Top 10 factors shaping digital
stakeholder engagement in 2024

Richard Dixon


As we step into the new year, it's customary for us to reflect on the emerging trends shaping the communications landscape. The dynamic nature of the digital world makes predictions challenging, but there are evident shifts and technologies on the horizon that promise to redefine the way we engage and communicate.

1. Accelerated Digital Engagement 

The impact of digital transformation on communication, hastened by the effects of COVID-19 and remote working, is undeniable. A notable trend is the intensified focus on authentic digital engagement. This includes a move towards increased investment in digital communications and campaigns, leveraging AI for richer and more engaging content, deploying surveys for deeper stakeholder insights, incorporating gamification to enhance engagement, and a renewed emphasis on measurement for continuous improvement. 

2. Omnichannel Execution

Your stakeholders are increasingly active on multiple devices and platforms, and with the increasing stagnation of social (see below), and the rising concerns of data privacy (see below) adopting an omnichannel strategy is of increasing importance. Make it easy for your followers, subscribers, investors, customers and the media to connect with you wherever they go. This doesn’t mean use every channel, rather focus on the channels where your stakeholders are active and engage with you. Provide a seamless experience with interconnected channels to encourage greater adoption and engagement. This approach will deliver the best results and maximise your reach. With stakeholders active across diverse devices and platforms, adopting an omnichannel strategy is crucial. Rather than spreading thin across all channels, the emphasis is on identifying and prioritizing channels where stakeholders are most active. This approach ensures a seamless experience, fostering greater adoption and engagement.

3. Sustainable Communications

Sustainability as we all know is top of the corporate and consumer agenda. Billions of pounds of investment funds are focused on sustainable companies, and ESG factors increasingly affect investor decision making.

According to PWC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, more than 70% of customers said that they were willing to pay more for sustainably-produced goods. This positive trend enables customers to use their purchase power to align with their social concerns, and it offers companies pricing power for a product or service that addresses these concerns.

Communicating your sustainability strategy, and the impact of your approach is of increasing importance. Companies that clearly communicate their approach, a clear understanding of their material issues and the impact of their sustainable work will directly affect long-term success and brand reputation. Your digital communications enable you to bring this story to life with rich and engaging content that evidences your wider value-creation story and the positive impact on wider society.

Secondly, applying sustainable technology will rise up the agenda. This includes minimising the environmental impact of your digital communications with more sustainable energy usage, green cloud computing, low carbon websites and offsetting. There will be a greater focus on how companies minimise the carbon footprint of how they engage with stakeholders digitally.

4. Social Media in Transition

It’s going to be another fascinating year for social media! In 2024, social media platforms will continue to battle for attention, and there are key shifts underway.

  • Facebook referral traffic has cratered over the past 3 years and in the US Facebook parent Meta is being sued by 41 states that allege its products are addictive and harmful to kids.
  •  X (formerly Twitter) has seen usage of the platform plunge during Elon Musk’s first year as owner. 
  • TikTok faces growing bans around the world.

By contrast 2 platforms look set for success:

LinkedIn dominance

From 2018 to 2023, 60% of institutional investors increased their social media usage post-pandemic, with 77% using LinkedIn at least weekly and 47% using it daily. Professionals are seeking connectivity and guidance as they navigate a complex and noisy marketplace, and for this reason, LinkedIn remains the platform where professionals are most active.

LinkedIn is a driving force behind brand awareness, given its reputation as a company’s ‘shop window’ that can drive traffic towards the more in-depth corporate website. Of the total companies present on the platform in January 2023:

  • 2.7 million post at least weekly,
  • leading them to have 5.6x more followers than Pages that post monthly, and
  • a following that grows 7x faster

LinkedIn is also 277% more effective at generating leads (eg. website traffic) than Facebook or Twitter, with B2B marketers reporting that 80% of their social media leads are generated via LinkedIn. This demonstrates the opportunity for brand awareness and user engagement for companies that dedicate resource towards their LinkedIn presence.

Threads is on the rise

Meta launched Threads in July 2023 and now claims to have 100 million monthly users, a number which will no doubt rise as it finally went live last week in the European Union. A rival and alternative to X, Threads is used primarily for sharing text updates and joining public conversations. As a bare minimum, brands should have a presence on Threads, even if it’s just getting a username because users look set to rise in 2024.

It will be increasingly important to create content that’s worth talking about & sharing. With the rise of AI, your content needs to be more authentic and better quality than content generated by AI.

