With artificial intelligence (AI) and media fragmentation being the buzzwords of the year, key players in the marketing and advertising industry have expressed an inclination to adopt omnichannel strategies to connect with audiences. On top of that, people are looking towards engaging consumers on a deeper emotional level through compelling stories and interactive experiences.
With AI as a central theme, dentsu’s The Pace of Progress 2024 media trends study predicted how advertising will be made more efficient through AI-generated creative outputs and AI-assisted implementations. For example, imagery generated from platforms such as Stable Diffusion open doors for more attention to be spent on ideation and “prompt engineering”, while execution is left in the hands of the technology.
These creative outputs promise to become more nuanced, enabling brands to explore new avenues for creative expression. In turn, the study outlined how these outputs would be implemented across major technology and media platforms with the help of AI. Generative AI also promises to create more personalised customer journeys and experiences, such as through data collected from conversations with chatbots.
Yet, while AI seems to be taking all the limelight, many also point towards the indelible human and physical elements in advertising and media. For example, dentsu's study noted that while generative AI offers a tool for efficiency, it still requires human critical thinking and supervision in the form of prompting and proofing. Humans provide the nuance that ensure brand safety and suitability.
As the industry grapples with harnessing the best of new technology, brands still need to resonate with audiences. With that in mind, how can marketers humanise the media landscape while promoting growth in the coming year?
In the fifth instalment of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's “Where’s the Money?” series, six media owner professionals offer their insights on what could be the next moneymaker of 2024.
John Williams, vice president, advertising sales, Singapore and Southeast Asia, BBC Studios
As consumers face ever-growing misinformation and disinformation across the platforms and media they consume, Williams posited that 2024 will bring more of this challenge.
He stated that a response to this trend can involve a greater emphasis on trusted, authentic, and verified content. In turn, more focus on transparency in reporting and fact-checking would be expected.
In the coming year, he anticipated that commercial partners across sectors would increasingly value the transference of trust for brands. This is particularly essential when thinking about brand reputation and influence with potential customers.
Kevin Rooney, managing director, Channel Factory SEA and India
Looking back on 2023, Rooney described it as the year that brands, agencies, and businesses all along the marketing chain spent time and money piloting new technology and testing new spaces. Investments were made in areas such as AI, gaming, blockchain technologies, and the metaverse.
However, he highlighted that there is now fatigue from all this testing and learning. With a possible economic slump on the horizon, spenders and buyers are now looking to identify what works at speed while reaching a large audience. In turn, they are thinking of ways to optimise investments in these areas.
Therefore, as efficiency and effectiveness become the driving focus of spending decisions, Rooney suggests that 2024 will bring greater investments in digital, specifically in established platforms.
Ken Mandel, regional managing director and head of GrabAds and brand insights, Grab
"Commerce Media Networks."
Referencing the Retail Media Networks (RMNs) of today, Mandel opined that the term “retail” will be far too limiting as all sorts of commerce networks emerge. For example, wellness, luxury, automotive, and travel are emerging in the scene.
He cited a recent report by GroupM, which forecasted that retail media networks will have US$125.7 billion in advertising revenue in 2023 alone. Additionally, the report anticipated that retail media will exceed television advertising revenue (including CTV) in 2028.
Given these predictions, he projected that media dollars will shift towards platforms and publishers with first party data, which will allow marketers to “close the loop” between advertising and actual sales.
Parminder Singh, chief commercial and digital officer, Mediacorp
“In a content dense world, stories continue to be a differentiator,” said Singh.
He pointed out that brands are investing in powerful stories and great content ideas. While these stories are expected to reflect the best attributes of a brand, Singh maintained that articulating brand messages through storytelling will remain popular and continue to gain momentum.
Mehul Mandalia, co-founder and head of demand, Moving Walls
Mandalia observed that the biggest digital advertising players have been embracing out-of-home media as the next growth opportunity.
He raised the example of TikTok, which announced its “Out of Phone" product in October 2023 to leverage content beyond the online platform.
Traditional billboards have transformed with digital panels while billions of new screens in public venues are connected to automated advertising ecosystems. Physical screens in stores are also becoming part of retail media offerings. With these trends in mind, Mandalia demonstrated how “out-of-phone" is set to be the next big thing.
Jeslyn Tan, managing director, Stellar Ace
Tan shared that many advertisers currently benefit from media solutions that provide a breadth of audience reach across their daily routine behaviour. Describing this as a “back for buck” approach, she added that it maximises the efficiency of budget spending for advertisers.
Ominichannel solutions that layer visually captivating creatives and gamification play can promote consumer action, such as a purchase or lead, on top of capturing their attention. In turn, the data points collected provide intelligence for advertisers to pinpoint audience segments. Advertisers then can engage and reach out to consumers with this information.
That said, she noted that this needs to be done without compromising customer awareness and engagement, which are key Returns on Investments (ROI).
She concluded that revenue growth comes from holistic custom solutioning rather than silo platform focus. “Audience engagement is key in activating them to take notice and act,” she said.
“For every campaign creation, data justification of the asset would be a necessary criterion for our advertiser,” she added.
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