As the old axiom goes, “You've got to know where you come from to know where you're going.”
It’s been a rollercoaster year for digital advertising, and as 2023 draws to a close let’s reflect on the themes that shaped the industry and what’s to come in 2024.
Themes that Shaped the Industry in 2023
The Reign of the Cookie is Over
The much-anticipated demise of third-party cookies in Google Chrome took shape in 2023. With Google’s confirmation of phasing out third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, marketers have been pivoting towards cookieless solutions. But after so many years dependent on cookies, the industry is still working out the kinks on alternative strategies with some clear solutions like contextual targeting coming out on top and gaining more share in marketers’ budgets.
The Power of Context
We’ve believed in the power of contextual targeting for over a decade and in 2023, witnessed its growing traction. However, it's important to recognize that not all contextual tech is created equal. AI-powered, advanced contextual offerings that offer a 360 degree understanding of a desktop, mobile and CTV environment are necessary to help brands meet the people they want to reach in the right mindset.
AI-powered contextual intelligence technology has become so advanced that it can analyze digital environments on a granular level, right down to individual scenes within digital videos. It can also go deep beyond metadata to understand all signals within an environment including text, audio, images and video. This gives brands and advertisers an unparalleled understanding of the content a consumer is viewing and how a contextual ad can perfectly tap into their active mindset, without the exploitation of personal data.
As a result, in 2024, advanced contextual intelligence will become more and more integral in helping brands reach consumers in the right mindsets. And advanced contextual intelligence fused with attention optimization? It’s the winning recipe.
Check out our Domino’s case study if you don’t believe us.
The Rise of Attention-based Advertising
Advancements in attention metrics have emerged as a powerful new insight for measuring and optimizing campaign efficacy. Brands are eager to move past generic theory and learnings with attention and into understanding what it means for them and their campaigns.
When paired with advanced contextual targeting, these metrics offer a potent combination for capturing the attention of a customer. Contextual ads can be continually optimized based on the digital environments and creatives that garner the highest consumer attention, helping to drive in-the-moment resonance and delivering next-level brand and business outcomes. This is a tactic that will gain considerable pace in 2024.
We expect a growing understanding – with a scientifically streamlined process to support it – of how brands connect attention metrics to optimize campaign performance and effectiveness.
The Era of CTV Persists
Connected TV is one of the most exciting digital advertising channels out there, but in 2023 advertisers have had a tough time breaking through. Fundamentally, the way we’ve advertised across linear TV for decades doesn’t work for CTV and streaming, so innovation and experimentation are key.
In 2024, we predict that as consumer viewing behavior continues to shift from traditional linear to CTV, advertisers will need to step out of their comfort zones and prioritize innovative, effective, and consumer-friendly CTV ad experiences. Traditional commercial ad breaks don’t resonate with consumers on CTV and CTV is ripe for innovation, including testing out new and different ad formats that prioritize consumer experience. For example, overlay ads perform well on CTV, in part because they don’t disrupt videos. Even more, they're efficient: according to a study conducted by MAGNA Media Trials, overlays are four times more memorable than traditional video ads and can also drive up to 72% in savings for advertisers.
The point is: CTV plays a huge role in how we consume video content today and to stand out on CTV, advertisers have to be open to testing new ad formats and experimenting with creativity in 2024. (Curious to know where contextual plays a role in CTV ads? Read our VP of Strategic Initiatives Hailey Denenberg’s article in Advertising Week, “How Next-Gen Contextual Tech is Raising the Bar on Safe and Innovative CTV Ads”).
What's to Come in 2024
So, those are a few GumGum predictions for 2024’s key themes and topics. Here are a few additional trends that we can see making it big next year:
The Cookie Reckoning:
With the final goodbye to cookies, expect a surge in brands adopting cookieless solutions like those offered by GumGum.
Understanding a person's frame of mind in the moment they see a brand's advertisement will become more crucial to drive deeper connections and contextual and attention signals will drive that understanding.
Racing to CTV and Video:
We’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to advertising in the streaming and video space. While the challenge of CTV supply and demand will be a focus, there is untapped potential in long-tail OTT/CTV apps and FAST channels that is yet to be explored.
Data-driven Ad Creatives:
Such creative will still be a huge driver for campaign success in 2024 - data-driven ad creatives will be dynamic and can take in real-time data to adapt the ad to the environment and enhance an audience's experience with the ad and therefore the brand.
Retail Media Networks:
Expect continued exploration and growth in retail media networks but with continued challenges around standardization and reporting.
Multicultural Marketing and Authentic DEIB Effort:
From internal DEIB efforts, to inclusion and diversification of media investment, to cultural authenticity – realignment is needed so that all consumers and communities are heard and represented.
That’s it for our 2023 rewind and 2024 predictions. From all of us at GumGum, have a great rest of the year and make sure to check back in late 2024 to see how well our crystal ball works.