At the beginning of the year, it has been our tradition at Relevant Digital to look forward and share our insights into what the new year looks like from our perspective in digital media sales and advertising. What will we focus on in 2024, and what kind of developments do we anticipate?
As it stands, third-party cookie support is expected to be phased out by the end of 2024. Publishers will continue refining various strategies to address the challenges posed by the removal of cookies. As a result, different forms of identifier solutions (ID solutions), leveraging first-party data, and contextual targeting are gaining popularity. Other themes are on the horizon, such as streamlining advertising operations, enhancing inventory value, particularly on the server side, and prioritising sustainability, which we believe will become increasingly relevant.
If you work in digital media, especially in advertising, we believe it's essential to pay attention to these areas now:
3rd-party cookieless - In response to the gradual phase-out of third-party cookie support, publishers are increasingly shifting towards using first-party data within the industry. Many publishers have already implemented first-party data to some extent. Still, the development of strategies and more diversified data utilisation is firmly on the agenda for many, aiming to maximise the value of their data assets. Contextual targeting has also proven to be an effective method without the need for third-party cookies, and we anticipate its popularity to grow further among both publishers and advertisers this year.
2024, we expect continued testing, learning, planning, and decision-making regarding identity solutions. We believe publishers will adopt more technologies that enable the persistent storage of various identifiers (IDs). This includes the broader use of server-side cookies in addition to client-side 1P cookies, which provide better retention and allow for retrieving user-specific IDs for use in advertising technology while respecting user permissions and preferences.
Privacy - In 2024, we anticipate that data privacy and artificial intelligence regulation will become central themes. This presents significant challenges for businesses and policymakers as they strive to stay updated with the increasingly complex landscape of international and national privacy laws. In this environment, Google has taken steps to reduce the use of third-party cookies, further exacerbating the tension between competition and privacy. Many companies are not yet fully prepared to meet the growing demands for privacy protection.
In 2024, new laws are expected to be introduced, particularly in healthcare and biometric data protection. Publishers' data privacy strategies will emphasize customer-centricity, allowing users to feel in control of and manage the data they share. Transparency, honesty, seeking user consent, and enhancing user understanding will be crucial aspects of this process.
Server-side development - In 2024, the growth of Server-side Prebid is expected to continue, and we predict that an increasing number of publishers will favour demand-source-independent, neutral players. This trend will manifest as publishers focus on improving their ability to test and optimise their Prebid solutions, striking a balance between client- and server-side implementations.
The popularity of server-side implementations is not solely based on the advantages they offer, such as faster loading times and the ability to add more SSP partners, but also on their capability to address future challenges, including privacy concerns and issues related to the removal of third-party cookies.
Additionally, the server-side provides the only implementation option for header bidding in specific media environments, such as Connected TV (CTV), digital out-of-home advertising, and application-based environments that do not rely on web browsers.
Real-time analytics - In 2024, we believe that many publishers will aim to manage their sources of demand and advertising sales channels more efficiently. At the heart of this development are real-time analytics tools. These tools provide the opportunity to continuously monitor critical metrics and technical performance, helping publishers maximise their sales potential.
Real-time analytics enables the identification of top-performing resources and informed decision-making. We anticipate that in 2024, many publishers will be searching for better ways to track the performance of their advertising sales, not only to increase revenue but also to safeguard their income in unexpected (market) situations.
Continuous Testing - With constantly evolving technology and consumer behaviour, publishers must stay current by testing and optimising their strategies to remain competitive.
Fundamentals such as targeting, technical implementations, strategically placed ad placements, and optimal ad formats can improve ad inventory quality and, consequently, increase demand. Good viewability for ads can raise eCPM prices and attract more advertisers to the website. Even small changes can bring significant added value.
In 2024, we believe publishers will continue to search for innovative and efficient methods to enhance the value of their ad inventory, testing various settings, approaches, and innovations to generate value for their ad inventory.
Programmatic - In 2024, we expect programmatic advertising to gain momentum with the development of Connected TV, audio, and artificial intelligence. Sustainability and supply chain transparency are increasingly important themes in the programmatic landscape. The role of artificial intelligence is growing, bringing efficiency and innovations to the forefront.
In 2024, the ability of programmatic advertising to quickly adapt to changing economic situations makes it a crucial choice for advertisers. Sustainability will also be a key component of performance measurement and evaluation. Therefore, for programmatic advertising in 2024, we predict that the central keywords will be Connected TV, artificial intelligence, and sustainable technology, which will steer the direction of the advertising industry's development.
In-app monetisation - In 2024, we expect the popularity of in-app monetisation to increase significantly. This is due to the continued growth in the use of mobile applications and the opportunities offered by advanced technologies like Prebid for competition and transparency in demand sources. In-app advertising provides better targeting and more efficient results, attracting more advertisers and investors to the growing market. As a result, publishers can expect higher revenues and an improved user experience as advertising within apps becomes more intuitive and user-friendly.
Efficiency and sustainability - In 2024, the role of efficiency and sustainability in decision-making will be further emphasised. Companies operating in advertising sales will strategically invest in the development of advertising sales. At the core of efficient advertising sales is ensuring essential sales data and other metrics are available to all stakeholders, from AdOps to management. Transparency enables more precise decision-making and the identification of sales growth opportunities.
Tools that enable a comprehensive view and facilitate various tests, such as bidders, pricing, and technical implementations, are increasingly being utilised. Additionally, the importance of sustainability and artificial intelligence is growing, and they will also be critical factors in selecting potential partners. Environmental responsibility audits are on the rise, and we believe that more and more technology and media companies will openly report their carbon footprint.
Retail media - In 2023, the segment saw growth of over $10 billion, rising by 9.8% and reaching a total expenditure of $119.4 billion. For 2024, the segment is anticipated to grow by 8.3%. The recognition of the value of in-store media and the integration of physical stores into digital advertising are likely to be emphasised. This development is particularly evident in the increased use of videos in retail media, making brick-and-mortar stores brighter and more analytics-driven, leading to growing interest among advertisers.
The list is not exhaustive, but in summary, in 2024, there will be a search for and development of alternative ways to target advertising, and efforts will be made to leverage data in increasingly diverse ways. Priorities will be adapting to privacy regulations, improving operational efficiency, and exploring opportunities to test new media sales approaches. Additionally, the impact of the growth of CTV and the popularity of retail media on the market will be monitored, and there will be a greater focus on carbon footprint.