Getting ahead of 2024 trends
By Terena Chetty, 1Africa Consulting Head of Strategy. Here’s how to hit the ground running in 2024, after this year’s accelerated activity and emerging trends.
By Terena Chetty, 1Africa Consulting Head of Strategy. This year has been a whirlwind of activity and emerging trends, keeping communicators and creatives on high alert. Here’s how to hit the ground running in 2024.
So, 2023 saw the acceleration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies such as ChatGPT and Midjourney, major shake-ups in the form of “X marking the spot” in place of Twitter, and the arrival of Threads as a social media platform. All in all, this year has kept communicators and creatives on high alert. Many of the projected “trends” are not new at all – tactics such as increasing visual content, focusing on customer experience (CX) and the use of data analytics, have been emphasised over the last few years, and they will continue to be key focus areas for brands.
As we look ahead to the New Year, we can anticipate an advance of the following:
- AI Tools: The use of AI tools will continue to rise exponentially. According to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence, the AI market’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is expected to rise by a colossal 42% over the next 10 years. This will have a knock-on effect on the rise of related software and services, such as digital advertising services.
- Voice Search: The use of voice search services (such as via Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa) has been popular for personal use for a number of years now. However, it is expected to intensify over the upcoming years, meaning that brands that optimise content for voice search will have a definite competitive edge over industry counterparts.
- Immersive Experiences: Interactive, immersive experiences not only grab the attention of consumers, but also keep them engaged with your brand for a longer period of time. Examples include a virtual tour of a house that is on show by a real estate agency, or a virtual immersive viewing of a holiday destination on a travel site.
- Gamification: As part of immersive experiences, there will also be an increased uptake of gamification by brands. As the name indicates, gamification refers to using “gaming” elements as part of content, e.g. by the consumer scoring points, embarking on missions, playing against other users etc. A great example is the “Find Your Freedom” campaign by Cape Town Tourism which allows users to choose their avatar or character and embark on an interactive online adventure across Cape Town.
From trends to SOP
Creative Agency Clockwork Media recently released a trends forecast report titled, What You Can’t Not Know in 2024. Some of the trends highlighted in the report include:
- Cookie crumbles: Cookies are invaluable to advertisers as they track user behaviour to identify and market to key customer target groups. However, as part of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) concerns, there will be a strengthening of data privacy measures. Google is set to phase out third-party cookies in 2024. Brands must develop new strategies to address the resulting gap in targeting capabilities.
- Zero-click search: With search engines constantly evolving, users are often provided with the information they need on their initial search results screen, negating the need to visit an actual website for info. These “zero-click” searches reduce traffic to websites, even those that are well-optimised, and negatively impact reach and revenue results for brands. It’s not all doom and gloom though, it just means that brands will have to re-strategize to adapt to the changing environment. This includes re-assessing content, search functionality, paid advertising and data analysis tactics, amongst other things.
- CommerceTok: eCommerce on social media platforms in general is on the rise, however, all eyes are on TikTok in particular. The video-centric platform is set to overtake Facebook in user time spent online by 2025, and the platform is already experimenting with various e-commerce features such as in-app shopping, product tagging and other direct sales functionalities.
The global landscape is changing at an alarming rate, with “emerging trends” translating to “standard business practice” at a faster pace than ever. While companies adapt at varying rates, it is imperative to stay abreast of market trends that have the potential to be highly disruptive to the specific industry within which a brand operates. The common factors across trends are the use of AI and catering to Customer Experience (CX) needs – these serve as a great starting point to begin planning how best to transition your organisation into 2024, and beyond.
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