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Top 5 Paid Media Trends for 2024

Updated: Apr 23

What's on the horizon for digital marketing, AI in advertising, retail media, and more.

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It's officially "let's circle back after the holidays" season, so before we do, let's look ahead to the paid media trends on deck for 2024, as predicted by the media buyers at Exverus.

Omni-Funnel Commerce

That’s right: omnichannel is out, omni-funnel is in! For retail & CPG businesses of all sizes, speaking to your audience and collecting their data from across all digital and in-person channels cohesively is crucial.

Shoppers are increasingly ordering goods online and picking them up in-store, or seeing an OOH ad and purchasing the item digitally, or any other number of combinations.

Your brand’s voice, image, and user experience have to be consistent across all touchpoints in the purchasing journey.

Retail media ad spend is projected to outpace TV by 2028, and with good reason -- it's a full-funnel marketing tactic for reaching your desired audience. Retail media networks provide a wealth of first-party consumer data to help advertisers target consumers more precisely (and in more creative ways) when they're already in a purchasing mindset.

Social Commerce is also a full-funnel strategy, combining the wide reach of social platforms with the immediate purchase ability of e-commerce. Learn more about how your brand can excel at social commerce here.

"The lines are blurring between social and search, with Instagram and TikTok both offering sponsored search ad inventory; and social commerce is on the rise with the launch of TikTok Shop. As shoppable CTV ads and interactive ad units become more widely used, we’ll see further blurring of lines in 2024." - Alex Guardado, Paid Social Manager

AI in Advertising

Everyone’s talking about AI going into 2024 – how to use generative AI to create content and brainstorm ideas, how to use large language models (LLMs) to process data, and how to make our media buying choices more quickly and efficiently. 2024 will see a major expansion and clarification of use cases for this technology in paid media. We’re also watching the development of multinational government regulation of AI companies and services. 

​​Customer service is a huge area for AI in marketing. AI-powered chatbots can screen out a lot of customers’ questions or concerns, standardizing the answers and providing correct information every time (how many times has one customer service pro told you one thing, and their colleague told you the exact opposite?) Efficient chatbots can maintain the brand experience across channels and clear up human-powered customer service lines for lower wait times.

Chatbots can also be built into interactive ad experiences! In 2023, we partnered with PadSquad to build an AI-powered chatbot recipe-picker for John Soules Foods. The campaign harnessed the convenience of AI tools and applied it to product recommendations. Read all about the campaign in this Digiday feature. 

We'll see AI being used to enhance predictive personalization in e-commerce marketplaces. For example, AI can be used to recommend future products or services to consumers based on their past purchases, demographics, and preferences – that’s enormously beneficial technology for retail media networks and appealing to consumers looking to make their next purchase.” - Hillary Kupferberg, VP of Performance Marketing

Advertisers can also utilize AI to personalize ad messaging to the individual viewer, determine the best channel or placement for the ad based on consumer behavior, and automatically adjust prices to follow market fluctuations. 

Stay tuned for more about how to utilize AI in e-commerce.

AR Marketing Campaigns

Augmented reality (AR), rich media, and other technological advances have become popular media trends on the creative side of advertising. Many clothing and accessory brands now offer AR tools on their website or apps to let a shopper “try on” a product overlaying their photo before purchasing. 

Our own media planning team for Stella & Chewy’s raw pet food collaborated with ad tech provider PadSquad to build an AR ad unit in which pet owners could upload their favorite pet photos and add AR frames/decorations - it was a really effective campaign! Get inspired to build your own mobile AR campaign in this Adweek feature about ours. 

“Interactive, high-tech elements are becoming increasingly important for ad campaigns to stand out from the usual static images and videos.” - Anna Elema, Media Director

Evolution of Paid Search Marketing

Search engines like Google and Bing are transitioning to AI-driven models that behave more like chatbots than boxes and links. A person seeking information only needs one or two really good answers, so being chosen by a search engine as “the answer” requires the highest-quality content and a conversational tone. These large-language models don’t yet have widespread ad inventory available for search advertising, but it’s on the way. 

To learn how to prepare your paid search marketing strategy ahead of the change, read this guest article we published in Adweek.

“The proliferation of AI-generated ads will mean that your ads will look very similar to your competitors using the same AI program. AI copy will level the playing field, only further increasing the importance of an optimized landing page experience to gain an advantage over the competition. Paid search ad copy will decrease in importance as landing page experience increases in importance.” - Ryan Schuster, Director of Paid Search

Data Privacy in Marketing

Google has (once again) confirmed the oncoming demise of third-party cookies and transition to Privacy Sandbox next year, which affects marketing and advertising significantly. Larger companies with robust sets of zero- or first-party data will be just fine, but for the rest of us, a shift toward marketing strategies that bring the aforementioned data in-house is crucial.

It’s imperative to respect your users’ preferences and be clear about your data collection practices. Only use legally obtained user data and only use it to make the ad experience more relevant. People are familiar with data collection practices and know it to be a necessary price for using different services/social media platforms at no cost. As advertisers, the best thing we can do is respect the data we have and use it to curate highly relevant experiences.

“More and more, we're seeing sites have already implemented logins, which means visitors have knowingly or unknowingly [depending if they read the terms and conditions] opted in to share their data.” - Ian Clark, Media Director 

Brands can demonstrate their concern for customers’ data privacy by utilizing tools that have existed for years like one-time passwords, two-factor authentication, and double opt-in subscriptions.

Adding a line to the signup confirmation box or website lightbox saying “We’ll never sell your data”, “User data is end-to-end encrypted”, or whatever applies could make a consumer feel more comfortable doing business with you.

Offer choices in terms of the quantity and type of communications the consumer could expect to receive as a result of signing up.

Learn how we successfully collected an abundance of zero-party data with consumers’ enthusiastic consent in a clever media plan for Stella & Chewy’s. 

For more advertising trends and industry analysis, subscribe to our weekly Paid Media Insights newsletter.


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