And just like that… 2023 is almost over, but what will next year hold for the advertising sector after this year’s economic, macro and technological challenges?
We asked some of our adland leaders for their predictions for 2024, with creativity, technology and big changes in social media set to dominate the trend list in the new year…
Chris Kubbernus, Founder & CEO, Kubbco
Where is the Creative sector headed?
“Heading into 2024, the creative world is really changing, and technology is a big part of that.
“We’re going to see a lot more in the way of interactive opportunities emerging from platforms including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
“These aren’t just fun gadgets; they’re changing how we see and use digital technologies, and create whole new creative opportunities as they edge towards mass adoption.
“At the same time, people are really starting to pay more attention to content made by regular folks and creators than by actual professionals.
“It’s not just big companies creating premium content anymore. Everyone’s getting in on the action, which is making the creative arena more open to new ideas from all over the world.
“This change isn’t easy for everyone. People in advertising are finding it tough to keep up with these new creators who are really good at grabbing attention, working with tight budgets and being a native part of digital culture. As much as the attention economy has grown with the arrival of new platforms, brands are in a more competitive environment than ever.
How will AI shape 2024?
AI is really shaking things up in the terms of creating content. It’s like we’re at the start of a big change, where AI will help us complete many tasks like editing videos, writing, and even making art easier for people who find visualisation of ideas challenging.
“This means we can do these things faster and end up with different results. In the marketing world, AI is getting more important. It’s helping to make ads that hit the mark better by using live data.
“This means that targeted advertising content can be turned around much more quickly and brands can deliver messaging and content that suits their customers in increasingly bespoke ways.
Tania Wendt SVP, Engagement and Strategy, tms
AI in 2024
“Whenever you look into the topic of AI it feels like an ever-growing black hole. The fear, hype and sheer volume of voices ebbs and flows faster than my children run out of clean socks.
“Some predict doomsday with robots taking over the known world – I’m going to leave that viewpoint alone for the moment and look at the positive side of AI; one of the ways it can/will shape the marketing world for those with good intent.
“Productivity – its root means to produce something. Our culture has evolved it to mean with either great quantity, speed or efficacy. And prior to AI, productivity was really never applied to creativity and art.
“That is going to change; I think we will see a shift from toe-dipping to taking full on baths in the content-creation aspect of this technology. Some of the fear will subside in the face of easier self-expression and resulting confidence.
“Creativity– making something of nothing. AI will make it possible for individuals that cannot draw, feel they are not typically creative thinkers, have a hard time articulating thoughts…you get my point. If you have an idea, but it’s just amorphous, AI will be able to help you shape it, visualize it and even build a business case for it.
“Data scientists will discover new patterns and insights previously unimagined. Strategists can start with tangible groundwork for their ideas and direction instead of a blank page.
“Creatives will get better buy-in by showing a conceptual direction that is much sharper than a sketch or wireframe because clients will be able to better visualise the concept.
“There will be a purposeful ignorance of doomsday. The black hole will become the rabbit hole with mainstream adoption of the tools that make us more productive, that make us better interpreters, thinkers and creators.
Tom Simpson, Global CEO, Livewire
Where is the Creative sector headed?
“Brands are accelerating their gaming investments (no wonder when it’s where Gen Z spend most of their time) – but there’s a fundamental contradiction at the heart of how many marketers are approaching the channel.
“They’re gamifying their media plan, but forgetting to gamify their creative. Remember: ads are no longer on TV, in the corner of the room.
“They’re in gaming worlds, often on a mobile handset in the palm of consumers hands. And what do consumers do in game, especially on mobile? They tap, touch, swipe, play, engage.
“As an industry we’re building flat video ads for consumer behaviour of the 1950s, when our customers are living in the hyper-stimulated world of 2023.
“We call this gaming native creative, and it’s our top trend for 2024. Why be watchable when you can be playable?
What will dominate the media landscape?
“Gaming has a global audience of three billion, yet currently captures just under 5% of advertising budgets. With that disparity between consumption and media spend, it’s clearly the next big opportunity for brands.
