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Top Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2024

Fragmentation to Consolidation

Streaming providers are continuing to shift from a landscape of fragmentation to one focused on consolidation, the market has also become more economically friendly to fit the needs of the average consumer.

Mobile E-Commerce

The online retail space is also evolving. During Comscore’s annual Top 23 Insights of 2023 webinar, we showcased that mobile now accounts for over one-third of total online retail spend – a share that has been increasing year-over-year. Social Media has also proven to be a successful channel for e-commerce, with Comscore data illustrating strong visitation growth on social platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram. According to 2023 Comscore research, 46% of online shoppers indicated that they are interested in buying products via social media – a strong 21-point increase from 2021. And as we close off 2023, online retail spending is anticipated to surpass the 1st-ever $1T year in 2022!

Building a Community with Audiences

Another trend we have seen is the ongoing and growing consumer need for meaningful connection. Julia Goorin, Senior Director of Marketing and Sales Research at Vox Media, highlighted that “This quest for connection…” may be “… the driving force behind Barbenheimer, it’s the reason people shelled out thousands of dollars to go see Taylor Swift [and] Beyonce.” At the end of the day, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, this need for a sense of community has grown. As we head into the new year, she predicts that this trend “will only grow in 2024 as social media continues to evolve, as algorithms evolve.” We are equally excited to see the kinds of media moments in the new year that bring people together.

State of Influence

In 2023, Influencers represented 97% of the total 15.4MM engagements for the films Barbie and Oppenheimer, with only 3% stemming from owned media for each film. These online fandoms and communities are a valuable tool that can drive, shift, and push momentum for any event, not just a film, well before the opening day – and well after. There are multiple tentpole moments to drive engagement through influence in 2024, such as the Paris Olympics, which we will be watching closely to see how publishers and brands alike leverage the opportunities.

Who is driving the conversation? Next Generation/Gen Z Targeting

In Comscore’s Top 23 Insights of 2023 webinar, Comscore’s Danan Ren, Senior Vice President of Client Insights described the unique consumption habits of the Gen Z population and how it differs from the general population.

Google alters definition of top ads in search

Google has modified its criteria for defining top ads within search results. 

Top and absolute top metrics help advertisers understand ad placement performance. Advertisers can use these metrics to optimize campaigns and improve results. “Top ads are adjacent to the top organic search results. Top ads are generally above the top organic results, although they may show below the top organic results on certain queries. Placement of top ads is dynamic and may change based on the user’s search.” 

The two metrics are:

Search top impression share (Search top IS)

Search absolute top impression rate “Impr. (Abs. Top) %”

Search top impression share (Search top IS) and Search absolute top impression share (Search abs. top IS) help advertisers understand the opportunity for their ads to improve triggering among top ads or in the first position among top ads. Unlike average position, these metrics don’t reflect the order of ads compared to other ads but the actual placement of ads on the SERPs.

Google’s 2023 Ad Safety report outlines trend of AI, power of LLMs and more

Google’s use of generative AI and machine learning has led to increased ad enforcement. Google blocked 5.5 BN bad ads and restricted 6.9 BN ads in various content areas. Google is taking measures to ensure election integrity and combat ad fraud and scams. While traditional machine learning models are still trained to detect and alert of ad policy violations, Google is leveraging its generative AI tool, Gemini, for ad safety tools. According to the ad safety report, more than 90% of publisher page enforcement used machine learning models and LLMs (large language models) in 2023. Another staggering metric reported was the number of bad ads stopped in 2023: 5.5 BN. 

The top five policies Google enforced the most in 2023 include:

Abusing the ad network

Trademark

Personalized ads

Financial services

Legal requirements.

Another key trend in 2023 was the rise of scams and fraud across online platforms. Digital marketing isn’t sheltered from these types of scams, which is why Google took the following measures to combat these threats:

The Limited Ads Serving policy launched in November 2023. 

The policy intends to protect users by limiting the reach of lesser-known advertisers who don’t have an established track record of good ad behavior.

Updated the misrepresentation policy in late 2023. 

The policy enables a more swift response from Google to suspend accounts of bad actors. Google blocked over 1 BN ads for violating the “abusing the ad network” policy. Almost 7 BN Ads Restricted in 2023

