Marketing Trends & Insights: April 2024

Updated on
May 1, 2024

Let's break down a few trends we've been seeing lately in the industry:

  1. AI Updates
  2. Localization
  3. TikTok and the Data Privacy Landscape

AI Updates

AI is Changing Search Engines

Generative AI has been integrated into multiple search engines—but its’ still in the initial phases. We have yet to see how much this could disrupt organic traffic and digital ad campaigns.  

  • In SGE (Search Generative Environment), ads are displayed toward the bottom of the AI-generated responses. Opposite of the current experience, where sponsored ads typical appear at the top. 

Potentially, people won’t click on ads as much, and that reduces revenue for Google in a big way.

  • Experts estimate that SGE could cause the publishing industry to lose up to $2B annually. 
  • If Google makes a lot less money showing SGE, they might not show SGE for that query.

OpenAI is making ChatGPT free for everyone with no login required. 

  • More accessibility means that ChatGPT can be improved from the data collected, which will make it more likely to draw more users. 
  • This could add to the disruption in the industry.

Not only would search engine results be affected, AI could also make it possible for users to bypass ads on every webpage. 

  • Rather than having to scroll through the webpage to scan for information and see an ad in the meantime, someone could use an AI program like Arc Search to summarize the webpage and give them key notes—and they would never see an ad. 
  • Wearable and voice-activated tech also lack opportunities for advertising.
    • With devices like Meta’s Ray Bans or Humane’s AI Pin where people can search by voice, there is currently no opportunity to serve an ad in those search results.

Localization

Recent Insights

Technology is changing the localization landscape.

  • AI tools are making translation and transcreation table stakes for brands even in nuanced/compliance-centric industries like pharma.
  • Tag Americas just hired a new Head of Localization whose experience is in the “language-technology ecosystem”.
  • Translators are now protectors of quality.

Localization can’t come at the expense of brand recognition.

  • When choosing between two similar products, 76% of respondents will opt for the one with information in their language. 
  • But 69% of respondents saying they would choose major brands they recognise over those with information in their own language.

Cultural adaptation can’t be a box to check.

  • The brands that succeed here will be the ones that work to understand the values and traditions of the regions they market to.
  • Some instances require technical translation expertise.

Tools and Strategies

  • Machine Translation (MT) and Neural Machine Translation (NMT) - the latter being more complex and contextual
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) services - recognize, understand, and generate text
  • Localization workflows either in existing tech stacks or additional tools
  • OpenAI’s whisper for natural sounding VOs in other languages
  • Multilingual SEO - a strategy that considers cultural nuances in search behaviors
  • Custom GPTs to scale customer support
  • Localized social media and influencer strategies

A Few Examples

  • McDonald’s created a walk-thru billboard with the copy “Fancy a moment to just enjoy?” in the UK.
  • Royal Caribbean launched a Mother’s Day campaign with ads featuring common phrases said by moms and adapted the copy to the culture of each country.
  • IKEA raised awareness for a new store opening in Malaysia with a campaign that played off of the phonetic similarity between some Penang Hokkien words and IKEA. One example—“We are not Kay Kia. We are IKEA.” Kay Kia is the Hokkien word for “chick”.
  • Nintendo localizes their games as they’re being built and designed. They have a team of experts that translate, market, and delivery the game in a way that’s tailored to their different audiences and regions.

TikTok and the Data Privacy Landscape

TikTok Ban Looming

While 67% of B2C marketers in the U.S. plan to increase their investment in TikTok this year, the U.S. government is getting closer to a ban on the platform. 

What’s happening?

  • A bill that would give TikTok 165 days to be sold or banned passed in the Congress and Senate and has been signed into law by the president. 
  • One of the main drivers of this bill is concern for data privacy.
    • With “Project Texas”, TikTok aimed to separate U.S. data, but evidence was found in January that U.S. data was still being shared with TikTok’s parent company in China. 
  • Brands will likely pivot to using Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

What’s the broader context?

  • Another bill is moving forward that would ban U.S. data brokers from sharing user data with foreign adversaries. 
  • The FTC has fined multiple companies recently for tracking and selling browsing and location data. 
  • Google is deleting millions of browsing records after a lawsuit alleged that it was tracking data in their “incognito” browser mode.

Data Privacy Prioritization

Google is rolling out their plan to get rid of third-party cookies by the end of the year, and there’s more emphasis than ever on transparency and limited data collection. 

  • Pixels are being used more widely—like cookies, they activate when a user loads a webpage and they collect user information. 
  • Google created an open-source marketing mix model called Meridian to help with measuring capabilities across their products.
    • Meridian will help collect metrics like reach and frequency to help with budget optimization—but lacks the same level of granularity with cookies.  
  • Brands have also been using metadata to buy better as inventory on the web and media on CTV. 
    • Metadata provides information about the environment of an ad, rather than personal information about users, which can lead marketers toward better inventory.

Sources

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