December 1, 2023
The continuous evolution of content marketing and integration of AI is reshaping how businesses connect with and engage their audiences.
Data privacy crucial. In 2024, focus on first-party data and privacy compliance due to growing consumer concerns about data misuse by brands and governments.
Self-service ascending. Self-service ad platforms gaining momentum in 2024, driven by privacy changes and independence from Big Tech's walled gardens.
AI's rising influence. AI's integration in content marketing will significantly enhance personalization and efficiency, reshaping marketing strategies in 2024.
2024 promises notable shifts in marketing, driven by technology, data privacy, AI and changing consumer expectations. As third-party cookies phase out, brands will accelerate their embrace of first-party data and self-service ad platforms. The continuous evolution of content marketing and the increasing integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping how businesses connect with and engage their audiences. This article will examine the top marketing trends to be aware of as we bring in the new year.
First-Party Data and Regulatory Compliance Data privacy has been a subject of concern to the majority of consumers in 2023. In 2023, a Pew Research Center survey indicated that 67% of those polled said that they understand little to nothing about what brands are doing with their personal data. Concerns about data privacy aren't limited to what private businesses are doing with it — 71% are also worried about the government's use of their data. As a result, in 2024 the marketing landscape is anticipated to be significantly influenced by the shift toward first-party data, transparency, heightened privacy concerns and compliance with consumer privacy regulations. As the reliance on third-party cookies dwindles, primarily due to major web browsers phasing them out and stricter privacy regulations coming into effect globally, marketers are turning to first-party and zero-party data as more reliable and ethical sources of customer insights. This data, collected directly from customer interactions and the customers themselves, is not only more accurate but also aligns better with increasing consumer demand for privacy and control over their personal information.
Malorie Benjamin, managing director of media and ad technology at Dixon Schwabl + Company (DS+CO), an independent marketing company, told CMSWire that understanding that the depreciation of cookies is already here in many capacities, she believes that 2024 will be filled with many new solutions and providers bringing forward cookieless measurement platforms. "As marketers, the need to understand ROI has become ingrained in the expectations of CMOs everywhere. There is significant opportunity for anyone who’s bringing forward solutions in this space that allow marketers to have more granular information about tactical performance and audience insights." Benjamin emphasized that there is a desire to have solutions that are not reliant on Google, Meta, or any other walled garden provider. "Seeking new ways to identify audiences and track actions in a cookieless environment is at the forefront of every media planner/buyer’s needs as we move into 2024 and a future that’s reliant on contextual and first-party data solutions without the option of retargeting," said Benjamin.
The challenge for marketers will be in effectively collecting and using this first-party data while respecting consumer privacy. This shift is likely to prompt a greater emphasis on building direct relationships with customers, possibly through loyalty programs, personalized content and social media interaction. Marketers will need to balance the need for detailed customer data with the growing emphasis on privacy, requiring transparent data collection practices and clear communication about how data is used. The overall impact will likely be a more trust-based relationship between brands and consumers, with marketing strategies becoming more personalized, data-driven and privacy-conscious.
Self-Service Ad Platforms The shift toward self-service ad platforms, accelerated by data privacy changes and a push toward data services that are not reliant on the walled gardens of Big Tech, will be a powerful marketing story in 2024. A self-serve advertising platform enables brands to purchase digital ads directly, providing them with the tools that are needed to create, execute, and oversee their own advertising campaigns. Examples of current self-service advertising platforms include:
The Trade Desk: A major demand-side platform that gives brands the ability to buy digital ad inventory through programmatic channels without relying on walled gardens like Google and Meta. Provides a lot of transparency and control.
Adform: Offers self-serve capabilities to manage ad campaigns across display, video, mobile, social and more. Features advanced automation and AI optimization tools.
MediaMath: An independent demand-side platform providing real-time bidding ad-buying that can be customized based on first-party data and campaign goals.
These platforms shift the control of advertising directly into the hands of advertisers, facilitating autonomy and flexibility in their advertising strategies. As brands assemble their own first-party customer data, they can dynamically fine-tune data-driven campaigns themselves, offering more customization at a lower cost. Self-service platforms often use predictive AI to optimize campaign performance on the fly.
Because self-service platforms support more media publishers and ad types, they open new opportunities for brands to diversify spending. With personalized messaging constrained by privacy regulations, the cost-efficiency enabled by self-service platforms will become increasingly vital for marketers facing budget pressures. Their flexibility and automation provide brands greater control in reimagining customer engagement. The Expansion of Commerce and Retail Media The advent of self-service ad platforms coincides with the expansion of commerce and retail media (a form of digital advertising where ads are placed on retail websites and platforms). Retail media is poised to have a big impact on marketing in 2024, reshaping how brands interact with consumers and how advertising is integrated into the retail experience. Noted retail media brands today include Amazon and Walmart:
Amazon DSP: Amazon's platform lets brands plan, buy, measure, and optimize advertising campaigns across Amazon's owned properties as well as third-party sites and apps.
Walmart Connect: Walmart Connect enables brands to advertise across Walmart’s digital properties, retarget them across the web and social media, and aims to improve brand visibility and product discovery, featuring simplified navigation and step-by-step guidance.
Major retailers that have comprehensive shopper data are offering brands targeted ad placements that can drive conversions more effectively than broad campaigns. When they are nearest the point of purchase, advertising to customers unlocks major sales potential. Retail media tightly embeds marketing into the customer's native shopping experience, creating a more cohesive journey where customers receive useful recommendations as they browse or purchase, seeing relevant ads as additive rather than disruptive.
Such shoppable ad formats and social commerce provide a more integrated experience between discovery, inspiration and transaction. Additionally, retailers already possess rich transactional and behavioral data. As third-party data disappears, retail media enables brands to tap into these insights for more relevant targeting and to build lasting customer relationships through a trusted channel.