Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Three things marketers should consider for a successful 2024

By Phil Duffield, VP UK, The Trade Desk

At the end of every year, we often feel like the advertising landscape before us is changing so rapidly that it is almost unrecognisable from this time the year prior. This feels particularly pertinent as we approach the end of 2023.

2024 is set to open at a tremendous crossroad for the industry as Google starts its phased retirement of the third-party cookie for 1% of users in Q1. In many ways, it feels like the year we’ve all been waiting for in terms of the wholesale upheaval required, as cookies are expected to be finally phased out in the second half of 2024.

As we look to the year ahead, what should marketers be thinking about to help set themselves up for success?

Mapping consumers on the move

The third-party cookie will soon cease to exist, so knowing how and where customers spend their time when they are consuming content online has never been more important. Concurrently, the media consumption of consumers has never been so fragmented.

We all know first-hand how much we use a range of devices and channels each day. From listening to a podcast on the morning commute, to doing an online shop on a mobile phone and relaxing in front of the TV – we don’t sit still, and consumption habits can and do change at the drop of a hat.

As we start the year, marketers should measure and evaluate which platforms customers are leaning into and which they’re becoming more passive with. I believe this is impossible without data-driven advertising and intelligent identity solutions built to do what cookies never could: benefit advertisers and boost the consumer experience.

Optimising impact: timing is everything

As well as knowing where their audience is, marketers should take a holistic approach to know exactly when – and how much – they should be targeted across channels. For instance, when applying frequency capping to individual channels, the likelihood of oversaturating the exposure of ads – and often patience of the recipient – runs worryingly high.

If the ideal frequency of an ad is four times per week, this should be measured across all channels with which the audience may come into contact with it. Not four times each on the web, four times on streaming platforms and four times on mobile.

Marketers should make it their mission to learn how identity solutions and household graphs can not only help improve the user experience of ads, but also streamline budgets across all channels to help ensure your ad reaches enough people to have impact, but little enough to remain interesting.

Redefining success for the year ahead

2024 will be no different in terms of the pressure on marketers to prove ROI. Smart marketers will have already moved away from proxy-metrix like clicks or views, and instead focus on real business outcomes like sales or brand lift. Each marketer should be taking the time now to review the measures they’re currently using and compare them with the ones they should be using. Only this will define the sources they need.

It goes without saying that any measurement sources utilised need to be independent, rather than a closed platform grading their own homework. I’m sure many of us are in agreement when I say “trust me, it works” is no longer good enough in this rapidly changing landscape.

In an age of data superabundance, with the helping hand of AI to make sense of it, leading advertisers have evolved from buying the cheapest impressions and hoping to reach the right people. Instead, they are clear on who to address and then identify and buy the most valuable ad spaces. That way, budgets are not wasted on reaching the wrong people.

As we look ahead thia year, the phase out of the third-party cookie will give marketers a crucial reset moment to redefine their strategies. Embracing data-driven advertising and identity solutions, accounting for frequency and timing across channels and measuring real business outcomes will be key as marketers chart a way ahead for the next twelve months.