Digital Marketing Trends: Mid-Year Check-In

By Caitlin Carroll

In the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, staying informed about platform changes is crucial to ensure your strategy remains effective and competitive. Continuously adapting to new trends and advancements can help you better connect with your target audience and develop your short and long-term digital strategies.

User-Generated Content (UGC): A digital staple

Whether it be incorporating positive reviews on your eCommerce site, filling your socials with consumers’ photos using your product and/or service, or scaling ambassador programs for your business, UGC is quickly becoming a staple for B2C and B2B marketing strategies. Gartner reported that over 80% of consumers reported that UGC improves product discovery, brand trust and experience; additionally, a 2024 Gartner Survey shows that authenticity ranks as the third highest value U.S. consumers identify with (behind equity and loyalty). And if consumers value the voices of other users most, then integrating user-generated photos, reviews, comments and experiences into brand strategy is the logical next step.

How to take action:
  • Reviews and comments: With platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews and even the comment sections of socials, consumers are constantly sharing their experiences. Find the gems and rework them into testimonials for social posts, site content or even incorporate them into trade show collateral.
  • Monitor social media: Google Alerts don’t cut it these days. It’s good practice to check social mentions, tags, and keep a watchful eye over sentiment. When doing these routine checks, set aside posts you think would incorporate well into your content platforms.
  • Be mindful of regulations: Be sure to comply with applicable regulations, ask for permission to use people’s content, give credit and be mindful of legality when using UGC.

Social media decays as misinformation rises

Gartner reports that 53% of consumers believe the social media has decayed in the last five years, with reasons for the perceived decay ranging from toxic users, bot traffic and misinformation. Additionally, a Forbes Advisor Survey shows that 76% of consumers are concerned with misinformation from artificial intelligence. Despite user hesitancy, search engines and social platforms have already started to incorporate AI into their platforms: from Meta AI assistant, Grok on X and even Google AI overviews. While there’s no reason to abandon social media as a pillar of your digital strategy, it’s important to monitor the trajectory these platforms might be on.

How to take action:
  • Assess channels: Just because a platform was working for your brand last year doesn’t mean it’ll keep working. Be sure to monitor user concerns from channel to channel and remain agile in the social media landscape.
  • Invest in the old-school: SEO and email marketing aren’t trends – they’re tried and true methods. If users do begin to step away from social media, it’s good to have other digital marketing pillars in place.

Prioritizing first-party data

In 2025, Google Chrome will entirely phase out the use of third-party cookies; other browsers like Safari and Mozilla Firefox phased out third party cookies years ago, but Chrome is the go-to browser for an estimated 63% of internet users. As third-party cookies deprecate, digital marketers are having to pivot their PPC and paid social strategies and conversion tracking.

How to take action:
  • Audit use of third-party cookies: Scan your website for third-party cookies currently in use and if they are used in your retargeting or conversion tracking.
  • Scope out first-party alternatives: Social platforms are keenly aware that their pixels won’t have much or any lucrative data to build audiences from in a year. They’ve been prepping for this with look-alike audiences, AI enhanced audiences and creating first-party alternatives to their current third-party tools.

Let’s talk!

If you’re interested in taking your marketing efforts to the next level, the Signal team is ready to help. Contact us to learn how we can assist you in UGC efforts, pivoting toward SEO and email marketing, or making sure your paid campaigns are ready to be sustained on first-party cookies.

Caitlin Carroll

Digital Marketing Specialist

Originally from Charlotte, NC, Caitlin joined Signal in 2023 upon graduation from NC State University with a B.A. in Communication Media. She served as social media manager and content creator for NC State’s WKNC radio station. Caitlin is certified in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Google Analytics, with special skills in social media management, paid social, and content writing. She currently resides in Raleigh and enjoys reality TV, board games, walking outdoors, and listening to music.

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