5 marketing trends to watch in 2024

January 16, 2024 | By Anny Kim, Copyeditor

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Though the advertising industry is no stranger to shifting sands, 2024 in particular will be a year of change for marketers. With the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), even more migration toward streaming, and evolving customer preferences, marketers know that the only guarantee for the next 12 months is that there will be surprises along the way in tandem with the gradual economic, environmental, and cultural changes that have been in the works for the past few years.

Still, anticipating major trends in the industry is essential for brands to stay top of mind with consumers while maintaining their trust but also achieving their own business interests in a society that is increasingly scrutinizing their carbon footprint. Here are five areas that will likely influence the course of the marketing world in 2024.

1. Generative AI

After the release of multiple consumer-friendly chatbots in late 2022, generative AI has been a trending topic as the general public saw the ease of producing text and images with a prompt. According to an April 2023 survey from BCG1 that polled more than 200 CMOs from North America, Europe, and Asia, 70% of respondents said their companies were already using generative AI (with another 19% testing it). The top three areas of interest include personalization, content creation, and marketing segmentation.

Over 70% of these CMOs feel “optimistic and confident” about AI—and for good reason: Recent advances in machine learning can ease the development of advertising creative, for instance with solutions like the AI-powered image generation (beta) tool from Amazon Ads, which can help produce lifestyle imagery to improve ad performance for brands. In addition, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels predicts that the recent emergence of more non-Western large language models—especially in languages like Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese—can open up the possibilities of generative AI2 to even more swaths of underrepresented demographics, since there is currently a disproportionate amount of online content3 in “high resource” languages like English. The rise of more regionally and linguistically diverse data can help marketers reach audiences in a more culturally authentic and appropriate way.

During a recent panel at CES, Tanner Elton, the vice president of U.S. ad sales for Amazon, discussed how AI can be used to help brands create more relevant advertising creative. “Because of AI, we can seamlessly use it to make sure that a more relevant message is going out. It will not only enhance that viewer experience but also increase performance,” he said. “So, when I think about AI and the advancements that it’s going to have just on the creative aspect of what we do, it will improve measurement results overall as well.”

2. Media sustainability

Like last year, media sustainability will continue to be one of the leading subjects in the advertising industry in 2024. In June, Amazon Ads joined Ad Net Zero to formalize its commitment to reduce the carbon impact of advertising, and also announced a new collaboration between the initiative and the Climate Pledge, a group of more than 400 companies that vowed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

In Ad Net Zero’s first annual report4 about this plan to lower emissions and promote sustainability, the program announced two obligatory requirements for supporters: setting a public science-based net-zero target by June 2024, as well as public reporting against this target annually. According to the 2023 Higher Impact report, the number of consumers who say they seek brands that have sustainable business practices is up 6% from 2022. By the time the study was published in November, 88% of Ad Net Zero supporter brands had set public targets. With mounting consumer pressure and stricter disclosure requirements, there will be more eyes on the advertising industry to see how shared statements of support translate into measurable action.

3. Streaming TV

Connected TV (CTV) will continue to alter the media landscape as linear TV ad spending is expected to fall every year through 2027. As consumers move away from linear TV, there have been more choices in streaming options but additional fragmentation in the digital entertainment space. Services like Prime Video are working to create a singular space for audiences to find their favorite movies, TV series, and live sports. Starting in 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited ads, with an ad-free option for an additional monthly fee. In late 2023, IPG Mediabrands became the first media holding company to announce a partnership with Amazon Ads to connect brands with relevant audiences through Prime Video ads, and will support the first nine countries with the limited ads in the coming year.

“This is one of the most exciting things that we’ve ever done based on the audience and the engagement and the type of content that’s there,” Elton said of Prime Video ads during CES. He explained how shows like Daisy Jones & the Six bring together touchpoints across books, podcasts, Amazon Music, and more. “The ability to start engaging with customers with the right message at the right time, right content, and right mindset has never been better. And the ability to do that not just in one place but everywhere they are is starting to really come together nicely.”

In total, eMarketer estimates that CTV spend in 2024 will hover around $30 billion,5 with most of these increases coming from new spending on Prime Video ads. But Prime Video ads won’t be the only new kid on the streaming block: Deloitte estimates that the top streamers will more than double their tiered offerings,6 from an average of four in 2023 to eight or more options by 2024, to keep up with customer preferences.

4. Live sports

The marketing buzz around live sports—a genre that can still attract higher viewership, even among younger cohorts—will only continue to grow in 2024 and beyond. (The second season of Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, for instance, saw a 24% increase in total viewers, including 14% growth among 18-to-34-year-olds from the previous year.) Advertisers are seeing success by helping drive engagement with viewers through interactive video ads, which garner nearly 20x more interactions and are effective at getting shoppers to landing pages.7 Prime Video will also have additional opportunities to reach customers starting in 2025, when it begins exclusively broadcasting five NASCAR Cup Series as part of its new seven-year media rights agreement, showing its commitment for the opportunities in live sports.

Furthermore, Deloitte predicts that in 2024, for the first time, women’s elite sports will generate global revenues of more than $1 billion,8 with the two most valuable sports predicted to be soccer (43%) and basketball (28%). On the heels of record-breaking TV audiences for the FIFA Women’s World Cup9 and women’s NCAA championship10 in 2023, particularly on the brink of the Summer Olympics, marketers should plan to effectively capitalize on the growing interest.

5. Addressability and relevancy

As customers move further toward the streaming space, the issue of addressability and relevancy is as important as ever. With third-party cookies scheduled to finally be phased out in 2024, brands have already been preparing for this new normal11 by adopting cookieless technologies like contextual targeting to provide a seamless experience for users.

As companies shift to this new reality, they will likely adopt some of the capabilities of AI12 for data optimization and audience segmentation while staying transparent with customers and complying with progressively stricter regulations from local and federal governments, especially since in 2023, Pew Research Center reported that 67% of Americans said that they have little to no understanding about what companies do with their data, with 81% of them concerned about how companies use that information.13 But brands can still reach consumers by delivering relevant messages to specific audiences to drive engagement and ad relevance.

Leaping into 2024 and beyond

These 366 days offer a wealth of opportunity to make the most out of key cultural moments and technological advances to continue to connect with their audiences, old and new, in a genuine and meaningful manner. By keeping these areas of interest top of mind, marketers can create lasting relationships with their customers that can last beyond 2024.

1 BCG, US, 2023
2 All Things Distributed, US, 2023
3 Brookings, US, 2023
4 Ad Net Zero, US, 2023
5 Adweek, US, 2023
6 Deloitte, US, 2023
7 Amazon internal data, US, 2023
8 Deloitte, UK, 2023
9 Reuters, UK, 2023
10 ESPN, US, 2023
11-12 Digiday, US, 2023
13 Pew Research Center, US, 2023