A new year means a slate of fresh marketing opportunities. You have the space to reimagine your strategy and expand your tactics. As you work toward bigger and better things in 2024, it’s worth watching for potential marketing challenges.
The digital marketing landscape is constantly shifting, and the next twelve months will bring some unique challenges—but it’s nothing you can’t handle with a bit of preparation and foresight.
Here’s our list of 10 top marketing challenges in 2024:
- Third-party cookies are going away
- AI is changing search
- There’s pressure to join new social media platforms
- Existing social media platforms are changing
- Google has transitioned to GA4
- Audiences are more distracted than ever
- Accessibility is a growing consideration
- More people are living on mobile devices
- Automation is helping your competitors
- New regulations may impact marketers
Plus, we’re sharing tips to help you overcome each one and see success through 2024 and beyond.
Top 10 marketing challenges
Take a deeper dive into each of these marketing challenges for 2024 and the different ways your business can overcome them this year.
1. Third-party cookies are going away
The challenge: Google’s been teasing the end of third-party cookies on Chrome for a while now, but it looks like 2024 will finally be the year. Safari and Firefox have already bid them farewell. With the most popular browser about to banish them, too, it’s time to rethink any marketing strategies that rely on cookie tracking.
How to overcome it: There are still plenty of ways to keep tabs on your prospects and customers online. Investing in zero- or first-party data (customer data you own rather than information you get from third-party sources) will be critical.
You may also explore device or browser fingerprinting, which allows you to track your audience by other means, like IP address.
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2. AI is changing search
The challenge: In February 2023, Bing made headlines when it revealed that its search would now be enhanced by ChatGPT. When you head over to Bing, you can search or chat with its ChatGPT-powered bot. When you ask a question in chat, it provides a conversational response.
Shortly after Bing’s announcement, Google launched Bard to compete, and it looks like AI will continue to drive innovation in the search space in 2024.
How to overcome it: Keep a close eye on this space—things are changing rapidly! Subscribing to AI and marketing newsletters can help you stay abreast of the latest. You might also consider engaging an outside expert to guide you toward the soundest marketing strategies in our new, AI-infused world.
3. There’s pressure to join the new social media platform du jour…
The challenge: The social media landscape is constantly shifting, and it seems there’s a steady stream of marketing think pieces encouraging you to join the newest, hottest social media platform.
2023 saw the introduction of Meta’s Threads, and while the initial uptake was swift (made easier by Meta’s decision to enable login via Instagram), the drop-off was just as steep. Within two months, its user base had decreased by 82%.
While people rushed onto Threads, and brands invested time and thought in establishing a presence there, the payoff hasn’t come.
Of course, the reverse is also true: TikTok has faced skepticism and threats of legal bans in the US, but its popularity hasn’t faded. And for B2C brands, it’s proven to be a powerful channel in their marketing strategy.
How to overcome it: So, how do you separate the passing fads from platforms with real potential? It won’t be evident immediately—the key is not investing too much time upfront in every new, splashy app.
Instead, claim your handle, then bide your time. If people are sticking around and the crowd aligns with your business, then you can invest in social media branding on the platform.
4. …And old social media platforms are changing (not always for the better)
The challenge: Businesses are facing additional hurdles on the other side of the social media spectrum—some tried-and-true channels are no longer as reliable as they were.
Pew Research Center’s recent survey of teens shows that the next generation is increasingly disinterested in some of the most established social media channels.
If either of these stalwart platforms were foundational to your marketing strategy, it might be time to rethink your overall social approach.
How to overcome it: Undertake an audit of your social media channels. Are they still serving your marketing goals? And if they’re not, what changes can you make to get more from them?
If you decide it’s time to exit any social channel, have a plan for reallocating that budget elsewhere—perhaps to other marketing efforts that are trending upward in terms of results.
5. Google has transitioned to GA4
The challenge: For many years, Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) helped businesses track user behavior on their websites. In 2023, Google did away with UA and replaced it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
The switch-over introduces some critical questions about data storage and reporting. GA4 tracks key metrics differently. You may lose out on the platform’s effectiveness if you haven’t configured GA4 properly.
