2023 was an exciting year at Echo and 2024 got off to a great start by welcoming new team members and expanding our digital marketing expertise. With new talent come new insights. So, we’re sharing some of our top digital marketing trends and predictions across content, SEO, social media, digital strategy, and much more.
Embracing AI Writing Tools and Prompts
In a world where time is of the essence, AI writing tools are a game-changer. Imagine effortlessly generating compelling content ideas and refining your writing skills with just a few clicks.
It’s not about replacing creativity; it’s about amplifying it. These tools can become companions in crafting engaging content that captivates your audience.
With so many tools available and Google constantly changing its guidelines on what is acceptable use of AI, it’s easy to see why content creators and website owners are wary about relying too heavily on these tools. However, if you use them to boost the quality of your work and reduce time spent on more mundane, time-consuming tasks, you really have nothing to lose.
We’d still recommend that you don’t use AI tools to write complete guides on financial, legal or health based topics. That’s because the information that’s provided might not be accurate or up-to-date.
Regardless of the topic, you should always make sure to put your own stamp on the content and tailor it for your audience.
Sure, AI may produce flawless content when it comes to grammar. But if the content is generic or too vanilla, your audience will switch off and may even guess that a bot rather than a human was behind the content generation!
You should also fact-check!
Top Tip: Don’t fall into the trap of believing that AI tools can replace SEO and writing – it requires human knowledge, expertise and talent to get the best results. The question you should be asking is how you are using AI to enhance rather than replace.
SEO and helpful content go hand in hand, and AI is here to help. But let’s keep it real—avoid the allure of ‘false freshness’ tactics. By that, we mean adjusting the dates and minor details on blogs to make them appear new.
Instead of focusing on pleasing Google bots, write content for people first and then weave in the SEO elements. The goal is not just to climb search rankings, but to provide value. Make it easy for your audience to scan and find what they seek, ensuring a seamless user experience.
In 2024, move away from the mindset of ranking and towards user satisfaction!
First-hand Experience will Triumph
Create content from a first-hand, first-person perspective! Showcase unique, personal experiences. Experts have seen more of this type of content rank better than cookie-cutter content. This refers to content that doesn’t present anything new and is a rehash of other content that’s available online. It also demonstrates authenticity, which people respond well to.
Demonstrate direct experience. Examples can include (but are certainly not limited to) travel blogs, medical sites where doctors share case studies, and hobby sites showcasing projects and lessons learned along the way.
How can you do this with your business content? Written by you and your staff members or by people who have used your products and services. Not sure where to start? Content ideas include behind-the-scenes, user reviews, and user-generated content that showcases the customer perspective.
The Power of Intent
Matching user intent is the secret sauce of SEO success. It’s not just about keywords; it’s about understanding what your audience truly wants. Anticipate their needs, answer their questions, and guide them seamlessly through their journey. Aligning content with intent is a sure-fire way to establish your digital presence and build trust with your audience.
Leverage Content Analytics
In the dynamic realm of SEO content writing, analytics are your compass. Leverage content analytics to unravel the mysteries of user behaviour, preferences, and trends. This data-driven approach empowers you to refine your content strategy, ensuring that every piece you craft is not just being viewed, but also engaged with.
The Rise of Visual Content
As attention spans shrink, visual content emerges as a powerhouse. Embrace visual storytelling, be it captivating images, engaging infographics, or compelling videos. Visuals not only enhance the user experience but also provide a refreshing break from the monotony of text. Visual content is also getting more attention in search results.
Create Emotional Connections with CRO
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is not just about changing elements on a web page; it’s about tapping into the emotions and desires of your audience. Understand their pain points, trigger the emotions that are likely to make them act, and show them the transformative results they crave.
It’s not merely about your business; it’s about creating an experience that resonates deeply. Let your personality shine through, because authenticity is the key to forging lasting connections.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Businesses need to be on it with their digital strategy and ensure everything ties together. It’s important to keep an eye on competitors and create content that resonates with your audience and makes their lives easier.
Mega menu trend in CRO campaigns
You may have seen the trend of keeping website menus minimal, with three main navigation headings. The good news is that this doesn’t have to limit what you showcase to the user. They can still quickly and easily find everything they’re looking for. Three clicks is the sweet spot – users should be able to access all your web pages in three clicks or fewer from the homepage.
That’s where the mega menu comes in handy.
Mega menus are a great alternative for design when it comes to supporting a lot of options or quickly revealing lower-level web pages. Why? They are an expandable dropdown menu that can support a high volume of options for the user. This makes it easier for them to locate what they want at a glance without overwhelming anyone.
Shorten customer journey as much as possible
When it comes to building a customer journey, particularly for B2C ecommerce, the shorter the journey, the better. If you go on a train journey, for instance, lots of changes can be frustrating. People feel exactly the same way about making a purchase online. A simple one-click purchase could be just the ticket to ease the frustrations of buying online.
Social Media Marketing & Advertising
Increased paid social budgets
Social media sites are becoming more of a search engine/shopping platform/channel to interact with businesses.
With the versatile uses and growing dominance of Instagram and TikTok, it could be worth dipping into the revenue and brand-awareness-boosting potential of these platforms (TikTok alone has over 1 billion monthly active users – that’s not to be sniffed at!). You can also repurpose all your lovely video content across your other platforms, which could even help you dominate search engine rankings.
Knowing your audience, where they hang out, and where they like to shop for services or products like yours is crucial. Otherwise, you could end up throwing marketing money at a lost cause. But if your audience enjoys scrolling through and engaging with social channels, then you could be on to a win!
