As we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome 2024, the world of digital advertising is buzzing with fresh trends and innovations. With the new year comes not only an opportunity to set personal and professional goals but also to evaluate our habits from the previous year and commit to better practices.
While you take a moment to reflect on your journey through 2023, we're here to share our perspective on what digital advertisers should prioritize as they enter the new year. But first, let's take a look back at the significant changes that have influenced the digital advertising landscape over the past year.
2023 in Review: Major Shifts in Digital Advertising
2023 in digital advertising was a year of significant evolution that has reshaped the marketers’ day-to-day routines and strategic focus. Here’s an overview of the most noteworthy advancements:
The Social Media Surge
The remarkable growth in social media advertising, particularly on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, was a game-changer this year. In fact, according to Meta 70% of shoppers looked to Instagram for their next purchase. For digital advertisers, this meant adapting strategies to leverage these platforms’ unique characteristics - from Instagram’s visually rich environment to YouTube’s vast audience base. It became increasingly important - and time consuming - for advertisers to tailor ads to each network, which all have different audiences, trends, ad specs, and considerations. No wonder 58% of marketers say the pace at which networks release new user and advertising features makes it hard to keep up!
Vertical Video and Motion-Based Content
The increasing popularity of vertical video content and motion-based creative was more than a trend; it was a response to changing consumer preferences. With users increasingly consuming content on mobile devices, vertical formats became more crucial for capturing attention. In fact, nearly 90% of all visits to YouTube came from a mobile device in 2023. Digital advertisers had to rethink content creation, focusing on mobile optimization and dynamic storytelling, to engage viewers effectively.
AI and Automation in Campaign Management
If 2023 taught us anything, it's that AI and automation in digital advertising isn't just a smart choice, it's our new best friend in efficiency. These technologies allowed digital advertisers to automate repetitive tasks, focus on creative strategy, and leverage data insights for targeted campaigns. The result was a more strategic approach to advertising, with AI tools enhancing ad personalization and relevance.
Transition to GA4
Moving from Universal Analytics to GA4 was a pivotal change in data analysis and user tracking. For digital advertisers, this transition meant adapting to a new system that offered more comprehensive and user-centric insights. GA4's focus on privacy-compliant tracking and cross-platform measurement demanded a deeper understanding of data analytics, influencing how campaigns are planned and measured.
Emphasis on Privacy
The increasing focus on user privacy and the need for anonymity brought a significant shift in how advertisers handle user data. This change was driven by growing privacy concerns and regulations. Advertisers had to balance targeted marketing strategies with ethical data practices, emphasizing transparency and user consent.
Each of these trends brought challenges, but also opportunities to innovate and excel in creating impactful, responsible, and effective advertising strategies. With these 2023 insights in hand, let's pivot to the emerging trends of 2024 and how we can embrace them.
2024 Forecast: Key Trends Shaping Digital Advertising
As we venture into 2024, global ad spend growth is expected to rise to 8.2% from 4.4% in 2023, reflecting the industry’s dynamism and resilience. For digital advertisers, this indicates a growing market and the need to stay ahead of emerging trends. Here’s a glimpse into what’s shaping the future of the industry.
Hyper-personalized, Localized Advertising: Tailoring Experiences to Consumer Preferences
Creating tailor-made experiences for consumers is no longer a luxury; it’s necessary. Think of Amazon's product recommendations or Spotify's personalized playlists – these aren't just convenient features, they're powerful tools in building customer loyalty and engagement. For digital advertisers, leveraging data insights to craft highly personalized campaigns is key. It's about understanding each stage of the customer journey and creating content that resonates with individual personas. In 2024, success in digital advertising will be influenced by how well you can use data to speak directly to the consumer's needs and preferences.
AI and Automation: The Next Wave of Digital Ingenuity
AI and automation will become increasingly crucial in 2024. These technologies will continue enabling digital advertisers to run more effective advertising strategies in a fraction of the time via content creation, campaign management, and budgeting automation. Additionally, we’ll see the expansion of emerging use cases and capabilities for AI and automation, such as normalizing disparate data sources, generating reporting and insights, and powering customized advertising campaigns at scale. In any case, embracing these tools allows for a more dynamic and responsive advertising approach.
Social Commerce: Blending Shopping with Socializing
Social platforms are quickly becoming shopping destinations. With features like in-app purchases and shoppable posts, platforms are blurring the lines between socializing and shopping. The recent partnership between Amazon and Meta, as well as the emerging collaboration between Google and TikTok, are prime examples of this trend. These strategic partnerships make sense, given the dominance of social media channels as a primary source of information, specifically for Generation Z consumers. Digital advertisers should take advantage of these new opportunities to drive revenue through social commerce by creating content that doesn’t just engage, but also converts. The goal is to seamlessly integrate the shopping experience into the social media ecosystem, making it as easy and natural for users to shop as it is to like or share.
