With 2023 wrapping up, it’s the perfect time to review trends in the digital landscape that will shape the coming year. By keeping on top of these trends, you can evolve your digital strategy to meet the changing needs of the modern consumer and get ahead of the curve.

Much of 2023 was characterised by tough global economic conditions that have been felt in Europe throughout the year. Despite these conditions, global ad spend is growing. In 2024, global ad spend is forecast to rise 8.2% to reach $1trn (£788bn), and in the UK, the ad market will grow by 4% to a value of £37.1bn.

According to eMarketer, retail brands spent the most on digital advertising in the UK in 2023, followed by FMCG. Despite travel seeing the least investment, digital ad spending targeting travellers in the UK is expected to reach 20.9% growth by the end of the year.

In 2023, trends in ad channels also evolved. Programmatic channels like digital out-of-home (DOOH), connected TV (CTV), and in-game advertising saw notable growth in adoption and investment. For example, by the end of 2023, it’s predicted that revenue in the in-game advertising market will reach €2.86bn, then rise at a compound annual growth rate of 12.62% resulting in a projected market volume of €4.60bn by 2027.

One of the biggest trends of the year was the growing move toward integrating newer channels with traditional media to drive impactful marketing strategies. For example, UK spend on CTV grew 9.5% in 2023, and investment in this channel, which can be run alongside linear TV efforts, is expected to grow by 16.7% in 2024.

These trends in spend and channels are all considerations for marketers to consider as they build their 2024 strategy. Alongside these, there are broader trends in the digital landscape to take note of.

1. Retention and reactivation in an uncertain economy

In 2024, it’s expected that Europe will start to see a gradual economic recovery. In the face of this uncertainty, brands should focus on maintaining existing relationships and re-engaging customers who have drifted away.

To make sure shoppers keep coming back, retailers and brands across all sectors should invest in loyalty programmes, and understand what customers want from them. Effective loyalty programmes can help consumers save while boosting customer retention rates and revenue. Loyalty programmes also generate valuable first-party data, which brands can use to power personalisation and retail media capabilities.

2. The relevance of first-party data activation

First-party data is becoming increasingly important as stricter privacy regulations in the EU and UK evolve. While this data provides an alternative to cookies, an activation that marketers should be tapping into is its capabilities for personalisation.

By collecting reliable and accurate data directly from consumers, marketers can trust that the data is up-to-date and reflective of the actual behaviour of their audiences. This allows for more engaging customer experiences while maintaining compliance with privacy regulations.

3. The growing role of AI in performance marketing

The relevance of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing is growing. According to McKinsey, generative AI’s impact on productivity could add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy. In 2024, marketers should make use of AI-powered technologies to optimise performance.

AI can assist in analysing vast amounts of data, uncover actionable insights and automate repetitive tasks. For digital marketers, this enables more efficient and effective campaign performance and management.

4. The potential of programmatic advertising in maximising AI

Opting for a programmatic platform that takes advantage of AI can prove instrumental in enhancing precision when reaching a target audience. According to Statista, the value of Europe’s programmatic ad market has more than doubled since 2017, with spending forecast to hit the $100bn mark by 2024. Harnessing the power of AI with programmatic advertising can offer a transformative advantage, with machine learning taking the reins to streamline complex processes.

The potential of programmatic platforms in maximising AI-powered advertising lies in their ability to seamlessly integrate advanced technologies, automate processes and extract actionable insights from vast datasets. This synergy not only empowers advertisers to elevate the efficiency of their campaigns but also has the power to yield the most rewarding results for their investment.

Getting ahead of the curve

In 2024, major trends will likely centre around the uncertainty of the economy, the increasing relevance of first-party data and the continued growth of AI and programmatic advertising. As the new year approaches, it’s key that marketers familiarise themselves with these latest and upcoming developments in the digital advertising landscape, and then analyse how these trends can be leveraged to reach their goals.

Looking to run AI-powered programmatic campaigns? Request a demo to learn more about StackAdapt.

Samantha Allison is director of client services, EMEA at StackAdapt.


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