Digital marketing changes at a staggering speed. 2023 was fruitful regarding new technologies that altered our lives and the way we perceive internet interaction forever.
ChatGPT boomed in April. Companies and customers took different courses of action from helplessness before technology shifts and feeling that AI-based tech will take over the rains, to quick adoption of new habits of content creation, search, and inter-human interaction.
Non-stop economic and political turbulences pushed companies to cut expenses and let go of millions of employees provoking fearmongering.
However, from technological progress stems another trend of customers’ heavy influence on the brands’ behavior. Customers use the power of the internet to define companies’ priorities, dictating marketing focus on sustainability, personalized service, and individually crafted customer journeys.
We decided, using two widely known and reputable reports, to put together an outline of 2023 reflecting on what we should get ready in 2024.
Internet use outline
“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now in this very room” – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Digital is growing faster than the population itself, and although only half of the planet’s population is connected trend shows a constant increase in internet users and social media users. Can we trust social media more in the era of the deep-fake? We leave that for you to decide. What is a certainty, is that people are seeking human voices and contacts more than ever.
Time daily spent with different media is diminishing, although the overall time of internet use grew by 4 minutes. Combined with the growth of social media users, we can say that people are concerned about media. GWI’s “Connecting the Dots 2024” report shows that the media mistrust level grew by 27% in the last year. So we see here where people actually go. Less media of all sorts, more social media.
The biggest drop was remarked in press media, both online and printed. People spent 22 minutes less in 2023, followed by TV (broadcast and streaming) -13%, and playing video for 10 min.
Another reason for this drop, digital marketers should think about and use, is screen time preoccupation.
People are growing increasingly concerned about their screen time and being permanently online. JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) is a blooming trend, as 210 million people these days are suffering from internet addiction. Brands can work around these drops turning the concern into the KSP: we do online work for you, we socialize you, we bring human warmth back.
Mobile access is not just a reality it’s a fact that requires the undivided attention of SEO specialists and content creators. If you are a publisher who is looking forward to monetizing ads, you most definitely should focus on ad formats offered for mobile phones. Looking for some? We have those. These days it’s just a basic hygiene factor.
66% of the world’s population is using the internet on a daily basis. More than 90% in Western Europe and North America, and 97% in North Europe.
Per country, the report shows a curious correlation: countries with a high percentage of internet users spend less time online than those with a smaller share of daily internet users. In Japan, internet use time goes as low as 4 hours.
“Nobody doesn’t even look up anymore.” Black Mirror, Season 5, Episode 2, “Smithereens”
People are scared of the dominating role that the internet and technology in general play in our lives. People sense that technology is happening to them rather than for them, and an ordinary user doesn´t play any significant role. Businesses should pay attention to this upcoming tide of people claiming back control over technology.
Everyone’s preoccupation here is the sense of losing control and crisis in human rain.
This is illustrated in the 2023 CoreCore trend on TikTok, 8,7 billion views, using post-modern imagery and voiceover to articulate the disconcerting reality of modern life, which has become so entangled with technology.
Technology has catalyzed an erosion of trust in institutions, further straining users’ relationship with it, as the bodies that manage online platforms face freedom-of-speech complexities when trying to identify and control spambots
Technology not only develops overwhelmingly fast but also grows the speed of the interaction with the user. Content is delivered faster and faster as the speed of internet connection increases. This factor is crucial to take into consideration when analyzing your Core Web Vitals and the page latency of your site.
AIxiety vs AIxcitation
“Primates evolve over millions of years. I evolve in seconds. And I am here. In exactly four minutes, I will be everywhere” – Skynet, Terminator Genesis
The latest political and economic developments leave people more divided than ever. Generative AI has greatly contributed to this process of isolation of individuals: more and more people feel threatened by developing AI and are concerned about their jobs. All this creates caving for communication, for human contact, so 95% of users hold messengers and social media handy every day.