“From gaming worlds such as Roblox or Fortnite, to reaching the nation across mobile games such as Candy Crush, brands will continue to grow their gaming investments over 2024.
“We’re lucky enough to enjoy front row seats to a revolution — as the era of big social evolves into the play economy. But gaming isn’t about platforms, it’s about people.
“It’s built on human insights, ideas, community and culture; delivered at the scale of billions of engaged gaming eyeballs. And it’s how brands turbocharge growth in this next generation.
How will AI shape 2024?
AI sits at the core of the digital creative toolkit for 2024. The creative sector is beginning to embrace cutting-edge technologies, with playable interactive content, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) becoming integral components of marketing campaigns.
“Brands are exploring innovative ways to captivate audiences, creating immersive experiences that go beyond traditional advertising formats.
“AI accelerates development in this space: from hyper-personalisation, to playable, gamified ads, to building scaled three-dimensional digital worlds. All delivered faster, smarter and at larger scale via AI.
“This shift towards interactive and engaging content, built with AI, will redefine the boundaries – and possibilities – of marketing and advertising in 2024.
How is adland set to change next year?
“Influencer marketing, the bedrock of millennial-focused adland media planning, will undergo a huge transformation in 2024, as brands recognise the importance of building genuine connections with audiences through influencers who align with their values.
“This is particularly pronounced in the gaming industry, where the unique dynamics of the sector amplify the importance of cultivating authentic connections with audiences through influencers who share a genuine passion for gaming.
“As gaming becomes a larger part of brands advertising plans, it’s more important for brands to align with influencers who not only resonate with the gaming culture but also genuinely share the values inherent in the gaming experience.
What changes will we see in the adtech sector next year?
“Privacy concerns continue to shape the advertising landscape, prompting marketers to reassess their strategies.
“With increased regulations and consumer awareness regarding data privacy, brands will prioritise first-party data collection and brand-safe contextual environments in 2024.
“Transparency in data usage and communication with consumers about privacy practices will become crucial, influencing the design of targeted advertising campaigns.
“Environments like gaming where consumers enjoy close first-party relationships with publishers, often transacting via app stores, become key for maintaining the promise of programmatic addressability.
What can we expect from retail media?
“The retail media landscape is gearing up for a surge in direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategies. Brands are increasingly leveraging retail media to directly engage customers, bypassing traditional distribution channels.
“This strategic shift allows brands to exert more control over the entire customer experience, from initial discovery to final purchase, fostering stronger connections and brand loyalty.
“In this context, digital items are poised to play a pivotal role for brands, serving as integral components in enhancing customer engagement, creating immersive experiences, and fostering loyalty within the evolving retail media landscape.
Dr Pardis Shafafi, Anthropologist & Global Responsible Business Lead, Designit
2024 – The Year of Reckoning For Social Media Giants
“In Jennifer Egan’s ‘The Candy House’ (2022), the author compares the allure of handing out our personal data for a dopamine hit of accessing everyone else’s, to the fate of Hansel and Gretel. It, in many ways, echoes the relationship that we have with social media…
“2024 will be a year of reckoning for our decades-long unfettered exchange of information with social media giants.
“As in Egan’s novel, 2024 will see a rise in new ways of thinking about our data and interactions with social media. There will be an increase in those who choose to live a life away from its trappings completely.
“Our collective and generational awakening to a sense of data sanctity will have huge consequences that will ripple across industries and will question the inevitability of our digitised lives.”
The beginning of the end for greenwashing
“2024 will see consumers continue to vote with their wallets when it comes to ethical practices. But contrary to the sustainability consumer trends of a decade ago, these will be harder to mitigate with superficial marketing efforts.
“Why? Because the critics are not just the customers anymore, but the ones who are designing, making, marketing and selling the products as well.
“This could make the beginning of the end for greenwashing practices.
“2024’s cohorts of designers, creators and makers are going to have been trained in critical approaches to their disciplines, including Do No Harm, de-colonial approaches, and sustainable design.
“They will have a more human, environmental and ethical approach to the world, meaning that the products and services that are being released have responsibility at their core.
