Emerging trends in 2024 marketing

Here at Quinn Thomas, we partner with a diverse range of organizations, helping them navigate the dynamic world of marketing and communications. A key part of our role as marketers and communicators is staying on top of ever-evolving shifts in the social and digital landscape we rely on to reach our clients’ audiences.

The first half of 2024 has brought near-constant headlines around the TikTok ban, AI developments and other emerging technologies. Among these headlines are several exciting innovations and transformations that have been generating buzz in our agency. 

If you’re planning a campaign this year, here are a few emerging marketing trends to consider for your strategy.

Social as search

What comes to mind when you hear the words “search engine?” If your answer wasn’t TikTok, YouTube or Instagram, it might be time to optimize your search strategy. Social media has been rising in the ranks as a go-to search engine, especially among Gen Z and Millennials, with 31% of consumers turning to social for answers, product discovery or information over traditional engines like Google. (Hubspot, State of Marketing 2024 Report). 

Creating thought-provoking content could be your ticket to reaching diverse audiences in a refreshing and authentic way. As you plan campaigns, we recommend taking steps this year to hone your organic and paid strategy to position your organization and brand to appear via keywords not just on search engines, but on social media channels with well-placed, useful content.

Take carousels for a spin

Though not a new format, the carousel continues to shine as a cost-effective, engagement-boosting content medium for brands of all kinds. The carousel combines multiple videos or images into a single post and is driving high engagement for organic and paid content alike. If you have a conservative budget, carousels with static images are a great tool, as they allow you to leverage visual content and drive a visual narrative without needing to invest in video development. 

A few great use cases for the carousel are:

  •  Product discovery, such as showcasing a line of products or key features in one ad
  • Brand humor, like the “why’d you swipe” trend 
  • Comparing pros vs. cons

Several top brands like Duolingo use the carousel just as much as short-form video on platforms like TikTok while seeing the same levels of engagement, which helps them quickly create content to maintain active organic presence. Because they are designed to be interactive and scrollable, carousel posts inherently lead to more engagement with your content. 

Leverage short-form video

Short-form video is the #1 ad format in terms of ROI and will see the most growth in 2024 (Hubspot, State of Marketing 2024 Report). AT QT, we see videos under 30 seconds perform at higher rates, and video ads placed on TikTok, YouTube and Meta are consistently driving double the qualified traffic to our clients’ websites than static ads. Another budget-friendly option for short form video is user-generated content. These videos are less polished than a traditional testimonial or ad but make for a strong complement to your brand’s content by speaking your message from your customers’ or employees’ point of view. 
TikTok remains the go-to platform for short-form video, and though its future in the U.S. is uncertain, don’t let that keep you from leveraging it while audiences are still heavily using the app. Other short-form video channels to consider are Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and even LinkedIn, which recently launched a feed dedicated exclusively to short-form video content.

LinkedIn-fluencers take center-stage

Speaking of LinkedIn… it’s becoming the influencer channel that no one saw coming. LinkedIn is now incentivizing everyday professionals to post unique content, contribute content as experts in their field and gain a following like a page would; these prompts are attracting new and unexpected influencer deals, with a rise in partnerships showing up on most users’ feeds (Digiday). If your brand is focused on recruitment, retention and/or B2B marketing, finding an aligned LinkedIn influencer partner could make for an engaging tactic for connecting with job seekers, professionals and other businesses.

Channels to watch

We couldn’t end a blog on marketing trends without a few honorable mentions of channels worth keeping an eye on (or better yet, leveraging) this year. 

Pinterest: An often slept-on ad channel, Pinterest consistently reports solid user growth, retention, and brand affinity. Gen Z is the fastest growing audience on Pinterest, making up more than 40% of its global monthly users, searching and saving at higher rates than other generations. The platform released a Gen Z trend report with 6 key lessons for marketers if you’re curious to hear more. 

Reddit: Reddit went public this year, and they’ve launched new ad capabilities to celebrate. Their new “free-form ad” mimics a feed post and is meant to generate more engagement, with early tests showing promising results while boasting a 28% higher average click-through rate (CTR) compared to other ad types, along with increased community engagement when comments are enabled (Source). Moreover, Reddit users are incredibly loyal to the platform, with a reported 82 million (16.4%) of its 500 million users visiting the site daily (Source). Google’s recent Helpful Content Update (HCU) now allows platforms like Reddit and other forums to show up more frequently in search results. If you’re like me and see Reddit threads on first-page search results, your brand might want to start considering how to leverage the platform from both a paid and organic perspective. 

YouTube: Gen Z is the social video generation, and it trusts YouTube over any other platform. Audiences are thirsty to learn from credible creators and brands, which means finding YouTube creators to promote your brand on their channels might be your ticket to enhanced brand trust and audience connection this year. Like Instagram, YouTube is also primed to benefit from a potential TikTok ban.

Over to you

Do you plan to try any of these tactics this year? What other trends are on your radar as you look ahead in 2024? We’d love to hear what’s on your mind as you think through your marketing strategy this year. If you need a partner to help you navigate the ever-emerging trends and channel shifts, QT’s here to help.

This blog was authored by Quinn Thomas’ Director of Integrated Marketing Campaigns, MK Marti.