Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

2024 Predictions: LiveRamp, Adform, Permutive, Scibids, Exte, RTB House, Adludio and Rayn

NDA turned to some of the biggest names in digital media and marketing for insight on what’s in store for 2024.

Jaysen Gillespie, Head of Analytics and Data Science, RTB House:

“With Google slated to start real-world testing of cookieless solutions, such as the Protected Audience API, in Q1 2024, marketers will finally move the cookieless revolution from the back burner to the front burner. 

“Though the exact timing of the stairsteps from 1% cookieless (Chrome) to 100% cookieless is still uncertain, the deprecation timeline will have only moderate slippage from here. The full deprecation of 3rd party cookies in Chrome should be complete by March 31 2025. 

“In the next year, the web will fracture into the authenticated and the unauthenticated web, and Google’s solution will become the default for at-scale marketing for the latter. Users rarely “log in” via a web browser unless they are forced to. However, both publishers and advertisers can win big when users are in an authenticated state. Logging in opens up the ability to know much more about a user, therefore creating an increase in the theoretical performance of marketing. As a result, niche solutions are developed to complement Google’s Protected Audience API, with a focus on authenticated users.

“Towards the end of Q2, the “late majority” of performance marketers will also realize that it’s time to audit their ad-tech vendors, and the results may not be as positive as expected. Many marketers will discover that much of their preferred vendors’ performance from Chrome is still highly dependent on the third-party cookie, leaving marketers needing to integrate technology vendors that genuinely perform in a cookieless environment.”

Alvaro Pastor, CMO, EXTE

“In 2024, we are going to see a level of personalisation in advertising that was unimaginable a few years ago. Thanks to AI, highly sophisticated algorithms will be used by businesses to gather and analyse data, including contextual and real-time information. The upshot of this is that brands will be able to significantly enhance ad creatives in line with this data to provide a far more enriching visual experience for consumers. With better creatives and improved placements and targeting, the effectiveness of ad campaigns will be boosted substantially. We’ll find ourselves entering a new dimension of advertising where creatives truly connect with consumers and audiences are wooed by the ads they are served.”

Faye Leneghan, Creative Strategy Lead at AMA

“According to Mintel, 2023 was the year of hyper-fatigue – a state of continuous physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. As some of the stresses of 2023 persist, such as the economic crisis and global political instability, we expect this overwhelm among consumers to continue, and is likely to affect the way they interact with the media. It seems likely that 2024 will be the year of intentional media consumption, and consumers will become increasingly discerning about what they consume.

“Consumers are actively searching for ways to reduce their screen time, and digital audio provides an escape from the overwhelming feeling that can come from constantly being online. Research found that over a third of listeners tune into digital audio as a way to destress, with 3 in 10 seeing digital audio as a break from screens. Therefore, we can expect the popularity of digital audio formats such as podcasts, audio books and digital radio to continue to impact how individuals consume media and thus how advertisers engage with them.

“In 2024, consumers will not only be consuming media more intentionally, they will also be spending their money more intentionally. The effects of economic uncertainty will continue to prevail, causing consumers to think harder before spending. As a result, I suspect brands will take a more personalised approach to messaging to ensure they are targeting the correct audiences with content that is relevant to them. The capabilities of digital audio means that brands can tap into real-time data, such as weather and location to produce highly personalised ads that truly resonate with each individual listener.”

Elizabeth Brennan, General Manager, Advertising, Permutive

“Whether Google ultimately decides to turn off third party cookies in Chrome next year is redundant, in a bid to protect their privacy, 70% of consumers have taken the decision to use ad blockers or disable cookies online. This leaves only 30% of the open web available to advertisers using cookie based IDs. As a result, brands not investing in cookie-free infrastructures and technologies are already suffering and this is only set to get worse in 2024 when Google turns off the cookie life support.

“Aside from the removal of third party cookies, brands remained challenged with doing their day job; selling more of their products or services. There is a growing discontent in the market between cost effective reach (in digital media) and the impact this ultimately has on a business outcome. I have seen brands start to question why they’re losing market share or share of wallet, even though they’re reaching a huge number of “users” (impressions).  The outcome is that they’re zeroing in on the quality versus quantity of reach and impressions, ultimately no one should care that a CPM is double the cost if it’s more effective at driving sales or market share.  

“During 2024, I think that brands will start to feel comfortable moving away from cheap reach and spending relatively more to protect their market share and brand equity from being eroded.”

Benjamin Arnold, President, North America, Adludio

Every major technological shift has an evolutionary impact on the jobs market. From the Industrial Revolution to the advent of social media, tasks usually move from man to machine, but new roles are also created. For example, titles like Social Media or Influencer Manager and Content Creator were almost unheard of a decade ago, but now are staples of marketing. We are experiencing the same process with the proliferation of AI. However, the speed of change is unprecedented.

“In what took social media arguably a decade to do, AI’s influence on the job cycle has been pronounced in the space of a year. AI specialist titles, like Large Language Modellers and Prompt Engineers, are extremely sought after, while other processes and roles have already folded into or look soon to be replaced by the technology. We can expect this shift to continue with the same momentum in 2024. 