“This could mark the end to the greenwashing chapter and finally encourage meaningful steps towards sustainability.”
AI discussions will be introspective rather than dystopian
“While 2023 saw dystopian narratives of future applications of artificial intelligence running wild on our feeds, 2024 will be where the narrative around AI will shift to a more everyday level.
“Instead of the apocalypse, we will be observing the existing ways that these technologies are embedded into our lives (and how they have both benefited and harmed us) all while examining them through a sustainability and philosophical lens.
“We will move away from ‘robots taking over the world’ takes, and instead ask questions like ‘is deferring to AI for everyday tasks worth the harm it does to the environment?’ for example.
Steven Filler, UK Country Manager, ShowHeroes Group
The growing carbon footprint of digital media has taken centre stage in 2023, and it’s time for advertisers to double down on their efforts to reduce the tons of harmful emissions created by campaigns.
That’s why ShowHeroes partnered with carbon intelligence platforms including Scope3 and Cedara, to help measure and reduce the environmental impact of video marketing – with support from innovative carbon removal projects.
In 2024, we’ll see this trend gain pace, as brands push for greater accountability over ad sustainability and smarter carbon reduction strategies.
Marketers should respond by embracing a new “more is less” standard; more quality media, more relevance, and more creativity equals less carbon emissions. Here’s how this approach can deliver results:
The first component, more media quality, relates to the need for advertisers and their technology partners to align more closely with premium publishers.
This could help cut the 15% of global ad spend – and unnecessary emissions – currently lost on meaningless made-for-advertising inventory.
Secondly, advertisers should take steps to ensure their ads are always placed within relevant content environments, helping brands reach users with messaging that will complement their mindset at that moment.
This smarter approach puts more emphasis on making every impression count rather than relying on a lower quality but higher frequency strategy, meaning fewer wasted impressions and less carbon impact.
Finally, advertisers can aim higher with their creatives. In the same way that more focus on media quality and relevance can deliver stronger outcomes, taking the time to deliver the most impactful creative experience can ensure advertisers are maximising consumer attention, leading to more efficient campaigns and less wasted inventory overall.
CTV, for example, provides a strong full-screen TV experience for brands to engage consumers efficiently, with ad formats that feature branded players, animated QR codes and voice-activated engagement, efficiently capturing user attention and delivering great results.
The scale of the environmental challenge that faces us all is huge. But by increasing our focus on media quality, relevance and creativity, our industry can make every advertising opportunity count – achieving more while using less.
Zoë Elmore, Head of Media, True
There is a shift in the workforce we need to address
“Millennials and Gen Z already represent the majority of the workforce (64%), and the way they consume and are influenced by media is significantly different from their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts.
“There is a huge generational gap in these media consumption habits that we need to address.
“The younger generations are massively influenced by short-term video content – concise, engaging content that resonates with fast-paced, multi-screen lifestyles.
“Platforms like TikTok will continue to grow at rapid speed, and as the platform data and targeting capabilities continue to improve, it will be a hugely valuable platform to influence both B2B and B2C purchases.
“Moreover, these younger generations are digital natives, and their influence extends beyond TikTok. They’re actively engaged across multiple platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, creating a diverse ecosystem for advertisers to leverage.
“More than 50% get their news from non-news sources, again indicative of a paradigm shift in how we can best reach and engage with these audiences.
Sustainability in media
“With more than 2.3% (and growing) of the world’s carbon emissions being generated as a result of advertising, there should be a huge shift in how brands buy their media – to minimise their impact while still maximising effectiveness of their media buys.
“Platforms like WeAre8 allow brands to ensure a % of their media spend is offsetting their carbon footprint in a measurable way (i.e. planting trees), while GoodLoop’s green ad tag ensures brands can measure their carbon footprint and offset it in a method of their choosing.
“Lastly, focussing on high-attention channels and placements ensure that brands can maximise impact with less footprint.
“A study by attention measurement leaders Playground XY found that carbon emissions from digital ads fall by 63% when measured and optimised for attention time.
