December 14, 2023 | 4 min read
Comprised of media practitioners, retail strategists, and senior business leaders, the PMG Insights Team creates compelling thought leadership, spearheads proprietary consumer research, and drafts editorial content on the current and future state of the advertising, media, and technology industries.
Advertisers are looking forward to a new year of innovation and marketing opportunities as tentpole events like the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics stand to captivate millions of viewers around the world while changes—from new shoppable commerce formats to cookie deprecation (finally)—reshape the media landscape. As the end of 2023 draws near, we consulted leaders across PMG to get their take on the state of advertising and the trends they’re keeping a close eye on in the year ahead.
While 2023 saw periods of exploration and experimentation, 2024 will deliver more rigor into testing roadmaps and integrating generative AI technologies across marketing programs.
2024 will see more combined partnerships and commerce marketing activations powered by data, AI, and technology take center stage as new integrations bridge the gap between digital and physical to power more seamless omnichannel brand experiences.
Advancements in cookieless advertising, identity solutions, and measurement approaches will characterize much of 2024 as third-party cookies are phased out, and privacy-first advertising becomes the norm.
It’s been just over a year since OpenAI introduced ChatGPT to the public, with the power, potential, and promise of generative AI revolutionizing entire industries in the months since. By all accounts, the speed of research and innovation in generative AI and large language models (LLMs) across sectors has exceeded even the most bullish of expectations, delivering outsized competitive advantages and partnership opportunities to quick adopters alongside nuanced compliance and risk management considerations.
While much of 2023 was dedicated to periods of exploration and experimentation, 2024 will deliver more rigor into testing roadmaps and integrating generative AI technologies across three core areas of enterprise-level marketing programs: art and creativity, insights and measurement, and media performance and personalization.
The level of investment into generative AI technologies and activation varies broadly by brand, according to PMG data. Some are actively experimenting with AI image creation and editing to enable greater personalization, scalable creative development, and creative versioning. Others are leveraging generative AI to actualize greater efficiencies across media programs or implementing new tactics and ad types into their marketing mix. Already, PMG has seen investments into AI-powered, automated ad solutions, like Google Performance Max (PMax), increase by nearly 350 percent year-over-year in recent months, delivering impressive performance gains—and learnings—for advertisers.
“2024 will deliver more rigor into testing and integrating generative AI across advertising programs.”
For performance marketing programs, the combination of contextual targeting with recent AI advancements across adtech partners like Cognitiv, GumGum, and The Trade Desk is helping to deliver more relevant messaging and incremental value for brands. As multimodal AI models, like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4V, become more readily available, alongside improved creative development tools from Meta and Google, the possibilities for generative AI in advertising will become truly endless, further transforming advertising experiences and consumer expectations.
Right alongside these generative AI advantages are new, combined advertising and technology partnerships across platforms, leading to new shoppable formats, bolstered targeting capabilities, and more expansive omnichannel consumer touchpoints.
In November, Amazon announced new integrations with Meta and Snap, featuring Amazon products. Earlier in the year, Amazon inked a similar deal with Pinterest, while Walmart announced a competing commerce partnership in the summer with NBCUniversal. These partnerships further connect social and retail media via in-app shoppable formats. While the growth of retail media is making headlines, these combined advertising and technology partnerships are just as notable, powering more native ecommerce and shoppable storefronts for consumers and greater relevancy and personalization at scale for advertisers.
In many ways, partnerships between media and tech partners build on each other’s innovation and audience insights, helping to make data more actionable for advertisers. Media investments into retail media and these combined partnerships also offer advertisers a degree of future-proofing amid third-party cookie deprecation and fast-evolving privacy regulations across the media landscape.
“2024 will see more joint technical partnerships and commerce marketing activations, underpinned by data, AI, and technology.”
Similarly, the launch of Amazon Prime Video’s ad-supported subscription tier (AVOD) introduces another scalable premium publisher into the streaming ecosystem to rival the likes of Netflix and Peacock. Ad-supported streaming services are growing increasingly popular amid increasing fragmentation and subscription fatigue among viewers. In parallel, we can expect to see more consolidation across the industry as streaming providers merge service offerings to better compete against industry leaders.
While content discovery across so many streaming platforms remains a challenge for viewers, advertisers have gained a competitive advantage as cord-cutting grows, and new competitive pressures between studios and streaming providers deliver cost efficiencies, first-mover advantages, and media diversification. Exclusivity deals for live sports, day-after-airing access, streaming rights, and bypasses to theatrical releases will continue to make headlines in the year ahead, shaking up the modern video ecosystem as streaming platforms pursue profitability and compete for a leg up against rival services.
From retail media and streaming platforms to digital-out-of-home (DOOH) ad units, integrated, full-funnel innovation is everywhere—inclusive of audio, programmatic display, podcast, and video advertising. 2024 will see more combined partnerships and commerce marketing activations powered by data, AI, and technology take center stage as these partnerships bridge the gap between digital and physical to power more seamless omnichannel brand experiences.
If all goes according to plan, 2024 will see the beginning of the end of third-party cookies in advertising. Google is set to gradually phase out third-party cookies on Google Chrome throughout the year, beginning in Q1 for one percent of users, followed by a broader phase-out for all Google Chrome users by Q3 2024. Across the industry, alternative identity and measurement technologies are rapidly being developed and tested to improve people’s privacy in light of these changes, from Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative to The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0, as the privacy-first era of the internet comes to pass.
Behind the headlines of shifting timetables for cookie deprecation and ever-evolving identity solutions is a measure of uncertainty as the industry evolves from cookie-based to cookieless. This moment presents a unique opportunity to reset and invest in durable media attribution and measurement solutions to combat signal loss, an approach that will be even more essential in 2024. In recent months, we’ve seen brands supercharge their durable measurement capabilities in preparation for mounting privacy changes, industry-wide adoption of data cleanrooms and identity solutions, and third-party cookie deprecation.
“The end of third-party cookies draws near, with new attribution and identity solutions helping to evolve performance marketing for the privacy-first future.”
Measurement approaches like Media Mix Modeling (MMM) have become a must-have for any well-organized media program, a trend that’s sure to continue in 2024. By reducing a brand’s dependence on in-platform signals, those with durable measurement programs ensure a smoother transition to advertising’s privacy-first future. Those who have planned for these changes and adapted a test-and-learn approach to their media mix will gain a competitive advantage as many advertisers race to catch up and evolve to the changes introduced by cookie deprecation and its many implications across the broader industry.
Advancements in cookieless advertising, identity solutions, and measurement approaches will characterize much of 2024. Navigating the ever-changing landscape of new solutions and privacy-conscious technology will demand flexibility, and brands that prepare their audience strategies, media investments, and measurement solutions now won’t be caught off guard when the privacy-first future of advertising is here.
Led by advancements in AI and consumer demand, advertising is becoming privacy-first and more personalized. As the new year brings forth new opportunities, the marketing mix and media landscape will continue to evolve to account for innovation and these trends. Much like previous years, 2024 will require a degree of agility, with full-funnel positioning becoming more important than ever among brands that look to appeal to and engage with audiences in the AI-integrated, privacy-first advertising landscape.