Current Trends Shaping Marketing: Navigating a Cookie-less Future, Social Search, Video Content, Influencers and More

by Susan Mullin

In a recent Lunch and Learn session hosted by TorchLight, we delved into the latest trends shaping the marketing landscape. Our experts, Diana Gardner, Account Director at TorchLight, and Beth Wallace, President and Founder of TorchLight Marketing, shared their insights on everything from the rise of social media as a search engine to the future of marketing in a cookie-less world. Drawing from their extensive experience and deep understanding of the industry, they shed light on how these trends are redefining the way we approach marketing. Here’s a recap of the key takeaways from the session:

cookie crumbling

The Cookie-less future 

As browser software increasingly prohibits the use of cookies, marketers will need to rely more on their first-party data. This trend represents a significant challenge for marketers, who will need to find new ways to track conversions and remarket to customers in the absence of cookies. However, it also presents an opportunity to build more transparent, trust-based relationships with customers. This shift necessitates an investment in technology like customer data platforms (CDPs) and clean rooms to organize and protect this data. A clean room is a space for sharing data with a marketing partner or another party that ensures that one party is not stealing from the other and that everything stays “clean.” Universal IDs and identity graphs will also become increasingly important for tracking users across platforms.

Social media as a search engine

The digital landscape is witnessing a significant shift, with younger generations increasingly using social media platforms as search engines to find product information. This trend is particularly prevalent among users ages 18 to 24. Said users are reportedly using social media for product research more often than Google.

This shift necessitates a new approach from marketers. They need to optimize their social media channels to ensure their products appear when potential buyers are searching on social platforms. This means creating engaging, informative content that can be easily discovered through social media searches. 

The power of video

Video content continues to be the primary way consumers learn about brands and products. A majority of consumers, around 66%, prioritize short-form videos over long-form videos, according to a 2022 survey by Sprout Social. This trend underscores the importance of incorporating video into your marketing strategy. Effective video content strategies include micro-learning, where brands provide short, informative videos on how to use their products. Examples include product teasers, which generate excitement about upcoming product releases; user-generated content, which leverages the power of customer testimonials; and expert testimonials, which lend credibility to your brand. 

The continual rise of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword in the marketing industry and for good reason! AI-powered tools, like ChatGPT, can enhance creative and idea-generation processes to optimize workflows. Marketers increasingly leverage AI to aid in reporting, automation, and media buying. While concerns exist around the accuracy of automatically-generated content, job loss and others, a strong understanding of AI is an essential item in your marketing toolbox.

Influencer marketing 

Influencer marketing is another significant trend in the marketing landscape that continues to drive results for many brands. Interestingly, non-celebrity influencers often have the most impact. These influencers are regular individuals who have built a substantial following and partnered with companies to promote their products. This approach has proven to be highly effective, with influencer marketing accounting for $16.4 million in spending in 2022. The success of influencer marketing lies in the authenticity and relatability of the influencers. Oftentimes, they are seen as more trustworthy than traditional celebrities.

Employee brand activation 

Companies are also leveraging their employees as brand evangelists, encouraging them to promote their employer’s brand organically on social media. This approach helps drive engagement and is another creative workaround as marketers navigate a cookie-less future. Employee brand activation is about harnessing the power of your workforce to amplify your brand message. When employees share their positive experiences with a company, it can significantly boost the company’s reputation and reach. 

The future of marketing is multi-faceted, with social search, video content, influencer marketing and employee brand activation all playing significant roles. However, the shift towards a cookie-less future is perhaps the most critical trend. It requires marketers to rethink their strategies and invest in new technologies to continue to effectively reach their target customers.

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Posted in , Content Marketing, Digital Marketing