Search & AI Trends for the Future of Advertising :: Climbing Trees

Search & AI Trends for the Future of Advertising

Published on January 18, 2024 by Jodie Brookton

We recently conducted a LinkedIn survey to find out what digital trends our network is most interested in for 2024. The results were an interesting mix, as well as self-evident, showing Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the top trend, followed by privacy-focused ads. 

The interest in AI for businesses, specifically large language models such as ChatGPT or Google Bard, has never been higher than ever before. As AI capabilities continue to grow in 2024, it is set to become the norm, not only in businesses and global markets but also in most of our daily lives. 

But we need to address the elephant in the room – what does it mean for our privacy? We know AI relies on data to function, and the use of vast amounts of consumer data for advertising can raise more than just a few eyebrows. It poses important security concerns. 

Encouragingly, general awareness of online privacy is rising, and we’re seeing more interest in privacy-focused advertising in 2024. Our Strategic Director, Jodie Brookton, explores each of the top 4 digital trends, why they matter and actionable steps you can take to make the most of this shifting digital landscape.

Main Focus For 2024%
AI 50%
Privacy Focused Advertising33%
Conscious Consumers17%
Retail Media 0%

AI and Digital Advertising

The use of AI in digital advertising is rapidly expanding, with generative search becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday use. AI is reshaping online searches and digital ad targeting, offering more refined, intelligent and personalised solutions.

A recent study has shown that Google displays a Search Generative element for 86.8% of all search queries. This emphasises the importance of creating content that’s suitable for AI.

Why AI Matters in Digital Advertising

Brands must align their marketing strategies with the evolving AI landscape. AI will continue to advance in 2024, impacting digital advertising effectiveness and efficiency, making it unavoidable for marketing leaders to stay ahead of the curve.

Action steps you can take:

  • Review, reassess and optimise website content, particularly product pages, for AI-driven searches.
  • Focus on establishing topical authority and adhere to E.E.A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) principles in content creation.
  • Improve your linking strategies to boost search engine visibility and authority.
  • Optimise Google product feeds for better performance in AI-driven shopping searches.
  • Utilise AI to streamline and expedite campaign setup, allowing for more agile marketing responses.

Privacy and Cookieless Future

With growing consumer concerns over privacy, the digital advertising landscape is shifting towards more privacy-focused methods. The phase-out of third-party cookies, as demonstrated by Google’s introduction of Tracking Protection, necessitates new strategies for engaging audiences while protecting their privacy.

Why Online Privacy Matters in 2024

Trust between a brand and its customers is built by respecting consumer privacy. Safeguarding consumer data should be a core value—not just a legal requirement—for any business that wants to earn customer loyalty in the long run. This customer-centric approach to privacy is foundational to building customer relationships in an increasingly connected world where trust will become more important as AI becomes more prevalent in our lives. 

Action steps you can take

  • Ensure your website is compatible with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) for future-ready data analytics.
  • Prioritise the collection of first-party data to maintain relevance and engagement with your audience.
  • Transition from third-party data reliance to privacy-compliant targeting techniques like contextual targeting.

“Marketers are unaware of the impending digital shift in 2024 as Chrome discontinues third-party cookies. Relying on outdated methods will render them data-blind overnight. It’s crucial to adopt privacy-focused approaches, such as server-side tracking, to stay ahead.”

Richard Harvey, Senior Performance Consultant, Climbing Trees

Conscious Consumerism

The rise of conscious consumerism, particularly relating to sustainability, is transforming brand-customer dynamics. Consumers are increasingly seeking eco-friendly products and services, and they are willing to support brands that align with these values.

Why Conscious Consumerism Matters in 2024

Deloitte’s research indicates a significant consumer shift towards sustainable brands. This trend is especially pronounced among Millennials and Gen Z, who care about sustainability and are more likely to pay a premium for eco-friendly products and services.

Action steps you can take

  • Communicate your brand’s sustainability initiatives clearly and transparently.
  • Engage with consumers on sustainability topics to build community and awareness.
  • Partner with influencers who advocate for green initiatives to amplify your message.
  • Seek sustainability certifications to validate your environmental commitments and appeal to eco-conscious customers.

Social Commerce Evolution

Social commerce, particularly on platforms like TikTok, is transforming the way brands interact with consumers. This shift is driven by the seamless integration of shopping experiences into social media.

Why Social Commerce Matters in 2024 

With a projected global revenue of $1,202.1 billion in 2024, social commerce presents a significant opportunity for digital brands and businesses. Millennials and Gen Z are the primary users, indicating a lucrative market for brands that can provide a smooth transaction experience within social media channels.

Action steps you can take:

  • Integrate social media platforms with your online store for easy social commerce transactions.
  • Experiment with various social commerce formats, such as shoppable ads, to find what resonates with your audience.
  • Collaborate with content creators and influencers on platforms like TikTok to enhance product visibility and drive sales.

As we look forward to what 2024 brings, we hope these insights and actionable steps can help marketing directors and CMOs navigate the rapidly changing digital landscape while ensuring their brands remain competitive and relevant this year.

How can we help you?

We nurture great brands to achieve more. If you need an agency partner with heart as well as brains, we’d love to chat.