AI-induced anxiety and SEO volatility among top 10 challenges for marketers in 2024  

AI-induced anxiety and SEO volatility among top 10 challenges for marketers in 2024   Duncan is an award-winning technology industry analyst, specialising in cloud computing, blockchain, martech and edge computing.


Marketing and PR leaders are facing sleepless nights from a series of complex challenges in 2024, with SEO volatility, landing PR coverage, upskilling, and AI-induced anxiety around job security topping a list compiled following new research.  

With the marketing and PR industries already facing high burn out rates and poor mental health, and a new CIPD study reporting that 76% of employees have experienced some form of stress-related staff absence, the new data shines a light on the key challenges being experienced in real-time by leaders working in the sector.  

The exclusive data from more than 500 UK marketing decision-makers, commissioned by search-driven content agency No Brainer, reveals marketing leaders’ biggest challenges in 2024, which are: 

  1. Search engine updates and volatility – 17% 
  2. In-house skills and upskilling – 16% 
  3. Anxiety of being replaced by AI – 16% 
  4. Landing media coverage relevant to target customers – 15% 
  5. Attribution and ROI – 15% 
  6. Maintaining and growing visibility on search – 15% 
  7. Lack of understanding about how we could use AI – 14% 
  8. EEAT content, search rater guidelines and sourcing credible, trusted experts – 14% 
  9. Market and competitor activity – 14% 
  10. Integration of teams to deliver integrated/omnichannel marketing – 14% 

In recent weeks, Google has started penalising poor-quality content and reducing ‘unhelpful’ content by 40%. Additionally, nearly half of marketers report not being given the opportunity to upskill.

And on top this this, the UK’s AI sector is projected to reach a value of £2.4 trillion by 2027, leading to complexity and change for industry leaders aiming to navigate AI in marketing. 

Combined, these developments underscore the evolving marketing landscape and the complexities posed for marketers trying to juggle their key challenges.  

Gary Jenkins, Managing Director at No Brainer, said: “Search, marketing, and PR are industries that have always experienced volatility and change – it’s something many of us working in these industries are used to, and embrace. However, in recent years this seems to have hit new levels and that doesn’t seem to be going to change any time soon. 

“There’s a huge amount of complexity and convergence in marketing now, and what agencies like us have to do is help marketing and PR leaders adapt to the shifting landscape in new ways – managing and mitigating the risks, but also seizing the opportunities there for the taking.  

“With many more Google updates in 2023 and 2024, we’re seeing a sea-change in the search landscape, so it feels sort of inevitable this would be high on the list of marketers’ challenges in 2024, particularly as search-driven performance is a fundamental part of any successful business, none more so than ecommerce.  

“Driving strong PR and Digital PR performance is tough and getting tougher too, so it’s crucial to adapt to this shifting landscape and work together to achieve success. And in an industry historically blighted by burn-out and poor mental health, it’s so interesting to see the threats posed to marketers’ careers by AI is adding another complex layer to those challenges. 

“Data like this is key to unlocking the problems and challenges we all face as marketing leaders – in-house, agency side and consultants. Knowing these and finding ways to tackle them or work through them is for us as an industry to collectively work on and support each other. As always, they can be tackled, with the right plans and resources in place.” 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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