender domains must be authenticated, spam rates should remain below 0.1%, and contacts must be able to easily opt out from all marketing and sales emails. These factors will be applied at the domain level, meaning that sales teams that fail to follow these guidelines will negatively impact email marketing efforts across the organization and vice versa. This makes it critical for companies to address potential issues as quickly as possible.

What we recommend:

Beyond authenticating your sender domains, reducing your spam rate will be critical this year. While there are several ways to address spam rates, here are a few we recommend:

Segment your audience. Audiences typically respond better to emails that feel relevant to them. Rather than sending out a mass email to your entire list, break your audience into smaller segments and tailor your messaging to them. You can also consider creating an “engaged audience” segment that would include contacts who are (for example) active customers, newsletter subscribers, have opened marketing emails in the past, or have engaged with your content on another channel. 

Clean up your database. Consider using an email validation tool to ensure you only send email campaigns to users with valid email addresses. Data hygiene services, followed by an email append, can also help ensure that the email addresses you have in your database are your contacts’ most-used, up-to-date addresses. 

Spend more time on other channels. If you begin to experience a decrease in delivery, turn your focus to other channels. While email tends to be a favorite channel for marketers, these new changes may make things difficult. Putting more attention towards social media, SEO, direct mail, programmatic advertising, and other channels can help marketers decrease the impact of the Gmail changes.

Long story short: It’s time to focus on data.

While each of these evolving trends differs in impact, data will be the overarching solution to navigating these changing landscapes. Focusing on first-party data strategies and filling in the gaps with third-party data will be the key to success in 2024 and beyond.

As the leading independent provider of consumer addressability solutions, Deep Sync empowers agencies and brands to reach consumers across their preferred channels. Our data solutions and integrations provide marketers and agencies with access to high-quality, privacy-safe audiences for offline and online uses. Deep Sync powers audience targeting with rich datasets, a highly scalable multichannel identity graph, and a range of intelligent data applications. Book a meeting with us to learn how we can help you navigate the changing industry and the latest marketing trends.


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2024 marketing trends