More than Metaverse: Six Challenges for the Digital Industry

The metaverse is a trendy topic - but we must not lose sight of other developments in the digital industry: A guest article by Sabrina Huwiler, Digital Marketing Consultant at DEPT®.

What challenges will the digital industry face in the near future? (Image:

Don't worry, the next few lines won't be about the latest hype in the industry, the metaverse. For that, we have other experts who can explain it much better and more simply. But I would like to "hype" you a little bit: For six big challenges that we will face in digital marketing in the next few years. As a consultant, it's my job to be ready for trends, hypes, and new challenges and to prepare our clients for them in the best possible way.

I want this blog post to provoke thought. Raise questions. After all, isn't it precisely this constantly changing environment that makes our everyday working lives so incredibly exciting? Allow me to give you a small (but I can't promise it will be "short") insight into the six digital challenges I see coming our way. Let's go!

Performance marketing vs. creation - or does both work?

A lot of clicks and reach: This is an everyday goal that companies set themselves on digital platforms. It's best to optimize right down to the last detail so that as little media budget as possible is wasted on conversions. Accordingly, the media agency is briefed and instructed to keep an eye on the most important KPIs. But with which creatives? What do users see on the ads we play out there? Good question. They just have to click, is often the first thought of performance marketeers. On the contrary, the creative agency would probably argue that the creative is incredibly important. Constrictive thesis? Of course. But that's exactly one of the daily challenges companies face. How do we combine good performance and great visuals? Because one thing is clear: today's users want both.

Future without cookies: The end of "real" Targeting?

How do we limit frequencies on campaigns or retarget users who, for example, have not yet purchased the items in their shopping cart? How do we ensure a stringent and exciting customer journey across multiple platforms when we can no longer access all the information? This is a question digital marketeers around the world will have to ask themselves more and more often. While companies such as Apple continue to drive forward issues such as individual data protection, advertising providers and brands are faced with the challenge: How do we ensure the targeting of the future? This is already a challenging reality for many marketers today. Solutions are eagerly being developed and tinkered with - but what will really prevail in the end? Will classic analog advertising media regain more value in the end?

All want attention

Not just since Corona have we been using more and more different platforms to quench our thirst for information, distraction and communication. Digital platforms vie for users' attention - and do so successfully. TikTok has impressively shown us that in the battle for attention, the winner is never really certain. So what is the challenge as more and more new platforms enter the arena? To put it as simply as possible: How do we as a brand ensure that our message can be perceived and experienced by our target audience in a cross-channel yet channel-specific way? Brands face the huge challenge of producing more and more content for different channels. A mammoth task given the rapidly changing sphere of digital platforms.

Digital Marketing Consultant
"In our industry, we have the opportunity to overturn existing rules, systems and trends every day," says digital consultant Sabrina Huwiler. (Image: zVg.)

Generation Ad Blocker

So if we're all using more digital platforms than we were a few years ago, the advertising pressure on them is increasing accordingly. We scroll through feeds and over hundreds of content pieces every day - and now much of this content has commercial interests. But how is the new generation of consumers reacting to this development? With a downright aversion to anything that even remotely smells like advertising. On platforms like TikTok, branders have to completely rethink their approach and can no longer score points with ad adaptations from other platforms. So how do you reach users who no longer want "advertising"?

There are (no) limits

More platforms. More noise. More going on. Always just a click or swipe away from the next celebrity shitstorm and the next news story about wars and disasters. The worlds are merging, and in the feed economy that almost all users navigate these days, there are no clear "headings" anymore. Breaking news from Ukraine follows a cute cat video and is immediately replaced by the next TikTok challenge. So how do we embed our partners' messages in this complex, ever-changing context in the future? This is a question that many companies are probably currently asking themselves, as they are becoming increasingly dependent on the major content platforms due to the pandemic and advancing digitalization.

Dependence on the big players

I just mentioned the dependence on the big content platforms. Of course, Meta, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube and the like offer us an incredible number of new and great opportunities to tell digital stories and share them with many people in this world - but thanks to such mega-players, certain dependencies and bubbles can also arise that we are sometimes too little aware of.

There are always platforms that are completely blocked in certain countries. This is what happened with TikTok in India, which has no longer been available since 2020. In the USA, too, there was a "Ban TikTok" debate under President Donald Trump. On Facebook, for example, election advertising is repeatedly suspended in specific countries because the risk of abuse is too great. These are just a few of the many daily examples that show how dependent many communication measures really are on the major platforms. This is one of the reasons why podcasts, newsletters and even websites with more content are experiencing a small renaissance. People want to spread the "content risk" over as many shoulders as possible. The challenge therefore seems inevitable for almost all market players: How do we profit from the big platforms and reach our users without becoming dangerously dependent?

Many challenges, many opportunities

That's quite a few challenges, isn't it? And we're only just scratching the surface. Is there already a "one-fits-all solution"? Not really ... and there certainly never will be. Our digital experiences are evolving at breakneck speed, and in a few months you might be listening to this blog post as a spoken article while taking a leisurely digital stroll through one of the many metaverses out there. You didn't think I was going to completely disregard the metaverse, did you?

Last but not least: It is precisely all these challenges and new things that make our work and our industry incredibly diverse and exciting. Every day, we can throw existing rules, systems and trends out the window and start all over again. So what are we waiting for?

About the author: Sabrina Huwiler is a Digital Marketing Consultant at the global digital agency DEPT®. The company aims to pioneer tech and marketing and employs more than 2,500 people worldwide.

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