Short-form videos will drive agencies to tailor their strategies

Hashtag’s Amer Massimi outlines the key trends and transformations he sees happenings across 2024

The ongoing shift toward digital agencies has been a gradual evolution, but the forthcoming year is poised to be the epicentre of transformative change. 

2024 promises to be a pivotal moment where the impact of this shift becomes unmistakably clear. As we stand on the start of this transformative year, the unfolding trends in digital agencies captivate our anticipation for an interesting and impactful journey ahead.

In the dynamic landscape of digital and social marketing, the year 2024 brings a lot of predictions and shifts that promise to reshape the future of agencies.

With a surge in social media users and an accompanying increase in marketing spend, the positive outlook for social media marketing is undeniable.

This essay focuses on key trends and transformations I see happenings across 2024:

Social media usage dominance: Statistics indicate a noteworthy increase in social media users and marketing spend. 107 per cent of the United Arab Emirates’ total internet user base used at least one social media platform, and more than 79 per cent of the Saudi population uses at least one social platform, the attention is shifting fast and brands are dedicating a bigger pie of their spend on organic and paid social content.

AI Revolution in marketing: As agencies strive to enhance their capabilities, the integration of artificial intelligence tools is set to skyrocket. AI will be the linchpin for agencies aiming to optimise campaigns, analyse data and refine targeting strategies. This technological leap will distinguish good agencies from exceptional ones, propelling the latter to new heights of efficiency and innovation. 

Video content proliferation: The emergence of platforms like Reels and TikTok has introduced a new era for marketing content. Video content is predicted to surge exponentially, with clients prioritising engaging formats. The unrivalled reach of short-form videos will drive agencies to tailor their strategies, focusing on short format videos with engaging stories from UGC formats to CGI recent popularity.

Talent scarcity: With the increasing demand for high-quality content, agencies will find themselves in a scramble for skilled talent. The role of content creators becomes paramount as agencies seek individuals capable of producing compelling and innovative content. The war for talent intensifies, challenging agencies to attract and retain the best in the field. 

Influencer marketing dominance: Influencer marketing is slated to claim a lion’s share of clients’ budgets, emerging as a top-tier marketing channel. The growth of influencers as brand ambassadors is unprecedented. Agencies will need to adeptly navigate this space, forging authentic partnerships to leverage the influencer’s audience and credibility. 

Rise of ‘brandformance’: The decline of organic reach on social media platforms necessitates a harmonious blend of paid and organic strategies—giving rise to brandformance. Clients will increasingly demand measurable results without neglecting the branding aspect, pushing agencies to craft strategies that seamlessly integrate both paid and organic efforts to maximise brand visibility and engagement. 

E-commerce integration: With the rise of shoppable content on social media, digital agencies may need to integrate e-commerce elements into their clients’ social strategies. This could include optimising product listings, implementing buy buttons, and creating seamless pathways for users to make purchases directly within social platforms.

Localized marketing emphasis: Recognising the importance of local searches within social platforms, digital agencies might emphasise localised marketing strategies. This involves tailoring content to local cultures, leveraging local influencers, and creating localised content.

Sustainability and social responsibility: Consumers, especially Gen Z, are becoming more conscious of environmental and social issues. Digital agencies could focus on helping brands integrate sustainability and social responsibility into their narratives, aligning with the values of socially conscious consumers and helping brands embrace and activate their purpose.

Specialisation and agency consolidation: Niche agencies, focusing on specific areas of expertise, will deliver the best value to clients. Bigger networks will focus on acquiring and merging with digital agencies in their everlasting efforts to catch up and create consolidated entities that offer one-stop solutions continuing the trend started a couple of years ago. 

The future of a digital agency is poised to be as dynamic and ever-changing as the platforms they navigate. In this highly-competitive landscape, only the most lean, adaptive and innovative agencies will not only survive but also lead the way, shaping the next era of digital and social marketing.

By Amer Massimi, CEO at Hashtag Social Media Agency