The Top Trends Shaping the Media Industry This Year | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

The Top Trends Shaping the Media Industry This Year


After a whirlwind 2023, the ad world is already gearing up for what's next. From the meteoric rise of generative AI to the end of third-party cookies and a presidential election, 2024 has a lot in store. Here are a few trends that will dominate the media space in the year ahead:

Convergence inspires a more holistic approach.
As the media ecosystem evolves, the line is blurring between marketing, communications, sales, and technology. Companies are now breaking down internal silos to embrace a more holistic approach on how to achieve business objectives. We're seeing marketing, communications, sales, and technology teams find strength in working together and sharing information to measure and improve outcomes.

In 2024, we'll see this collaboration between teams shift how partners are leveraged as more agencies develop broader services to help organizations collaborate internally, develop new measurement methodologies, strategize, and execute more effectively.

AI adoption becomes a top priority.
2023 may have been dubbed "the year of generative AI," but it's clear that we haven't even scratched the surface of truly understanding this tech's capabilities. Across the industry, many agencies have been eager to jumpstart the process of implementing AI technology to create better efficiencies and enhance work quality. However, marketers largely remain in the early phases of testing as they experiment with how to properly incorporate AI into their workflows. There is still a lot for us to learn about AI; how to use it ethically, effectively, and securely.

This year, we'll see AI adoption become a top priority for marketers as new policies are put into place, AI tools are enhanced and formally added to tech stacks, and teams become more comfortable with working alongside the technology. We'll see organizations become more reliant on AI to write content, create images, analyze and present data and create knowledge systems across the enterprise. With these initiatives, it will also become critical to invest in upskilling to maximize efforts and remain competitive in the future.

First-party data reigns supreme as third-party cookies crumble.
As Google (finally) begins to phase out third-party cookies this year, we're seeing advertisers turn the spotlight on first-party data and re-evaluate their strategies accordingly. Marketers are now leveraging contextual audience-targeted solutions, allowing them to comply with growing consumer demands for data privacy while still reaching the right audiences.

Advertisers are also utilizing critical tools like retail media networks for omnichannel marketing and data clean rooms to match first-party data securely. Nearly every big player in the industry, including Disney, Amazon, and NBCUniversal, has developed their own data clean room solution over the last few years to prepare for the cookieless ecosystem. This year, we'll begin to see just how vital these strategies are for advertisers to succeed and remain competitive in a world without cookies.


Retail media soars to new heights.
In 2024, retail media shows no signs of slowing down – with its projected growth at the strongest rate within the digital ecosystem. According to GroupM's 2024 outlook, retail media added more than $10 billion in revenue last year and is expected to increase by 8.3 percent in total spend this year. By 2028, retail media is poised to exceed linear TV and CTV combined, which proves that this channel poses many opportunities for marketers.

Marketers must build on their knowledge and capabilities within the retail media landscape and think about where their key audiences are and what new opportunities exist to meet those audiences. For example, retail media platforms such as The Home Depot may present new and exciting opportunities for non-endemic categories. Endemic brands will also be thinking about different ways to engage with consumers. Whether it be investing in-store to bridge the gap between online and IRL shopping or taking CTV campaigns into creative out-of-home locations, there are many ways for advertisers to connect with key audiences at new touch points along their journey in 2024.

Major tentpole moments present big opportunities (and some big risks).
With the Paris Summer Olympics and the U.S. presidential election just around the corner, many advertisers are jumping at the chance to leverage these tentpole moments to reach engaged audiences at scale. In fact, we're already seeing ad sales for the Summer Olympics pace ahead of previous games, while political ad spending is expected to reach a record-breaking $10 billion by the end of the 2024 election cycle.

While these major events are critical for the industry, big opportunities often come with big risks. Navigating an election cycle is no easy feat; let alone this year's AI-infused election that will likely stir up a new breed of misinformation. With brand safety issues on the rise, advertisers must exercise caution, or they could easily find themselves in a situation that forces them to weigh in on a hot-button issue or pull an ad from a platform displaying harmful content or misleading information.

Making the most out of the year ahead.
This year, the media space will have many new variables at play. By prioritizing a holistic approach, incorporating AI into workflows, investing in first-party data and retail media, and assessing major tentpole moments, marketers can make the most out of this whirlwind year and come out on top in 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Gina Preoteasa is EVP of client success at Kite Hill PR.