2024: A Digital Marketing Outlook

Digital marketing threw everyone a curveball in 2023:

1. Most companies decreased marketing budgets
2. But more companies began utilizing digital marketing as a way to communicate with their audiences.
3. As inflation hit hard, the question shifted from “how can we spend our ad dollars” to “how can we spend our ad dollars effectively?”

Looking forward to 2024, we fully expect to see a few important changes. Are you ready?

Change: Media platforms like Netflix double down on ad-supported offerings
Reaction: CTV continues to rise but requires heavy oversight

The barriers are GONE. Looking to advertise on Hulu? Netflix? MAX? Paramount? Roku? You’re in luck!

Also GONE are the days of setting and forgetting your online video and CTV ad spend. Unless you are spending $50,000+ for single platform ad buys, the likelihood is that you are using a self-service advertising platform or a demand-side platform to place large quantities of CTV media buys. To do this effectively, you’ll need to watch closely and iterate.

Over the past 10 years, internet-connected TVs have increased in penetration from 50% to nearly everyone. As consumers continue to use streaming apps to consume content, the apps have become more expensive…yet many utilize ad-supported options for those that may be willing to sit and watch a few commercials to save a couple of dollars.

The backroom deals built on relationships with media partners still exist, but the CTV offerings have democratized the media buying landscape to a certain extent. Fortune 500 companies can bid on the same ad space that a mom-and-pop flower shop can bid on. And the minimums largely start in the low thousands of dollars making it a much easier sell to executive committees.

Change: Media layoffs continue
Reaction: Affiliate marketing programs slow this trend and become increasingly influential

Media layoffs are now so prolific, Forbes dedicated special space for tracking them throughout 2023. We expect this to continue into 2024. So what does that mean for the media landscape?

Many marketing pro’s are frothing at the mouth angry as they yell about the destruction of the media landscape. That said one thing is keeping publishers afloat with additional funds that can be used to hire more staff: affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing spend in the United States is on track to grow almost a billion dollars in 2024. BIG.

Media companies see this is a way to tap into the marketing dollars of companies just by charging for articles and tracking back the engagement to determine ROI. These programs are becoming increasingly influential, with some media companies requesting or even requiring affiliate marketing links and setup in order to place certain stories.

Additionally, it’s important to note that this is not just with the media but it includes other areas like influencer marketing as well. In early 2023, ½ of marketers that paid influencers in the US did so by using affiliate marketing. While cash is still king in this space, this “prove it” method will help influencers who have engaged audiences take advantage while allowing advertisers to measure their bang for the buck.

Change: Advertisers continue to pull funds from Twitter (X)
Reaction: Different ad platforms like Quora step up to fill the void

If there was one platform that our team used less and less as 2023 went on, it was Twitter. From deprecating entire campaign setups (we’ll miss you follower campaigns) without any notice… to leadership that stands on shaky footing, the platform that used to be one of our favorites is now on the outside looking in.

As more advertisers continue to lower or completely remove their funds from Twitter, there is a gap that needs to be filled. One platform we’re seeing step into this space is Quora. More will come, and we’ll be ready.

Quora is the diamond in the rough of digital marketing for strong site traffic. Long looked at as a slightly stronger version of Yahoo Answers, Quora has taken the place of Reddit and Twitter by many top advertisers due to its highly engaged audience and low costs. Don’t believe us? Our work with a top media company in 2023 allowed us to test numerous social media companies both large and small for directing traffic and newsletter growth. The top platform by both CPC and time on site was Quora….and it wasn’t close.

Change: TikTok becomes used as a search engine
Reaction: TikTok doubles down, adjusting their offering for both advertisers and users

While you may associate TikTok with dance challenges, lip-syncing, and short-form comedic sketches, people are using TikTok in a new way—they’re increasingly treating the platform like a search engine.

In particular, TikTok has emerged as a source of news and information for users, especially Gen Z. This Gen Z demographic even PREFERS TikTok over Google for online searches. Users go to the app for recommendations, explanations, and news content.

How has the platform responded to this shift? TikTok has leaned into this new role, enhancing its search capabilities, and improving how keywords work. In October, TikTok unrolled search ad offerings for advertisers. Advertisers can now place ads alongside organic search results.

Change: LinkedIn as cost-efficient (what? Yes!) way to reach professional audiences
Reaction: Executive positioning is now more valuable than ever

If you’re curious which platform decreased in CPM more than any other from 2022 to 2023, the answer may surprise you…unless you already read the above bullet points. It was LinkedIn, which decreased from a $16 CPM to an $8 CPM for awareness campaigns over the past year. This is largely due to the expansion of their audience network capabilities, allowing users to utilize the high-level, professional targeting that LinkedIn offers.

So where does this go from here? The answer is an increased focus in executive positioning. As more c-suite leaders build an understanding that they need to have more public personas, many are looking towards thought leadership. Ways that they can share their thoughts and their experiences help generate newfound understandings of the inner workings of companies. Delivering this content both organically and then amplifying with paid marketing on LinkedIn helps these leaders reach new audiences in ways that were previously difficulty or impossible.