Virtual Marketers Monthly Mashup: March 2024


This month we're talking about some significant digital marketing shifts, including the rise of AI-generated videos, Google's comprehensive core update, Meta's advertising enhancements, changes in Gen Z's search preferences, and the implications of a potential TikTok ban in the US.

Senior Marketing Manager
March 25, 2024
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

Welcome back to the Mashup! It certainly has been March Madness with a whirlwind of innovation and change across the digital marketing world. From the rise of AI-generated videos captivating audiences on X and LinkedIn, to significant shifts in how we approach search with Google's comprehensive March 2024 core update. Meta's leap forward with enhancements to Advantage+ and Shopping Ads promises to reshape online advertising, while the changing preferences of Gen Z reveal a new battleground for local search dominance, and the looming TikTok ban in the US raises questions for us here in NZ. Dive into this month's update below!

  1. An Explosion of AI Generated Video
  2. Google’s March 2024 Core Update
  3. Meta Boosts Brand Engagement
  4. Google Challenged by Social Media Giants Among Gen Z Shoppers
  5. What the TikTok Ban Means for NZ
Source: Sora, OpenAI

1. An Explosion of AI Generated Video

This month if you’ve been spending a lot of time on X and LinkedIn you will likely have seen the influx of AI-generated videos, which is of course a huge and super exciting leap forward in digital content creation. Leading the charge are two groundbreaking tools currently in the testing phase and accessible to a select group of users: OpenAI's Sora and Google's Lumiere. These platforms are leading what many industry experts predict to be a transformative wave across the entire media industry. The potential of these AI-driven video creation tools is massive, promising not only to enhance the way we produce and consume digital media but also to introduce new challenges and opportunities, as AI always does! 

Source: Target Internet

2. Google’s March 2024 Core Update

Google’s March 2024 core update was aimed at refining the quality of its search results, along with a series of spam updates, and the integration of its helpful content system into the core ranking framework. These changes are part of Google's ongoing efforts to decrease unhelpful content in search results by 40%, as shared by Elizabeth Tucker, Director of Product, Search at Google. This ambitious update is apparently more complex than typical core updates, involving modifications across multiple core systems. 

Furthermore, Google updated its spam policies to tackle new and emerging threats, including scaled content abuse and expired domain abuse, with enforcement through both automated algorithms and manual actions. This update underscores Google's commitment to improving search result quality and user experience, addressing both the proliferation of low-quality content and the evolving landscape of search engine optimisation.

Source: Search Engine Land

Source: Meta

3. Meta Boosts Brand Engagement

In March, Meta announced significant upgrades to its Advantage+ and Shopping Ads, designed to boost brand engagement, increase conversions, and provide personalised ad experiences. Highlights include the introduction of hero images in Advantage+ catalogue ads, allowing advertisers to feature a standout image. 

Meta is also expanding eCommerce ad options, including enhanced integrations with Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and merging Advantage+ shopping campaigns with Shops ads. New features like Reminder ads now support external links, and advertisers can use alphanumeric promo codes in ads, making promotions more accessible. Additionally, Meta is extending ads with product tags to the Facebook Feed, a feature already popular on Instagram, enhancing product visibility and shopping convenience.

Source: Wildcat Digital

4. Google Challenged by Social Media Giants Among Gen Z Shoppers

Big news! A recent report from SOCi reveals that Google has lost its top spot as the go-to platform for Gen Z users seeking local businesses, with Instagram (67%) and TikTok (62%) now leading the charge. This decline to third place (61%) signals a significant change in search behaviour among younger consumers, highlighting the growing influence of social media when checking out local businesses. 

While Google continues to dominate among older demographics, the broadening appeal of social media as a resource for finding local businesses indicates a more competitive environment. Moreover, the emergence of ChatGPT represents another burgeoning challenge to Google's supremacy in search. These developments come as Google introduces updates to its search services, including the incorporation of the Gemini AI model into Google Ads, suggesting a response to evolving market dynamics and the necessity for marketers to adapt strategies in reaching and engaging Gen Z consumers.

Source: Marketing Dive

5. What the TikTok Ban Means for NZ

As the United States edges closer to banning TikTok over concerns about its parent company ByteDance's ties to China, the ripple effects are felt globally, including in New Zealand. The House of Representatives has already passed a measure demanding TikTok divest from ByteDance or face a ban, stirring significant debate about the implications for content creators and small businesses reliant on the platform. 

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew vows to fight the ban, emphasising the financial impact on creators and businesses. With TikTok's significant contribution to the US economy and job market, the ban could have far-reaching consequences. Here in New Zealand we have already banned TikTok on government devices due to security concerns, and it’ll be interesting to keep watching closely as these developments unfold. It certainly raises questions about the future of digital content creation and the balance between national security and economic interests.

Source: RNZ

So, I’m sure you can agree that March has brought some major shifts in the digital marketing world. The emergence of AI-generated video tools like Sora and Lumiere showcases the future of content creation, while Google's latest core update reflects its ongoing battle against low-quality content. Meta is offering new opportunities for brands to connect with their audience, and the changing search habits of Gen Z highlight the evolving landscape of online discovery. Finally, the potential TikTok ban in the US is a great way to see the complex interplay between technology, politics, and global digital strategy. We’ll be back next month with even more digital marketing fun! Catch you then.

One-Off Fundamentals