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10 marketers weigh in on what’s in store for 2024

3D number 2024 with the 0 replaced by a magic 8 ball animated to display the '8 ball answers' of a tv screen and a shopping cart.

Illustration by Robyn Phelps / Shutterstock / The Current

It’s fair to say there was no shortage of boardroom drama in the advertising world this year.

From the U.S. government filing a major antitrust lawsuit against Google and the actors’ and writers’ guilds forcing the first Hollywood shutdown since 1960, to Microsoft purchasing Activision Blizzard and Disney moving to take full control of Hulu, we saw a number of shake-ups that will likely shape the future of the industry. Heading into 2024, when Google begins to deprecate cookies, marketers will chart their courses with identity solutions, data strategies, AI deployment, and more.

The Current spoke with 10 advertising executives about their biggest predictions for the new year. Efficiency stands out as a through line for these decision-makers, along with omnichannel measurability. Here’s what they are seeing in their crystal balls.

What’s next for retail media

“In 2024, connected TV [CTV] will lead the way in connecting online and offline experiences. Brands will harness the power of TV combined with the precision of retail data for a better understanding of the consumer. This means clearer insights into the customer journey and more personalized experiences. Shoppable CTV will open new opportunities to remove barriers and put consumers first by helping them seamlessly find product inspiration and fulfill orders in the omnichannel ways they prefer. This will help elevate how content is created and delivered, and ultimately enhance advertiser relationships with consumers.” 

— Sarah Travis, SVP and president, Roundel

“We’ll continue to see retail media mature and see more sophisticated campaigns that enable off-platform executions to have stronger performance muscles and stronger measurability. The overall industry is headed in the same direction of measurability and really connecting those purchase loops. We’re just starting to see the power of retail media and next year will be a huge year to unlock what [it] can do for advertisers.”

Laura Jones, chief marketing officer, Instacart

“Advertisers will need to better rationalize their expenditures with a clear return on investment. To achieve this, retail media platforms must offer better, more transparent measurement to help advertisers track the impact of their media campaigns on business outcomes.”

Lex Josephs, VP and GM, Sam’s Club Member Access Platform

“Retail media came of age in 2023; in 2024, we will see it start to mature. Not just in terms of standardization of measurement and ad formats, but also in terms of its power to provide marketers with the Holy Grail: Targeting high-value audiences with precision — something they stand to lose as cookies start to deprecate. We will see many more retailers offering opportunities to leverage their first-party data, and as data clean room technology advances and the cost becomes more palatable, privacy-compliant first-party data matchups will become more commonplace. What makes that really exciting is it means retail media, particularly off-site, becomes a serious consideration for non-endemic as well as endemic brands.”

Glen Conybeare, global president, IPG Mediabrands Commerce

On the upcoming presidential election

“The 2024 [U.S.] political election season will be an interesting one as we anticipate two key trends colliding: The increasing growth behind CTV and the general interest, excitement, and momentum in the political sector — from viewers, agencies, and marketers alike — as we head into a presidential election year. The intersection of these two catalysts may very well give an added boost to another trend we’ve been closely tracking in the market: The rise in CTV programmatic ad spending.”

Jon Mansell, VP and U.S. head of demand, FreeWheel 

“With the [U.S.] presidential primaries this spring, party conventions over the summer, and the election in November, brands will be competing with candidates for U.S. consumers’ attention. While most mature brands will try to avoid becoming a political pinball, expect audacious behavior from a number of upstart brands trying to find an audience. If they can attract just 5 percent of the political fringe, that’s still a very sizable market. I predict it will be a good year for brand managers of noise-canceling headphones.”

John Birnsteel, CEO, Doe-Anderson, Inc. 

The future of AI

“The speed of innovation and evolution of AI models will only get faster. As fast as it feels like things are moving right now, today is the slowest rate of change you’ll experience the rest of your life. As we evaluate where AI can benefit business, it’s important to recognize AI’s potential beyond efficiency and cost savings and embrace its potential to improve experiences, tell more powerful stories, reduce friction, and increase joy. Moreover, as AI becomes increasingly advanced at mirroring how we communicate and behave, forward-looking brands will proactively manage for transparency and trust in the absence of standards that have yet to be formalized.”

Jon Cook, global CEO, VML

“2024 will bring the convergence of three unrelenting areas of innovation: Generative AI planning, privacy compliant first-party data, and safe and simple attribution. Advertisers and publishers have long been talking about first-party data, but 2024 will see key industry players reaching this convergence for the first time, enabling both sides to finally walk the walk. The connective tissue will allow advertisers — Fortune 500 and Main Street alike — to leverage the convergence to safely and simply attribute business outcomes to their AI-assisted data-driven marketing plans.”

Amol Waishampayan, chief product officer,

“Advertisers will need to make the artificial feel genuine. Artificial intelligence will be used more and more to develop and produce creative campaigns, but meanwhile, Gen Z is demanding authentic connections from brands. It’s a difficult dichotomy, but those who navigate this contradiction best will thrive in 2024.”

Mitchell Fait, creative director and partner, Gigasavvy

The maturation of connected TV

“Programmatic platforms and digital publishers will unify email-based user IDs with household IDs, bridging the gap between individualized digital targeting and household-focused TV advertising. CTV has blurred the line between individual and household identity, with logged-in emails more often representing households than individuals. The long-awaited convergence of user-based and household identity will arrive in 2024 just in time to not only enhance the addressability of TV but also solve the over-frequency issues currently afflicting the CTV ad ecosystem.”

Jason Manningham, CEO, Blockgraph