“Nevertheless, just as many roles pivoted in the social media age, there is an opportunity for professionals to similarly embrace AI. Whether you’re in roles, new to the job market, or were impacted by the sweeping lay-offs by the tech giants this year, everyone could now look to retrain and apply their skills to AI. Indeed, as technology augments our activity, it’s human quality control and supervision that will remain fundamental to AI’s continued success. 

“What will move the needle for marketers next year is how quickly they can align their businesses and people to AI’s integration.

Tim Geenen, CEO and Co-Founder, Rayn 

“In 2024, digital advertising is poised for a transformative phase, responding dynamically to industry shifts. This evolution will encompass a surge in adopting tools like clean rooms, contextual solutions, and validation providers. And with the increasing concerns around data privacy, more techniques to protect users’ data, such as synthetic data and anonymisation, will be implemented to build trust while at the same time ensuring effective campaigns.

“What’s more, there will be a deeper focus on understanding user intent and tailoring ads to specific moments in time, reflecting a trend towards more targeted and personalised advertising. This will be marked by the widespread adoption of AI-powered probabilistic predictions, driving the need for validation points as decisions increasingly rely on these insights.

“As the next year approaches, marketers must prioritise verifying their efforts and implementing creative, contextually relevant strategies that go beyond traditional boundaries. They should rethink planning and decision-making habits, and consider how these have changed in today’s world. For instance, contextual advertising shouldn’t be limited to the main topic of the website; it should extend into other adjacent areas that tie into the subject matter and the modelling of personas. By keeping this in mind, marketers can craft impactful and successful campaigns that resonate with their target audience in the coming year.”

Hugh Stevens, UK MD, LiveRamp

“The proliferation of media networks was profound this year. According to the latest Global Ad Trends report from WARC, retail media is forecast to hit $128.2bn this year and is set to grow another 10% in 2024. 

“As a result of this massive growth, the industry can expect more and more announced partnerships but also added complexities and measurement challenges. For example, the lack of standardisation across retail media networks has made it difficult to evaluate campaign performance and see a clear return-on-investment (ROI). Retailers will need to work together to define ROI in a common way and provide insights that truly show the advertisers the success of their objectives. This will mean competitive media networks working together (especially the smaller ones).

“While we haven’t quite solved transparent measurement for everyone, there are solutions available that will give brands more confidence in their media performance. Exploring data collaboration as a means to validate whether an online advertisement influenced an in-store purchase, or vice versa, will help advertisers make informed decisions about their spend and ultimately achieve a higher ROI. Additionally, it presents retailers the opportunity to revisit a loyalty program which not only bolsters the in-store experience but creates a powerful data set for the media network as well. 

“I do anticipate media networks will increasingly blur the line between in-store and digital estates, as well as grow in new verticals such as entertainment, travel and auto. Building a media network requires a level of data sophistication and a good level of first-party data to launch. That said, pretty much any brand can operate a good level of data collaboration utilising first, second and third-party data to deliver those personalised experiences customers crave, and the measurement that brands demand.” 

Eric Schwartz, North America MD, Scibids

“The proliferation and expansion of new digital channels will continue in 2024. CTV, for example, is set to maintain its steep upward trajectory as the streaming giants produce more content and drive engagement. However, more and more channels will contribute to the problem of fragmentation which, with navigating the loss of third-party signals, will remain one of the key challenges for marketers next year.

“Thankfully, the integration of AI will help brands scale these obstacles, by making sense of all this information, improving efficiencies in the Media Mix Modelling, and driving toward the business outcomes that really matter. For example, in the realm of bidding, customizable algorithms can analyze data signals to optimize toward cost-efficient inventory and brand-specific metrics. This includes those based on attention, which, in a far cry to vanity metrics, will be critical to scaling return-on-investment across channels moving forward. 

“If it isn’t already, AI will become marketers’ best friend in 2024.”

Phil Acton, UK Country Manager, Adform

“Finally, Google is beginning to transition to the cookieless age. If they haven’t already, brands need to take this as an urgent wake-up call to do the same. Unfortunately, our recent research found that only 36% of UK marketers are aware of alternatives to third-party cookies. This is a situation exacerbated by budget cuts, unclear guidance from publishers, and limited in-house resources.

Of course, these challenges won’t disappear in 2024, so brands need to be smart and make sure that the spend they have is working the hardest it can. This means changing the game. In particular, working with the right partners that can make the most of opportunities of the multi-ID world, leveraging solutions that can scale addressable audiences and pursue business-specific outcomes.

Gaynelle Brautigam, Head of Innovation, Tactical

“As we approach 2024, it’s evident that the coming year is going to be a significant milestone for Mixed Reality (MR). With advancing technologies and innovative developments, the MR landscape is gearing up for a transformative journey. For example, Meta is shifting its focus from gaming to a B2B audience by partnering with Adobe & Microsoft to bring their software into MR.

What’s more, Apple’s Vision Pro headset is scheduled to be released in 2024, which will revolutionise the industry. It’s exciting times ahead as we anticipate big brands creating groundbreaking experiences and applications that will undoubtedly shape the way we interact with the digital world.”

*All the above are clients of Bluestripe Communications, owned by Bluestripe Group, the publisher of NDA.