An Interactive, AI-Powered Rollercoaster: The 2024 Advertising Playbook
If 2023 was an indicator, buckle up for a wild ride in 2024. From increasing adoption of generative AI, the blockbuster Barbenheimer fusion and Taylor Swift taking over the world, it was a major shakeup. Gone are the days of passive consumption; in 2024, media will become a two-way street, pulsating with interactivity, fueled by data, and sprinkled with a generous dose of AI magic. Here’s a glimpse into the crystal ball of media trends:
Data Collection Goes Granular
Every click, swipe, and gaze will be meticulously tracked, not just to serve targeted ads, but to tailor entire media experiences. Algorithms will better predict moods, interests, and even potential purchases, crafting a personalized content bubble just. That said, data privacy and ethical usage will be key, as users demand transparency and control over their digital footprints.
Digital Advertising Gets Smarter (and Stealthier)
AI-powered advertising will seamlessly blend into content, using data to create hyper-personalized ads that feel less like interruptions and more like relevant suggestions. Amazon’s Black Friday NFL game was just a tease. Imagine watching a cooking show where the ingredients magically link to online retailers, or reading a news article where AI-generated ads subtly promote related products. We have been testing shoppable ads over the last few years with some strong success, as well as learnings on how to optimize. It is almost like old school direct response ads are getting a facelift.
Short-form platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts cemented themselves as engagement-rich platforms in 2023. This will continue in 2024 as brands move further away from traditional platforms. Attention spans are shrinking faster than ever, so brands will need to master the art of storytelling in 60 seconds or less, capturing hearts with humor, emotion, and authenticity. Think micro-dramas, dance challenges, and behind-the-scenes glimpses that build a brand’s personality in a single scroll.
… and long-form storytellers
That said, long-form, emotionally-centered storytelling remains incredibly effective. When done well. When not done to check a box. Storytelling that doesn’t focus on product, but on creating trust in the brand. Where the story subject doesn’t need to directly involve the brand, but aligns with its mission.
Rise of Micro-Muses
Authenticity will be buzzy again in 2024, and that particularly applies to influencers. Successful programs will lean more on those – however large or small their following – who can seamlessly weave brands into genuine narratives, so as to remain true to their following. We expect brands to continue allocating significant dollars to influencers, but they will explore longer, more in-depth partnerships and niche, authentic advocates.
If we learned anything in 2023, it’s about the power of connecting around touchstone moments. From Taylor Swift to Barbenheimer, there was a collision between people craving real-world experiences, and marketers looking to capitalize on them. Look for more of that in 2024, as brands seek to connect with consumers during their defining moments – from big ones that captivate everyone to those that are more personal – graduations, first homes, personal victories. Brands will craft campaigns that resonate with emotions, sparking joy, offering support, and becoming part of their audience’s life stories. In an election year, particularly the nature of the one this year, the idea of aligning brands with joy and happiness will become critical.
The Third-Party Cookie Crumbles
The era of third-party cookie tracking is drawing to a close, leaving a hole in customer data collection. In fact, just this week, Google announced that the new Chrome browser will block cookies. As we think about data-driven marketing in this new era, we plan a shift towards contextual targeting, place-based targeting, first-party data collection, and zero-party data partnerships that build trust and offer value in exchange for information. Given this, we believe publishers with scale will benefit as budgets shift from low-cost, programmatic-centric buys to direct high value customer acquisition approaches. On the flip side, this is going to lead to annoyed consumers as they slowly get targeted with less relevant ads – necessitating that brands pay constant attention to sentiment and the pace of their advertising.