5 Predictions for Digital Advertising in 2024

Unveiling the Crystal Ball: 5 Predictions for Digital Advertising in 2024

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As we say goodbye to 2023 and look forward to 2024, the digital advertising landscape is poised (yet again) for significant shifts and transformations. Here are five bold predictions that are set to reshape digital advertising in 2024.

Political Ad Spend Will Soar to Unexpected Heights Creating Unanticipated CPM pain for ALL Marketers and Brands

With each election cycle pundits and prognosticators declare that this election will be the most important one ever.   While this may or not be true, 2024 is already shaping up to be the most expensive.  While this record-breaking year for political ad spend may seem like good news for digital advertising, the ripple effect of this cash infusion into the ecosystem may catch many brands and marketers off guard.

This is mainly because the actual artificial inflation of CPMs could significantly outstrip initial projections, which would create unexpected challenges for advertisers looking to navigate the heightened competition and increased costs.

As non-political campaigns vie for digital spaces , brands must strategize smartly and lock in buys early to maintain visibility and ensure access to inventory without succumbing to the unpredictable pricing dynamics 2024 will invariably bring.   Particularly as the anticipated surge of advertising dollars into digital might surpass even the most bullish expectations.

Accelerating Automation and AI Adoption in 2024 will be Fueled by Opportunity

One of the secondary effects of this election year influx of ad dollars will be the accelerated adoption of automation and AI.  In the digital advertising landscape, there has already been a notable emphasis on advanced technologies like AI for sales enablement.  The urgent need for sales teams to keep pace with unprecedented opportunities influenced by factors such as the election year (see above) should be a driving force behind a surge in adoption.

To efficiently navigate this landscape and make the most of ad inventory, businesses will increasingly look for ways to automate processes and use AI tools —including chat-based AI, AI-driven listening agents and automated sales enablement platforms — to help capture this revenue boon and eliminate bottlenecks.

These technologies will be particularly indispensable for sales teams seeking to optimize their strategies and reshape operations, as well as those struggling to capture all the potential dollars on the table.

The sheer volume of opportunities has the potential to overwhelm single sales reps, necessitating the further adoption of automation and AI to manage and capitalize on the multitude of prospects.

Retail Media Networks Could Face a Significant Contraction

Despite the current popularity of retail media networks (RMNs), 2024 could be the year of a substantial (and sudden) contraction in their numbers.  A report from McKinsey predicted that ad spend in RMNs would grow to $100B by 2026, or roughly double what it was in 2023.

Yet, advertisers have already expressed hesitancy when it comes to RMNs.  Another recent study highlighted significant concerns from brands and marketers about the effectiveness and viability of retail media networks. A lack of campaign performance visibility/transparency (57%) and a perceived lack of interoperability (54%) rated among the top concerns for a majority.

This in combination with the saturation of the ad ecosystem with numerous down brand retail media networks could result in a natural culling or massive consolidation amongst RMNs as they all struggle for their share of the agency wallet.

Brands and marketers may reassess their reliance on these networks and explore alternative avenues for impactful and efficient advertising as a result, which could be good news for platforms that provide alternatives to the value that RMNs deliver to brands and marketers – namely, access to first party data!

The End of 3rd Party Cookies: A Prolonged Farewell

While the age of 3rd party cookies certainly seems to be coming to a close, their final chapter might receive  an unexpected, albeit temporary, reprieve. Google, facing up to the challenges of a cookie-less future, could extend the runway for 3rd party cookies once more.

Viable alternatives to data tracking are certainly emerging, and as winners in this space begin to surface, Google may delay the inevitable, giving marketers and brands additional time to adapt their strategies as clear and viable alternatives are established.

The Era of Collaborative Sales in Programmatic Guaranteed

Programmatic guaranteed and data cleanrooms will assume a pivotal role in 2024, challenging conventions. The ongoing evolution of programmatic guaranteed will start to become the standard driven in large part by the pressing need to adapt to a changing environment marked by election-year dynamics.

The integration of data cleanrooms will further amplify the need for collaborative sales approaches. Advertisers, particularly those focused on local and digital media, will find success not merely in the traditional role of individual sales representatives but in building collaborative teams.

The imperative to comprehend diverse facets, from CTV to programmatic guaranteed, will usher in the era of team selling. This collaborative paradigm will bridge the gap between front-end sellers and back-end operations, ensuring efficient execution and maximizing advertising dollars in the face of evolving market dynamics.

As the opportunities multiply, the limitations of individual sales reps will become evident, making collaborative approaches and automation essential for effective management and conversion of prospects.

As we step into the new year, it’s clear that the digital advertising narrative is being shaped by a combination of forces unique to 2024 as well as some familiar trends that are reaching a tipping point.  As always, the new year promises unforeseen challenges and opportunities and we look forward to watching it all unfold.

Brian Beirne is an AdTech sales leader with a focus on new media and technology industries. Currently serving as the VP of Sales at Advisr, a leading sales operating system for B2B enterprises, Brian continues to drive innovation and excellence in the realms of AdTech and digital advertising.