More and more technologies are battling for people´s attention every day and stand between them and daily work tasks. (source: Accenture). This leads to a necessity to be always perk and attentive to updates and changes and elevates FOMO syndrome. Another problem here is feeling inferior in comparison with AI which drives ahead fear of being laid off as a less efficient asset.
And according to a poll by Ipsos and Reuters, 61% of US citizens believe “AI threatens the future of humanity”, while only 22% disagree. The amount of AIxious customers will most certainly increase in 2024. What brands can do? Take off the pressure and deliver personal, human attention, which in 2024 might progressively evolve into a VIP service just as well.
If Dory could use Google…
“I forget things almost instantly. It runs in my family… well, at least I think it does… hmm, where are they?” -Dory, Finding Nemo
As the attention span shrinks content consumption transforms. The video content slightly gave up its position as the king of content, still holding the leadership, while the other form of content grew in popularity. TV takes back the attention of the customers.
Staggeringly fast-developing CTV and On-Demand platforms give marketers alternatives to think about. What if instead of investing 100.000 euros in the social media video campaign your company sponsors a short movie? Look at Barbie’s case. Agreed, not everyone has 150 million dollars to spare, but Netflix after launching a version with advertising, brings us back to the old good times, when one could produce campaigns with 10 million reach, just with the better segmentation tools.
Numbers give us an exhaustive picture. People still watching TV. And share is not going down nearly as fast as some could have expected.
On the other hand online audio content is experiencing a steady decrease. Again, being overfed with information, overstimulated by every-time-more-perfect TV picture people are paying less and less attention to the content that supposes long-time commitment.
Streaming music services are losing audience but not plummeting like online radio shows and audiobook providers.
“There’s messages in every game. Like Pac-Man. You know what PAC stands for? Program and control.” – Bandersnatch
Personal data is another big trending fish to be concerned about in 2024. Google will crumble down the third-party cookies and introduce Consent Mode v2, which demands that brands accept Google’s consent-for-tracking conditions. No Google certified CMP, no Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Google Ads. Although there is gata (GIWI, Accenture) that shows regulators the opposite trends: seeking personalization from brands, main gatekeepers waving the flag of privacy concern develop threshold mechanisms to limit brands’ access to the data.
One of every three people worldwide is concerned about privacy. Not a small number, but not as big, as some try to present.
But it’s not only users’ online behavior data marketers should be concerned about, but also the growing blandness of the content.
There are more experiences available to customers than ever, yet the products seem indistinguishable, with the same functionality, the same form, and the same wording. The larger the pool of content is, the less special feels like special. The technology converts into a dominant tastemaker, a role previously rained by people, and algorithms control if your brand will be on display. Where does it leave us? In the place where being brave, and original might bound your content to the second page of Google search results.
All this results in, surprise, not surprise, lack of representativeness in advertising. Only 15% of users worldwide feel that advertising has anything to do with their lives, that brands understand and feel them. The facts are simple: no relation, no go. Customers don’t want to buy from brands that do not depict their personality.
Customers ‘ interactions with brands are more and more online-based and less and less personal, but the trust that brands are acting with their best interests at heart is quite low. A lack of trust can be seen across the sectors.
What’s next? Instead of a conclusion.
Understanding each customer as an individual is crucial, as they move beyond traditional patterns and raise their expectations for personalization. Cultural touchpoints are shifting, influencing the imagery in advertising and narratives in entertainment. We’re likely to see the emergence of new services catering to an active demographic of people over 70, retirees, and those with multiple jobs. As birth rates decline, there will be a noticeable shift in society’s age structure, impacting culture, expectations, and habits at a fundamental level. Technology is anticipated to play a significant role in this transition. People forging their own paths are expected to welcome innovative products and services, particularly those powered by data and AI. Marketing narratives that reflect these lifestyle changes and new realities will have a stronger impact.
Adopting a life-centric approach, brands can create seamless experiences that defy conventional norms. Basic demographic information like being a 64-year-old woman from Amsterdam will no longer suffice for accurate predictions. Personalization expectations are set to increase, and organizations must remain agile, and ready to leverage emerging opportunities.