Video Advertising: Capturing Attention Through Storytelling
The dominance of video advertising continues to grow, with various formats ranging from bite-sized social media videos to longer ads on streaming services. In 2023, a record-breaking 91% of businesses harnessed the power of video as a marketing tool, while an even more remarkable 92% of marketers reported achieving a positive ROI from their video campaigns. The emotional impact and engagement potential of video is unmatched, with 89% of consumers confirming that watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service. Digital advertisers should focus on creating an experience that resonates with the viewers – whether it's through compelling storytelling, stunning visuals, or interactive elements.
Exploring New Opportunities: DSPs, OTT, and Amazon
The global demand side platform market is on an upward trajectory, with projections indicating remarkable growth from $25.54 billion in 2023 to a substantial $114.51 billion by 2030. This meteoric rise is primarily attributed to the surging popularity of programmatic advertising, which is reshaping the ad buying landscape. These versatile platforms empower advertisers to connect with their target audience seamlessly, bridging the gap between devices and enabling hyper-localized campaigns across various channels, including digital out-of-home (DOOH), audio, native, and Over-the-Top (OTT).
Speaking of OTT, this emerging platform has witnessed an exceptional surge in viewership, driven by the likes of Hulu, Disney+, and Prime Video. This shift presents an exceptionally lucrative opportunity for advertisers looking to engage with a younger and highly engaged audience. As we step into 2024, the momentum of OTT advertising shows no signs of slowing down. Advertisers can anticipate even more robust targeting options at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional media. This advantage becomes especially pronounced during political advertising windows, making 2024 a highly favorable year for OTT advertising.
Additionally, the rise of Amazon’s advertising capabilities will only continue to shape the landscape. Non-endemic advertising capabilities, highlighted by Amazon’s recent release of 'Sponsored Display for All', create a huge opportunity for businesses, especially those not directly affiliated with Amazon's marketplace. These businesses can now tap into Amazon's extensive first-party data and cutting-edge targeting capabilities, enhancing their advertising strategies and expanding their reach.
Setting the Stage: 2024 “Resolutions” for Digital Advertisers
As we embrace these new trends, here are ten actionable resolutions to guide your digital advertising strategy in 2024:
- Embrace Hyper-Personalization and Localization: Use data analytics tools to gather insights on customer behavior and preferences. Then tailor your ad campaigns to match these insights and target customers at a local level.
- Leverage AI and Automation: Start by automating routine tasks such as ad postings and performance monitoring, and gradually incorporate AI for more complex tasks like predictive analysis, content personalization, and launching accounts at scale.
- Capitalize on Social Commerce: Design interactive and shoppable posts on social media platforms, and use analytics to track which types of content drive the most sales.
- Innovate with Video Advertising: Experiment with different video formats, such as live streams, short clips, or story ads, to see what resonates best with your audience across various platforms, from social media to streaming services.
- Explore New Channels and Technologies: Allocate a portion of your advertising budget to pilot emerging platforms or ad formats like programmatic, OTT, or Amazon. Analyze the ROI of these pilots to guide future investments.
- Focus on Ethical Data Usage: Regularly review and update your data collection and usage policies to ensure compliance with privacy laws and ethical standards.
- Enhance the User Experience: Gather feedback through surveys and user testing to understand how your ads are perceived and make adjustments to improve the overall user experience.
- Eliminate Budgeting and Pacing Errors: Budgeting and pacing errors can be mitigated or eliminated through automation tools, which will become even more necessary in 2024 due to the expansion of new advertising channels and mediums. By automating budget reallocations, rollovers, and bid adjustments, you'll maximize your ROI as well as free up valuable time for strategic work.
- Optimize for Mobile-First Experiences: Optimize all of your digital advertising content for mobile-first experiences. This includes creating responsive designs, ensuring fast loading times, and tailoring content formats for mobile screens.
- Prioritize Continuous Learning: Dedicate a set amount of time each week to read industry publications, attend webinars, or participate in professional development courses. Resources like Ad Age, Search Engine Land, AdWeek, and MarTech provide valuable insights and updates. Additionally, attending workshops and conferences can be a great way to stay informed and network with peers.
Looking Ahead: A Bright Future for Digital Advertising in 2024
Think of the coming year as a fresh opportunity to innovate, learn from the past, and build even more engaging and effective advertising programs. The team at Fluency is here to support you every step of the way, helping you turn your ambitious visions into reality.
Here's to a trailblazing 2024 – together, let’s make it an unforgettable year!