As for data storage, you need a plan for retrieving and storing your old UA data. After July 1, 2024, Google will completely sunset UA, and you will lose that data forever. Additionally, GA4 data storage now comes with limits. While UA held onto your analytics data forever, free GA4 accounts cap storage at 14 months.
How to overcome it: If you haven’t updated your analytics configuration to account for the transition to GA4, now’s the time to do it! Learn about Google’s new way of tracking events to get the most out of your data.
Additionally, explore outside storage options for your old analytics information. Download your UA data by July 1, 2024, or you’ll lose it forever. And if you wish to store GA4 data beyond 14 months, investigate outside storage options (Google’s BigQuery is a paid solution that works seamlessly with GA4).
6. Audiences are more distracted than ever
The challenge: The average attention span these days is around 47 seconds.
For marketers, this means you have a very short window of time to communicate with your audience. You must get the most compelling nugget about your brand out there in 30 seconds or less. If what you say resonates, you might win an extra minute or two of someone’s time.
How to overcome it: Lean into communication styles meant to be consumed in little bites. Short-form videos (whether on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube) can effectively share key points about your brand.
When it comes to written content, opt for highly scannable formatting. A style guide like Axois’ Smart Brevity can help you communicate critical points in an easily digestible way.
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7. Accessibility is a growing consideration
The challenge: People are taking accessibility online seriously, which is wonderful! The more accessible your digital content is, the broader the audience you can reach with it.
The thing about accessibility is that it takes time to get right. From adding alt text to your online images to embracing CamelCase in your social media copy to rethinking your website’s color palette for proper contrast, there’s much to learn and implement.
CamelCase hashtags—where the first letter of each word is capitalized—make them legible for screen readers.
How to overcome it: Familiarize yourself with the basics of digital accessibility, then audit your assets to see where you can improve. The final step is implementation—breaking this into smaller tasks can make the effort more manageable and help keep you on track!
8. More people are living on mobile devices
The challenge: The majority of searches today originate on a mobile device. This has been true for several years, but the persistence of the trend indicates we won’t be reverting to a desktop-first world anytime soon.
If you haven’t considered how to make your digital assets mobile-friendly, make 2024 the year you invest in these efforts.
How to overcome it: Many of the gravest mobile sins occur on a business’s website. Use a tool to assess where your website falls short (Google Lighthouse is a free option). Once you know where there’s room for improvement, you can adjust your site accordingly.
9. Automation is helping your competitors
The challenge: AI isn’t relegated to only ChatGPT and select search engines. It’s making its way into marketing tools everywhere. If you’re not finding ways to power and streamline your workflow with AI, you may lag behind your competitors.
Canva’s Magic Studio allows you to type in conversational prompts that generate a set of images to use as jumping-off points for your design.
How to overcome it: Explore the dozens of ways AI can enhance your team’s work. Perhaps Canva’s Magic Studio can speed things up for your design team, or Google Ad’s AI enhancements can generate even more creative for your paid search campaigns.
10. New regulations may impact marketers
The challenge: As the digital world changes, governments and regulatory agencies are introducing new rules and laws to protect consumers from bad actors.
Those laws also affect marketers, particularly as guidelines around digital privacy and AI are created.
GDPR has been in effect in the EU since 2016, but US legislators are introducing more privacy guardrails yearly on a state-by-state basis, with the potential for federal legislation always looming.
How to overcome it: These laws may have far-ranging impacts for marketers—privacy concerns may change how you approach tracking and analytics, and AI rules may affect the tools that support your work.
This is another space where it pays to watch the headlines. It may also be worth engaging an outside firm with expertise in these areas. By hiring outside marketing experts who know the AI and data privacy landscape, you can feel confident they’ll help you navigate any future changes.
Overcome marketing challenges and embrace opportunities in 2024
While we’re certain to face some hurdles over the next 12 months, the opportunities for growth and advancement are also real.
By identifying potential challenges now, you set yourself up to scan the horizon for those risks while forging ahead with your innovative and exciting 2024 marketing plans. Here’s to much marketing success in the New Year!