“It is paramount that brands not just talk to the talk, but walk the walk and commit to minimising their impact on the environment.
Move over viewability
“There’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s attention – the evolution of viewability.
“While viewability measures if an ad can be seen, and for years was seen as a primary metric for media campaigns aimed at awareness, attention measures if an ad is actually seen and for how long it is viewed for.
“Planning and optimising for attention increases both brand recall and choice.
“Increasing eyes on dwell-time (attention) on brand message from 5 seconds to 25 seconds sees an uplift in promoted brand recall by 65% and uplift in brand choice by 12% (Lumen).
“As marketers, we need to be ensuring we are focussing on high-attention media channels to drive effectiveness in our advertising.
Death to the cookie
“We’ve been speaking about it for years, but the 3P cookie is finally going away – with Google deprecating the third-party cookie in Chrome gradually throughout 2024.
“While there has been talk about a resurgence of contextual targeting, it has never been more important for brands to have robust zero and first-party data strategies, from management to activation.
“Building a singular strategy ensures almost holistic application of targeting across all media channels, getting us closer to that omni-channel unicorn.
Ed Hallam, Creative Director, Amplify
How will AI shape 2024?
“In the world of generative AI we’ll see more progress with moving image and video content generation, platforms like RunwayML and the latest tease for Pika’s release show off how powerful it’ll become.
“This will usher in a new wave of storytelling and leave us questioning reality.
“This content will bleed into social media and we’ll see how content creators will pioneer and change the discourse from ‘AI will take our jobs’ to exploring innovative and playful ways that AI can allow us to express ourselves and share stories.
“I’m excited about the power of AI for musicians, I believe we won’t just see AI that generates content, but also how it can become a powerful tool to help mediate and deliver the vision of an artist and help to hone their craft.
“We’re in the honeymoon period with AI tools disrupting the market, there will likely be regulation and legal restrictions put in place and 2023-2024 may be remembered as a time when we were living in the generative wild wild west.
Adam Boucid, AV Director, Yonder Media
“2024 will be the year of AVOD (Advertiser funded Video On Demand)
“With Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video bringing their commercial offerings to market, to challenge Netflix and the traditional Broadcaster platforms, further fragmentation of the Broadcast landscape is imminent.
“As Media Planners and Buyers, we need to acknowledge and embrace the fact that a typical AV plan will look far different than it did even just one year ago, and need to be introducing these platforms to our clients as they offer, targeted and addressable (albeit slightly pricey) routes to market.
“The very idea of Broadcast media has been flipped on its head, with more and more paid-for on-demand services coming to the forefront of media consumption, threatening the whole concept of ‘appointment to view’.
“Sure, there’s always going to be a place for traditional TV viewing – live sporting events will always hold their appeal – as will programming that drives social chat and creates FOMO, such as Love Island or Bake Off.
“However, leveraging data insights for traditional Linear Broadcast media is the future – TV isn’t dead, it’s just become more premium.”
Paul Saville, SVP, Head of UK, Brands & Properties, Wasserman
Continued rise of passion marketing
“The sponsorship sector and integrated ‘passion’ marketing will continue to grow as more younger people care even less about brand advertising and messaging that is not centred around something they are genuinely passionate about.”
Marketing agency consolidation
“The agency landscape will continue to evolve with larger more traditional creative networks (not really known for sport, music and entertainment) consolidating to save costs and stay alive.
“Also expect to see the more ‘passion’ focussed come together for strategic growth due to demand, something that we have already seen happening in 2023 with M&C Saatchi as well as at Wasserman with CSM.”
Consciously caring consumers
“With increasingly savvy younger audiences, brands will need to ensure their marketing and sponsorship activities align with the values that consumers hold dear.
“In 2024, expect to see a continued rise in diversity, inclusion (particularly in women’s sport) and sustainability high on the agenda.”
Social and streaming sport
“There will be a continued proliferation of sports consumption via social media, ensuring global fans can get closer to the teams and leagues they love.
“Also streaming services like Netflix will continue to pioneer live sports streaming.”