How SMBs are approaching digital marketing in 2024

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A new report released this month by Intero Digital (disclosure: I previously worked with Intero), “Revolutionizing Reach: The 2024 Digital Marketing Landscape You Can’t Ignore,” checks the yearly pulse for the digital spending and marketing activities of its SMB clients. 

The report covers a wide digital landscape and includes the results of their client survey, as well as insights and strategies for addressing the pain points and goals marketers face this year. Some of the key coverage areas include:

  • Digital marketing spending trends.
  • Top digital marketing goals for 2024.
  • Content marketing trends.
  • Emerging trends and data in Amazon marketing.
  • Emerging trends in paid advertising.
  • Transformation in the SEO space.
  • Influencer marketing.
  • Video marketing tactics and strategy.

Let’s look at a few highlights and key insights from the report.

Key digital marketing priorities for SMBs in 2024

The first finding should not surprise those actively engaged in digital marketing across various industries, verticals, niches and three-letter acronyms like “B2C” and “B2B”. The most important thing on digital marketer’s minds in 2024 is revenue growth, prioritized as the top goal by 79% of respondents. 

While “growth” is something of a given for most marketers, it is still worth stating, if only to get it out of the way and focus on the digital marketing strategies and activities that actually drive it. But for the digital marketers in this survey, what really matters is the final result – the bottom line.

Marketers aren’t backing down this year in their quest for growth, with 46.2% planning to increase spending, zero percent decreasing and 53.8% planning to stay the same.

Digital marketing spend in 2024 - survey questionDigital marketing spend in 2024 - survey question

The biggest digital marketing pain points for 2024

The path to revenue growth and lead generation is filled with obstacles, and the survey respondents also outlined many of their common and shared challenges.

Biggest pain points in 2024 - survey questionBiggest pain points in 2024 - survey question

Aside from revenue, the top pain points were lead generation, budget constraints, competition and changing algorithms and SEO best practices. While these points are cited individually, they are oftentimes interconnected. 

Competition is fierce everywhere marketers are chasing the bottom line across many different digital channels, and it doesn’t appear things will settle down any time soon. 

When competition is fierce, more investment is often needed to be competitive, be it paid or earned media. This leads to the pain point of effectively measuring digital marketing ROI.

Budget constraints often stem from ineffective measurement and tracking systems. Ultimately, what’s crucial is a comprehensive and well-executed digital marketing strategy and tactical plan, whether focusing on a single channel or across multiple channels.

Up to 7.7% of respondents had branding as a pain point. Building a brand across crowded and competitive digital spaces can be challenging this year, as it takes a lot of work, budget and time. Combined with multiple other pain points, marketers have a lot of work ahead of them this year.

The top digital marketing goals for 2024

Biggest goals in 2024 - survey questionBiggest goals in 2024 - survey question

In the “Biggest Goals” section of the survey, “Revenue growth” topped the list at 79.5%, then dropped a bit for each of the supporting goals. In second place were “More web traffic” and “Higher positioning in the SERPs” (each at 38.5%). 

Interestingly, while lead generation was the number two biggest pain point (33.3%), it came in fifth place for the biggest goal (30.8%). Are the lead generators giving up? Nope. With the close percentages, it appears they’re consistent with their priorities.

It is also interesting to see brand awareness and thought leadership prominently in this goal list (33.3%), especially when it is often difficult to attribute to revenue and it was not as much of a pain point. 

The biggest barrier to entry for thought leadership is actually having the best ideas and insight. For those who do, this can be one of the easiest goals to accomplish in 2024.

Again, when done well, it can complement and drive goals of more traffic, higher positioning, more growth, more qualified leads and so on.

Content marketing insights

Another interesting part of this study was a review of over 100,00 pieces of content. In their analysis, Intero found that the “most-shared” content had an average word count of 552, down considerably from the previous year’s analysis of 792 words. 

The implication is that messaging was more important than being wordy, at least in the social context. For marketers competing in the SEO space with higher word counts, a balance should be struck in the content strategy to emphasize both channels through content.

Marketing publishers are also looking to diversify their content in 2024 beyond the written word. Some top asset types utilized by digital marketers this year include video (41% of marketers utilizing), podcasts (41%) and the top diversified activity, newsletters (47%).

Top asset types for SMBs in 2024Top asset types for SMBs in 2024

About the report

This article touches on only a few points from the report, which is based on 50 client responses, providing strategic insights on digital marketing tactics and approaches for the year.

Will next year’s survey bring significant changes, or will things remain unchanged? It’s uncertain, but one thing is clear: the digital landscape is evolving rapidly, offering opportunities for early adopters to thrive in various channels despite competition.

All images in this report were provided by Intero Digital. You can download the full report here (registration required). 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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