User-generated content overtakes influencer marketing
2023 saw us move out of the influencer marketing trend into user-generated content. Think case studies and customer testimonials! These are all great ways to help potential customers see how other people have enjoyed or benefited from your product. Authentic, organic reviews are fantastic endorsements. They also double up as a trust signal for search engines, proving that you are real and trustworthy people who do a great job in your business sector!
Why not encourage your customers to do some of your marketing for you? Organise fun photo competitions and encourage a community feel for your brand.
Proceed with caution on automation
Automation is on the rise, but you should proceed with caution when using it for PPC campaigns. Pressing the automation button isn’t necessarily the right solution for every campaign!
Smart Bidding uses AI to optimise bids in real time. While it can be beneficial, it still depends on factors like click volume, conversion volume and semantic understanding by the system.
As a result of these changes, advertisers need to adjust their strategies and closely monitor performance to ensure their ads are reaching the right audience and achieving the desired results.
The search results also emphasise the importance of monitoring performance, considering negative keywords, and being prepared to make adjustments in response to the changes in keyword match types.
In short, PPC is an area of marketing where careful consideration and monitoring is required when using automation.
The future of SEO is bright and bursting at the seams with changes. This may be overwhelming for some, but at Echo, we’re excited to get stuck in and see how search results change for the better. We’re reviewing expert predictions and top tips to help you dominate the SERPs in 2024 and beyond.
Search Generative Experience (SGE)
Described as a ‘Featured Snippet on steroids’, Search Generative Experience is a new Google search experience set to roll out in 2024. While there are no concrete plans to make this available in the UK (yet!), it will appear in the USA and 120 other countries.
If your audience is based abroad, or you are working with American brands or websites, getting to know how this new search experience will change your SEO game is crucial.
Retail and ecommerce businesses may face the most changes with SGE.
What is true for every vertical is that you have the wisdom in your sector – you just need to find the best way to publish it online to get noticed by the right people.
Will ranking positions become redundant?
With the new infinite scroll on Google, there is no longer a page 1. But there is still a top 10. This change provided some benefits, such as more impressions and even clicks for pages that used to be as far as page 4 as this made it easier for people to access more search results.
But with SGE, it may no longer be clear what a No. 1 ranking is. That’s why it’s important to think about all the elements that appear in searches, not just the featured snippet or No. 1 ranking position.
How will it impact rank tracking tools?
It’s expected that this will be added to search performance reporting in the Search Console to show how often you’re appearing in SGE.
What will be the impact of SGE?
- There will be a redistribution of traffic.
- If you don’t change, things will still change around you, and your digital marketing efforts may flounder.
- It is important to set expectations and make sure all stakeholders are aware of SGE and the changes that might occur to search rankings and website traffic.
- Hyper-personalisation of results will offer a more conversational style.
Avoid the fluff and vanilla pieces
Be more specific with your content choices. No more generalist/ fluff/ vanilla pieces. Answer questions in the most specific and best way possible. If a topic or keyword is only partially relevant to the services or products that you offer, you should scrap the idea and find topics where you are uniquely positioned to become an authority on the subject. Avoid writing content for the sake of ranking. This may help you rank for a keyword, but if your audience finds no value in your content, this will be a wasted effort in the long-term.
Search trends are now geared towards questions and longer queries, so get out there and find out what your audience and customer base really want to know!
Target keyword clusters
Don’t think about keywords in isolation. Build topic clusters and identify semantically related terms. Ideally, you want to become an authority on a topic rather than just ranking for a singular keyword.
This will help ensure maximum dominance in search results. The more specific the topic, the better. As long as people are searching for it, and it’s relevant to your business, you’re good to go.
You’ll also want to consider how you can dominate other areas that appear in the search results, including:
Find and publish your experts
Go find your expert and enlist the services of a ghostwriter or SEO content writer for a collaborative dream team! This will help you move away from generic, yawn-inducing content to something that is ‘thought leadership’ quality or high value in the eyes of your audience.
This is something we’ve been doing more of here at Echo. Our in-house writers collaborate with specialists to create content that is accurate while offering industry-leading and unique insights that customers value.
Authors should be experts and be identifiable to the algorithms. Linking to their LinkedIn page from an author bio is one of the best ways to do this.
Even if you are using AI, you still have to fact-check. Content creators and experts have a huge level of responsibility to ensure that their audience is not fed incorrect information. This will also help to build your credibility and enhance your brand reputation, so you can become a go-to authority on a subject.
Your experts should also consider posting articles on other high authority sites.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to add author schema!
Supercharge your emails with automation!
Advanced email automation is a trend that could be worth tapping into. If used correctly, this can help your emails reach more of the right people at the right time.
Tailoring emails to new and existing customers across all the stages of the customer journey takes a lot of time and effort. Say goodbye to starting from scratch on the messaging and audience research. Instead, you can let automation give you a helping hand.
This is all based on customer data and behaviour-triggered rules, replacing manual one-off messages. Even if you’re an automation sceptic, it’s worth giving it a trial period to see if it works!
Ready to launch into 2024
We’re super excited to see what 2024 brings, and we will closely monitor the changes across all channels. Refer back to our blog or sign up for our newsletter to get digestible insights and updates from our experts throughout the year.
Looking for support with your digital marketing campaigns? We’d be happy to help. Get in touch with the team, and we’ll take care of the rest.Contact Us Give Us A Call