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AI, e-commerce and Advertising: Key trends you need to know
Wed, 13th Dec 2023

While there's no shortage of uncertainty as we countdown to 2024, the crystal ball seems to have a few things in focus for the next trip around the sun. From the long-anticipated shift from third-party cookies to first-party data to the harnessing of AI and the evolution of e-commerce, here are five key tech trends set to shape how brands connect with customers. 

The race for first-party data

2024 is set to be the year of first-party data with Chrome deprecating third-party tracking cookies over 2024, following the lead of other browsers having already implemented similar changes. Brands will be focused on strategies to build their own valuable first-party data, built up from purchasing signals tracked via loyalty programs, registered users, CRM and so on.  

Brands will be turning to publishers to harness their vast contextual and enriched datasets from either registered users or gleaned from the type of content being consumed in real-time. Combinations of both publisher and advertiser data via data cleanrooms have been a topic of interest, and will be interesting to see how this is picked up over the year.

The shift promises contextual interest targeting, enabling a more precisely tailored match for brands between creative and audiences. The focus on sharper targeting translates into reaching the right audience with specific intent, ultimately leading to increased conversion rates and effectiveness.

Focus on innovative advertising

The ongoing adoption of more premium and effective ad solutions is a growing trend, which is only set to continue from an effectiveness and a user experience perspective. Clients are reporting that campaign budgets can be extended up to seven times more just by using more effective formats. 

Brands are demanding more premium sponsorship opportunities and publishers are accommodating via a range of high-impact and bespoke formats. This means more curated and higher quality ad experiences on-site, resulting in a longer-lasting impact from awareness to engagement through to conversion. We're seeing a further development toward solutions overlaying first-party data or contextual insights with premium ad formats. This delivers more personalised and relevant experiences, which are particularly effective for e-commerce.

As smartphone users worldwide reach an estimated 4.6 billion, with expectations of surpassing 5.1 billion by 2028, mobile internet traffic already claims nearly 60% of total web traffic. In response to this unprecedented growth, there's the need for a more expansive, premium mobile ad format that would not only extend the in-ad experience via a seamless, scrolling user experience, it would also drive brand awareness and communicate additional product information in an unobtrusive, impactful way.

Innovative new ad formats like BrandStory outshines competitors with triple the ad space and 2.8 times greater time in view than single-scroll ad formats. This addresses the surging demand from brands worldwide for more real estate to drive real results by seamlessly intertwining awareness, exploration and action within one comprehensive solution.

e-commerce to continue upward trajectory

We're witnessing the takeoff of e-commerce across the board, supercharged from the shift during lockdown as businesses of all sizes realised the value of having a direct relationship with their consumers. On top of the sales, e-commerce allows advertisers to own the data relating to the customer and the sale, which is a huge factor in the boom. 

e-commerce will see sustained growth as brands demonstrate a willingness to invest in channels that streamline the conversion process and build that direct line to their customers. We're seeing take-up of in-banner transactions, shoppable video, contextual targeting and dynamic e-commerce ads already playing a pivotal role in the transformation.

Harnessing AI

AI is quickly moving from a novelty to being embedded within a multitude of platforms to increase effectiveness and revolutionising the landscape, both in the overall marketing function and the specific ways we engage with technology. This includes from a generative perspective of creating content and messaging to getting a better handle on insights and planning, particularly with the abundance of first-party data. The wealth of information from this data will serve as a fertile ground for extensive learning and the development of models tailored to audience insights.

Surge in digital outdoor and connected TV channels

In the coming year, brace for a significant expansion in alternative advertising channels, particularly digital outdoor and connected TV. We anticipate substantial growth and innovative strategies as these channels evolve to become pivotal players in the advertising landscape. We have even been seeing clients connecting their digital out-of-home and digital display campaigns with live data, meaning interactions with the digital campaign can be relayed to the digital out-of-home screens – another space to watch.

The future of consumer-driven digital experiences

As we step into 2024, the world of advertising is gearing up for some exciting opportunities for publishers, advertisers and consumers alike. The strong focus on first-party data, the use of AI, the evolution of online shopping, the rise of different advertising channels and the march toward new ad formats are all painting a picture of innovation, integration and adaptability. It's a call for advertisers and publishers to work together, align their strategies with what consumers are looking for and create a landscape where creativity, data insights and modern technology come together for a more engaging advertising experience.