5 Trends Shaping the Future of Digital Experiences in 2024
For marketers, the ability to adapt has become a predictable yet ironically constant challenge, keeping us on our toes in anticipation of the unexpected. Next year will be no different, with the familiar challenges of tight budgets and even leaner teams but with the welcomed introduction of exciting technology innovation that promises to help us work faster and deliver better customer experiences.
One thing we can all agree on, at least 89% of marketers, according to ON24 research, is that digital experiences have become our secret weapon to generate leads. Our constant that delivers predictable revenue growth regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Now, let’s dive into the key takeaways from the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Virtual Events Applications 2023–2024 Vendor Assessment, which uncovered five key digital experience and event trends that not only defined 2023 but will continue shaping our strategies in the coming year.
1. Digital engagement: Redefining attendee interaction
With attendee expectations continuously growing, the days of passive experiences are gone. Today’s audiences are expecting to be involved, informed and engaged even after the event is done. According to IDC, more and more organizations are connecting their engagement metrics to marketing and CRM systems. With marketing teams now also being held accountable for pipeline numbers, connecting your CRM or MAP to your webinar software is key.
There are a couple of different ways you can measure the success of your digital engagement:
- Engagement score based on participation, engagement and use of webinar features.
- Attendees and qualified attendees. How many people watched your webinar? How many of those were qualified and fit your target prospect profile?
2. AI and machine learning (ML): Personalization made simple
Generative AI (Gen AI) and machine learning are revolutionizing digital engagement platforms, enabling quick product innovation. Real-time engagement, personalized experiences and content are becoming standard best practices. As gen AI adoption continues to grow, marketers will also use the technology to generate other forms of personalized content such as videos and nurture pages.
GenAI is not replacing marketers but helping us work faster and more efficiently.
3. Events are no longer one-off tactics
IDC report notes that companies are embracing a series of virtual events, often complemented by in-person gatherings, supported by online communities and on-demand content. This new approach encourages always-on engagement before, during and after digital experiences. Marketers only have to create one piece of content, the digital experience itself, and the technology can help automate email reminders before and follow-ups after the fact with AI-generated content.
According to the recent ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report, over a third of all webinar attendance was on-demand, emphasizing the importance of a truly integrated strategy.
4. Brands want fans: Fostering long-term engagement
Brands are shifting their focus from customers to fans. The integration of communities, like the ON24 Webinerd community, helps companies establish long-term engagement that extends beyond individual events. With one-way communication, you risk alienating your key audiences, which is why it’s so important to create a dialogue and foster a sense of community.
Communities provide an organic way for customers to connect with peers, build their knowledge by swapping tips, tricks and best practices, network and celebrate their successes.
5. First-party data: Leveraging a competitive advantage
With the acceleration of removing browser-tracking cookies in enterprise marketing, virtual events are becoming increasingly important as a source of first-party data. First-party data, collected directly from consumers from webinars, events, and communities, becomes crucial for identifying audience behaviors, their path to purchase and the best ways to reach them – it becomes a valuable competitive advantage.
Read our “B2B Trends: Harnessing the Power of First-Party Data” report to learn more about the power of first-party data.
To achieve growth in 2024, we must focus on scaling digital engagement. It requires optimizing every touchpoint, extracting deep audience insights and fostering customer engagement. To ensure our marketing plans are future-ready and we generate predictable pipeline growth even in the most difficult of times, we must create unwavering customer relationships by providing highly personalized, authentic and continuous experiences.
It’s not about embracing a fleeting trend that won’t be relevant in three years’ time but thinking about which ones will make a difference for your customers and will stand the test of time.