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Marketing and Advertising Trends for 2024
Over the past year, significant changes occurred in the digital marketing space: the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Google finally going to trial, Apple’s iOS 17 introducing more privacy-centric features that upended the tracking status quo, the EU issuing multi-million-dollar fines against Criteo for GDPR violations, streaming TV overtaking linear TV in viewership, the collapse of MediaMath, Amazon’s impending launch of ads on Prime Video, and—finally—Disney and Spectrum agreeing to a revolutionary new model for linear TV programming and the ways that content providers and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) work together. And it’s only October!
With the end of the year on the horizon, here are my predictions about what marketers can expect to see in 2024.
1. MORE DIGITAL TV INVENTORY AND BETTER MEASUREMENT
Linear TV viewership will continue declining as consumers rapidly move to subscription-based and free, ad-supported streaming television services. From Amazon’s addition of ads to the Prime Video offerings to more consumers adopting ad-supported streaming subscriptions to save money, we’re only in the infancy of the glut of connected TV ad inventory to flood the market.
Although measurement and attribution will come to sharper focus with a seemingly endless supply of connected and streaming TV ad inventory, it won’t be enough to deliver ad impressions and completions. With marketing budgets constricting across myriad sectors, marketers are poised to demand strong returns on ad spends through measurable results in brand-safe environments, or publishers and streamers will find that more streaming eyes don’t translate to more meaningful revenue. An implosion of CPMs and further industry consolidation will follow.
2. FIRST-PARTY DATA IS FINALLY CROWNED KING, WHILE THE COOKIE IS DEPOSED
Despite years of hearing about the cookie’s imminent demise, in 2024 we’ll see the cookie-based advertising strategies take their final bow. As Chrome, Safari, and Firefox limit the ability to leverage third-party cookies, and more national and regional governments introduce privacy-centric regulations (think the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA, among others), the need for first-party data becomes table stakes.
For advertisers that have invested in developing subscription offerings, newsletters, and tools to collect consumer data and build sophisticated content taxonomies to deliver meaningful contextual offerings, 2024 will be the year these investments pay off in spades. And for those who haven’t, expect a year of scrambling and reacting to a train that has been barreling down the tracks of the industry for a long time.
However, first-party data carries unique challenges to digital marketing as privacy becomes something consumers demand and governments regulate. The days of the Wild West of leveraging consumer data in secret are long past.
3. INCREASED PRIVACY REGULATIONS—AND ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
If 2023 taught us anything, GDPR was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to governments focusing on protecting consumer privacy. As they often do, the European Union led the charge, but the regulations don’t stop on the continent.
California may have been the first state in the US to introduce similar legislation with the California Consumer Privacy Act, but 2023 saw Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut, Utah, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Montana, Texas, Delaware, and Oregon pass similar laws, with some already in effect. In 2024, we will see this trend continue, and it’s likely that federal laws and regulations will be needed to harmonize standards across the US to provide businesses and marketers with one set of rules by which to operate.
Legislation and regulatory frameworks with no enforcement lack substance. As the record €40 million fine against French ad-tech giant Crieto shows, the EU is again leading the pack in showing that violating the rules has consequences. Anticipate seeing more fines and more companies investing in privacy compliance tools and audits in 2024—making marketing measurement and reliance on first-party data more complicated.
4. NEW SELF-SERVICE AD OFFERINGS TO CHALLENGE THE META/GOOGLE DUOPOLY
While Meta and Google certainly aren’t the end-all-be-all of digital marketing platforms, their combined nearly 60% market share might make most marketers believe otherwise. However, what has given Google and Meta the market share they command isn’t a best-in-class product offer but their democratization of advertising tools and a low barrier to entry for even the smallest of startups and local businesses. Long gone are the days of needing six-plus-figure budgets to advertise. As 2024 comes into full force, expect platforms like Amazon, Microsoft, TikTok, Hulu, and Disney to embrace and double down on the self-service, everyone-can-run-ads-here ethos.
Microsoft’s ad partnership with Netflix and their ability to play a long game means that despite years of trying to create a powerhouse advertising business that has left them competing for scraps, 2024 may be the year Microsoft’s advertising business grows. All that’s missing is a well-designed user experience and market awareness.
5. COMMERCE AND RETAIL MEDIA EXPLOSION
While first-party data may be king, the kingdom is commerce and retail media. Publishers are taking note as retailers like Target, Kroger, Walmart, Amazon, and beyond continue to make forays into retail media to monetize their first-party data and diversify revenue streams. Expect an emphasis on commerce marketing, from social platforms to connected TV and more.
While 2023 saw TikTok Shops launch with a bang, 2024 may be the year shoppable TV hits the mainstream, with Roku, Peacock, and similar streaming services. It’s feasible the streaming industry will begin offering more than just impressions in an effort to drive increases in revenue streams and position themselves as must-be media placements.
As we look to 2024, there’s one thing that’s certain: In digital media and advertising, change is the only constant. Organizations and brands that aren’t prepared to change with the times will find themselves perpetually playing catch-up.