The State of Digital Marketing in 2024 

Digital marketing has entered a new era where algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) rule the day. Ryan Deiss, CEO of DigitalMarketer, spent some time discussing the state of digital marketing at the recent Traffic & Conversion Summit. He identified the top trends in the industry and explained how marketing professionals can successfully navigate them.

To grasp what matters most to digital marketers right now, Ryan talked to community members. These are the issues that came out on top.

AI Is Everywhere

Here’s some news that probably won’t surprise you—AI is the number one concern of marketers. They’re wondering how to leverage it and what problems it will cause.

Ryan explains that AI has created two groups: mass consumers and mass creators. It’s up to marketers to decide which of those groups they’re going to join.

Algorithm-First (Not Follower-First)

Social channels have shifted their focus from followers to algorithms, so people see suggested pages instead of posts by friends and family. The one exception to this rule? Email.

It’s the sole marketing channel that remains follower-first, and marketers should double down on it.

Acquisition Costs Are Still Going Up

Ad prices increased across every major platform when Apple effectively killed third-party cookies in 2020, and they haven’t stopped. Meta and Google will keep eating ad budgets for the foreseeable future.

3 Tactics Every Marketer Needs

These trends might set off some alarm bells, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Ryan outlined a plan that can help you overcome them.

Call-Out Ads

When algorithms take over, you need broad demographic targeting with specific audience call-outs, such as:

  • Attention dog owners…
  • Do you manage 3 or more remote employees?
  • Hey, independent gym owners

You can’t control what the algorithms do, but you can control which people you call out in text or video ads.

The “Mind-Reader” Ad Method

To put the next tactic into context, Ryan defines the levels of buyer awareness:

  • Unaware: don’t know they have a problem and have no knowledge of your business
  • Problem aware: know they have a problem but don’t know what solutions are available
  • Solution aware: know solutions exist but aren’t sure which they need
  • Product aware: know your product exists but don’t have enough information to buy
  • Most aware: know about your product and just need a good reason to buy it

Most marketing campaigns target solution-aware prospects when they should focus on the problem-aware group. You can do that by forming problem statements, such as:

  • “I can’t get my funnel to scale to cold traffic…”
  • “Why aren’t my Facebook ads working?”
  • “I just need more leads!”

Ryan suggests brainstorming by talking to your customer support department, sales teams, and customers. You can also use ChatGPT to generate problem statements from the customer’s perspective.

Use these statements in verbatim ads. See which ones connect the best with your audience, then make them the foundation of optimized ads.

The “Ready Now?” Funnel

When ad prices go up, you should structure your funnel so you can spend more, not less. For that to happen, you’ll need to target the right groups of prospects:

  • Never: buyers who wound up on your list but will never buy from you
  • Later: prospects who might buy at some point down the line
  • Now: leads that are ready to make a purchase

Ryan says that the key is to identify the members of the “now” group. The easiest way to do that? Ask them.

When you drive traffic to your landing page and capture email addresses, include a qualifying question. If prospects are unqualified, send them through the typical sales funnel, complete with upselling.

As for those qualified leads, the next step is to find out if they’re ready. Ask them to book a meeting, schedule a demo, or register for a webinar to measure their level of readiness. If they follow through, you’ll move them directly to your highest ticket item, ultimately increasing your ROAs.

Learn More From T&C 2024

Ryan acknowledges that these aren’t revolutionary concepts in digital marketing. They’re fundamentals that every marketer should learn inside and out. Once you’ve done that, you can enhance them with new developments like AI.

As an entrepreneur, you’re used to multi-tasking, but you can’t be everywhere at once. Fortunately, T&C 2024 had hundreds of hours of tactical content spread over three content-packed days, and we recorded every minute of it. Grab your T&C recordings now to get more valuable insights!

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