5. Focus on Employee Digital Experience

Factors like remote work, training needs, and cultural integration are driving a focus on enhancing the digital experience for employees. According to Quantum Metric 1 in 4 companies state that gaps in the employee experience have hurt business growth. Addressing gaps in employee experience is crucial, as companies prioritize digital solutions for collaboration, empowerment, and service delivery.

6. Resurgence of Email

Amidst increasing privacy concerns and regulations limiting third-party data usage, email is making a comeback. Companies are turning to first-party data for personalized communication, emphasizing the need for direct and tailored messages.

7. Application of AI

AI will undoubtedly transform how we communicate and engage online. Examples of how AI will ring in the changes are:

  • Content velocity – through the application of AI to generate content that can then be curated and delivered more rapidly to your different stakeholder groups. Not replacing the authentic expert content, but enabling a transformation in the speed at which content can be delivered
  • Imagery and video – gone will be the days of looking for specific imagery or assets to support content. AI will enable the production and delivery of content at the touch of a button.
  • Interactivity and information delivery – AI combined with Chatbots will enable a more targeted and accurate response to queries through websites, portals, and e-commerce sites that will better inform and enable your stakeholders to find the content and answers to queries they are looking for.

8. Changing Face of Search

Being visible to your stakeholders is critical to both attract and engage with your stakeholders through digital channels. This is an ever-shifting landscape, but 2024 will see some significant changes:

Google’s Search Generative Engine (SGE)

Google’s SGE is transforming the search experience with generative AI. The goal is to provide more relevant and comprehensive information to users based on questions. SGE also provides relevant links and has a conversational mode where users can follow up with more questions – in essence, have a conversation with Google. The experience is due to be rolled out in 2024 and could have a huge impact on search beyond 2024.

Content needs to be worthy

It will be increasingly important to create content that’s worth talking about & sharing. This has always been key but will be even more so in 2024. Bear in mind that with the rise of AI, your content needs to be more authentic and better quality than content generated by AI.

Create content you can EEAT

Google’s EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) framework is not a ranking factor but a component of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. While this framework has existed for a decade, this year Google added an extra E for ‘Experience’.

This is hugely significant as AI cannot generate real-world experience like people can. So this gives human content marketers an edge. So make sure your content provides proof that the writer has the expertise, experience, authority and trust and that they therefore deserved to be heard.

Deliver a quality experience

How Google ranks content is often out of your control as they continually make updates and changes. However what you can control is the user experience and page speed. You simply cannot afford to have a slow page speed or a poor experience. As an example of how important this is when one company shaved off 2 seconds off its page load speeds, conversion rates were increased by around 14%.

Prepare for Voice and Image Search

Voice and image search will transform the way we interact with the online world and reshaping our approach to searching information.

Voice search, powered by AI-driven assistants, is transforming the way we seek information. It’s the ease of asking a question out loud and getting an answer straight away. This shift towards voice search is significant because it aligns perfectly with our on the move lifestyle.

Similarly, image search is revolutionising our digital experience. Just snap a picture and let the algorithms work their magic to find that item or similar in seconds.

This means rethinking how we optimise content. For voice search, it’s about focusing on natural language processing and conversational keywords. Think about the questions your audience might ask and how you can provide the answers. For image search, it’s about investing in high-quality, visually appealing images and aligning them with the right metadata, so they pop up when your audience is searching.

9. Cyber Resilience

Research suggests that one in two businesses has been the victim of a successful cyberattack in the past three years, and the cost of these attacks to industry is expected to grow to over $10 trillion by the end of 2024. In the face of this fast-growing threat, technology solutions designed to bolster defences and provide us with a fighting chance are high on every organization’s must-have list.

Cyber resilience goes beyond cyber security, though, as it also encapsulates measures that can be taken to recover and ensure continuity when defences are breached or due to circumstances beyond our control. With cyberattacks on the rise, organizations are increasingly investing in cyber resilience beyond traditional security measures. This encompasses strategies for recovery and continuity in the face of breaches or unforeseen circumstances.

10. Privacy and Accessibility

Stricter privacy regulations, including enhanced cookie controls, underscore the importance of trusted brands with direct stakeholder relationships. Simultaneously, accessibility remains a priority, with companies held accountable for delivering diversity, equality, and inclusion policies through online channels. Litigation risks make this an imperative focus for companies moving forward.

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