Ecommerce Cart’s Half Full as Mass Mkt Crowds Thin

Ecommerce sales grew at a modest 12- 15% in the first three months of this year, declining from the 20% growth in value achieved during the same period last year, according to market research data. Softening demand is reflected in shrinking volumes, even as higher-cost items drive overall value generation. However, the trajectory of sales on a month-on-month basis during the same period is improving. Those tracking the uptick are hopeful of better outcomes in the new financial year, “with the arrival of summer leading to more demand in certain categories.” “This period (January-March) is usually a slow month for ecommerce firms, and though this January was bad, we have seen growth return over the last three weeks, and we will likely see about 20% growth rate return by April,” said Satish Meena, advisor at Datum Intelligence. The start of the calendar year is also when fashion and peripheral segments clear their older inventory. Notably, no major smartphone devices — the mainstay of online retail — have been launched this year, so far. “Growth (this year) has been muted, but things should pick up in April onwards. The pace of growth will depend on the volume of shipments,” a senior executive at one of the top three ecommerce logistics firms said. The tail end of the previous year was weak for online retailers, after bumper growth during the festive season sales stretching from September-end until Diwali. Datum’s Meena pointed to flat growth in smartphone sales across both online and offline channels, with shipments falling slightly but average selling prices (ASP) staying high. “For smartphone sales, there is a lesser ‘fear of missing out’ that online exclusives used to bring earlier. Offline stores are also now able to match online players in financing, and discounts are not that sharp anymore, leading to offline becoming the larger sale channel with 52% share in calendar year 2023,” Meena said.

Phone Cos Press the Crackdown Button on Deep Online Discounts

Smartphone brands such as Xiaomi and Realme are cracking down on scalper retailers looking to make a quick buck by selling devices cheaper on online platforms as the companies bet big on the offline channel to boost growth in the world’s second-largest smartphone market. After complaints from retailer associations, brands including Xiaomi and Realme are repurchasing stocks selling at lower prices to trace back the retailer and distributor and penalize them. For now, brands are letting retailers go with a warning, making them sign an undertaking that prohibits them from selling their products outside the authorized channels to avoid higher liquidation damage and loss of business. There has been many instances of such undertakings signed by retailers in Jammu, West Bengal, Haryana and Tamil Nadu, among others. The action comes after several complaints from state units of the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) that represents 150,000 mobile phone retailers in the country. The association has seen over a dozen products from brands such as Xiaomi, Realme and Samsung being sold at prices on online channels that are around ₹1,000-2,000 lower than their minimum operating prices (MOP). “This is a real alarming situation to hear that a brand has allowed the ecommerce platforms to register retailers online, majorly wholesalers, to sell their products just to gain share but actually losing the ground and faith of the mainline retailers who have been putting hard efforts to sell product to the consumers with best of their abilities,” the retailer association said in a letter to Realme on March 26. “A strenuous action backtracking the root cause of concern lies in the brand’s own control and should be taken up for the best continued constructive outcomes for the brand in the long term.”

Microsoft, OpenAI plan $100 BN AI supercomputer ‘Stargate’

A collaboration between tech giants Microsoft and OpenAI is reportedly underway, with plans for a groundbreaking data center project that could see the emergence of an artificial intelligence supercomputer named “Stargate” by 2028, according to a recent report. The ambitious venture, which could carry a price tag of up to $100 BN, comes amidst a surge in demand for AI data centers capable of handling increasingly complex tasks driven by the rapid adoption of generative artificial intelligence technology. According to the report, talks about the proposal indicate that Microsoft is poised to lead the funding, a move anticipated to far surpass the expenses linked with present data center operations by a considerable extent. The envisioned supercomputer, slated to be situated in the United States, is anticipated to be the flagship installment in a series of similar projects planned over the next six years, as detailed in the report. Reportedly, the project’s roadmap, as outlined by Altman and Microsoft, encompasses five distinct phases, with “Stargate” positioned as the pinnacle achievement in the fifth phase. Preceding this, Microsoft is said to be currently developing a smaller-scale supercomputer slated for release around 2026.

Adobe and Microsoft collaborate to offer marketers access to new GenAI features

“The demand for personalized content across social media, mobile and other fast-moving channels has been exploding, pushing marketers to drive greater efficiency and productivity in their everyday work,” said Amit Ahuja, senior vice president, Digital Experience Business at Adobe. “Marketers spend a great deal of their day working across Adobe and Microsoft applications, and the partnership provides a unique offering for marketing teams, streamlining daily tasks across planning, collaboration and campaign execution.” “Microsoft and Adobe share a common goal of empowering marketers to focus on the work that’s most important – creating impactful campaigns and enhancing customer experiences,” said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president, AI at Work, Microsoft. “By integrating contextual marketing insights from Adobe Experience Cloud applications and Dynamics 365 within the flow of work through Copilot for Microsoft 365, we deliver on our shared goal while helping marketers streamline their efforts, break down barriers and deliver exceptional results.” Together, Adobe and Microsoft will address these challenges. Initial capabilities will focus on addressing the needs of marketers who often work across multiple teams internally and externally while managing campaign goals, status and actions.

The capabilities will address scenarios including:

Strategic insights in the flow of work 

Create campaign briefs, presentations, website updates and emails with relevant context

Keep projects moving with in-context notifications and summaries:


 

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