7 Advertising Predictions For 2024, And Our Take On Them

Feb 26, 2024

By Tony Silber

A favorite media-on-media consumption activity for me is to scan X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Threads and various newsletters for content related to what our Fox Tales audience will find interesting. Generally it’s about advertising or audience development, but not always.

True to form, I came across this item on Forbes.com earlier this month—predictions for the advertising market in 2024. Predictions are very common, and nearly ubiquitous in the last quarter and first quarter of any given year. This article, though, struck me as more than just standard boilerplate, so I figured it’s worth sharing. It’s also reasoned very well—well enough for me to offer some feedback on the predictions. So that’s what I did below. The Forbes.com report is organized into seven specific predictions, each of which includes a paragraph of pretty good analysis. Any armchair quarterback (including me) would enjoy responding to each of these items. So here goes—my analysis of the Forbes.com analysis.

Forbes.com prediction:

The streaming wars will drive more opportunities for marketers.

“There will always be a group of people willing to pay more to avoid ads, but lagging economic confidence and the proliferation of ad-supported channels will combine to drive more opportunities for advertisers.

Amazon Prime announced it will begin showing ads in 2024, and more platforms will likely follow suit. More ad availability along with the intensifying streaming wars will increase the opportunity for marketers to reach highly specific audience segments. Brands should seize the chance to tap into these platforms’ robust metrics and analytics to optimize their organization’s reach.”

My take: It’s true that streaming television creates more opportunity for advertising. But this analysis understates the sense of annoyance that comes with subscribing to one of these services, and all of a sudden—as in the case of Amazon Prime—you’re forced to see ads unless you want to pay $3.00 per month extra. I disliked Amazon’s “Freevee” as well. But $3.00 per month seems like too much on a Prime service bundle where rates are regularly jacked up aggressively already. I’m not paying the $3.00, but I also haven’t logged onto Prime since Amazon rolled out ads as its default setting.

Forbes.com prediction:

Generative AI will make personalization at scale more feasible.

“We’re still in the dawn of the AI age, and over the past year, advertising agencies experimented with new ways to incorporate the technology into their content development processes. In 2024, we’ll see agencies expanding their use of AI to enable personalization at scale, which can enhance brand affinity and drive sales.

As agencies deploy more advanced algorithms and robust user analytics to evaluate consumer behavior and demographics, brands should take advantage of these new capabilities to personalize content delivery.”

My take: I’m not sure about this one either. We already have so-called “hyper-personalization” through marketers’ tracking the websites we visit. How much more personalized do we expect AI to get? Intrusive advertising always results in a mostly unwelcome level of inundation. (It’s not always unwelcome, sometimes ads that track you across the internet serve as a prompt or a reminder of what you wanted to buy.)

Forbes.com prediction:

VR and AR will extend the available advertising space.

“Marketers who are open to AR and VR campaigns that provide immersive experiences or placing ads on virtual billboards can blend the physical and online worlds to reach more customers.

With more than a billion downloads since its 2016 launch, Pokémon GO introduced augmented reality to a new generation. In 2023, the game’s maker, Niantic, rolled out a novel way for consumers to interact with branded augmented reality campaigns, allowing companies to immerse consumers with content and tell a visual product story within a mobile app. Brands will continue to use this and similar tools to drive sales next year.”

My take: See my response to Prediction 1, above. Seriously, though, VR and AR are a work in progress and mass adoption might still be 20 years in the future. It’s been 12 years since the introduction of Oculus VR headset, and even with the deep pockets of Meta, it’s definitely not a mass-consumer product. Apple’s Vision Pro has been impressing tech journalists, but man, it’s hard to see a future where everyone’s seated at their desks—or walking around town—wearing a headset that looks like ski goggles, with a wire coming out the back.

Forbes.com prediction:

Social commerce will expand as a sales channel.

“In 2023, TikTok launched TikTok Shop, an e-commerce capability allowing users to buy products on the video-sharing app. But even before the launch, more than half of TikTok users said they’d made a purchase after seeing a product on the platform. With a conversion rate like that, it’s no surprise that brands are exploring ways to drive sales through social commerce.

In 2024, marketers should be on the lookout for changes in popular social media apps, such as more emphasis on user wellness, or new shopping features or integrations, and adjust strategies accordingly.”

My take: I agree with this. Social media is a natural place to extend into retail. But I haven’t seen any kind of interface or UX anywhere near the simplicity of buying things on Amazon. Social platforms have a very high bar here, and not for nothing, Amazon’s ad business has exploded in the last seven or eight years.

Forbes.com prediction:

More brands will explore podcasts and audio content to drive awareness and sales.

“Podcasts and similar forms of audio content are a popular way to reach consumers, and in the next year, we’re likely to see more businesses use audio channels.

For example, Shopify created its Shopify Masters podcast, which gives customers of the popular e-commerce platform tips on building their businesses. By combining thought leadership with advice and tips for listeners, marketers can leverage podcasts to drive consumers down the marketing funnel.”

My take: This is an interesting prediction. It certainly poses a potential threat to independent podcast producers. Podcasts are everywhere—there’s a seemingly unending demand for them, on virtually any subject you could imagine. They’re just so convenient. And more often than not, they’re super compelling. The revenue side is harder to gauge. In my view, this one is TBD.

Forbes.com prediction:

Brands will lean into interactive content to drive engagement.

“Remember when Wordle took the world by storm in 2021? A free word-puzzle game developed by a software engineer for the amusement of himself and his partner, Wordle was soon part of the daily routine for millions, who eagerly played the game and posted results on social media.

In 2022, The New York Times bought the rights to Wordle after recognizing its potential as an engagement tool. In 2024, we’ll likely see more brands begin to offer interactive videos, games, polls and quizzes to their audience. By providing interactive content—through a website, mobile app or social media—businesses can deepen their brand affinity.”

My take: This strikes me as a logical and natural brand extension, and a welcome one too. The challenge here is that Wordle was a one-in-a-million hit. It just captured the public imagination. Creating interactive content with mass appeal is very hard, and even harder for companies that sell products, not content.

Forbes.com prediction:

Digital platforms will focus more on ethics, user privacy and data security.

“The 2023 trend toward more emphasis on user safety will continue in 2024. In addition to new regulations from governments, marketers may see more stringent regulations on the digital platforms they use to reach consumers, including beefed-up data security rules, restrictions on user targeting, a drive to consolidate requirements across regions, and higher fines when brands break existing rules. Brands that focus on compliance when investing in digital outreach can avoid fines, and communicating these privacy and security measures can help build trust with consumers.

With new technology and advertising opportunities always on the horizon, advertisers should evaluate their 2024 strategies to take advantage of these new ways to reach and engage audiences. The above seven trends are just a glimpse of what’s to come in the advertising industry in the next year, and I’m excited to see exactly how it plays out.”

My take: I agree. Always focus on customer privacy and compliance. Only good things come from that.