A Bird’s Eye View of Digital Ad Trends in 2023

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The past few years have been a rollercoaster in digital advertising. The pandemic forced a massive sea change in consumer behavior — not just their tastes, but how they shopped, how much they shopped, the content they paid attention to and the devices that were the source of their attention. 

And just as the fundamentals of digital took center stage for most organizations, the script changed. Some of the industry’s biggest players announced changes that would make it harder for publishers and advertisers to gather data on audience behavior. 

So, what’s in store for 2023? The key word is adaptation: across devices, tools, and channels. Brands and their partners will rely more on first party data, artificial intelligence, and tools to meet the ever-present demand to measure marketing effectiveness. 

Five digital ad trends for 2023

Emerging Channels Grow

It is always about meeting your target customers where they are. CTV will continue to dominate as the top growing emerging channel, but we will see growth in other emerging channels in the year ahead as well. Some emerging channels expected to see growing interest in 2023 include in-game, DOOH, and audio advertising, as marketers continue to see the value of investing in emerging channels and the quality of integration continues to improve. 

Retail Media Networks Expand

Retailers of all types have realized the value of their first-party shopper data for brands looking to market products to consumers, and advertisers will further invest in growing retail media networks to create full-funnel, omnichannel campaigns to deliver a better consumer experience and drive conversions.

Measurement is King

In advertising, the vast majority of sales conversions happen on a separate device from where the ad occurred. This fragmentation creates havoc in the measurement process making it challenging to show the real value of ad spend. 

In an environment of belt tightening, marketers cannot afford to sell their campaign effectiveness short. Innovations in omnichannel campaign measurement will be required to show conversions across multiple channels, including cross-device conversions, to provide the clearest picture of campaign success.

Software Automation Increases

The buzz around artificial intelligence and machine learning has been present for years. The growing advancements in how machine learning is being put to work in advertising software to automate tasks like audience segmentation and targeting will drive higher returns on investment and in turn increase spend.

Marketers Rely More on First-Party Data

Marketers are increasingly shifting to the use of first-party data as the ideal means to reach target audiences, with a specific focus on people-based data points versus digital identifiers. The key here will be working internally or with a partner to make that data actionable and derive its value.

Jon Schulz is CMO of Viant.