A Look Into the Future: What Advertisers Can Expect in 2024

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An Interview With Bill Chambers

As we enter the new year, your business is likely preparing its advertising strategy and how to best connect with audiences to make a lasting impression. In an era where the advertising landscape is rapidly changing, knowing what to expect for 2024 is crucial. We interviewed a4’s head of business development, Bill Chambers, to get the details on everything your business can expect for the year ahead.

Last year, we saw immense growth in connected TV and FAST platforms. Will that continue into this year, and if so, what will that look like?

Bill Chambers: It will continue to grow, but more importantly, it will continue to evolve. We need to keep our eyes on it to see how it’s trending. For example, a lot of the trades today, as we sit here in the middle of December, talk about how streaming overtook linear viewing in July. However, August, September, and October have shown a switch back with linear overtaking streaming. And the truth of the matter is, because of the power of sports and news, TV still provides great value. But make no mistake, streaming is going to be the future. It is the future. It’s here now.

I think programming, content, and trends will dictate what happens in 2024, especially with the upcoming political races. Content will be king, and viewers and consumers will migrate to where that content is, whether it’s sports or general entertainment. As we’ve seen in 2023, content is migrating towards streaming platforms. Something to keep our eye on is how these different platforms acquire original and syndicated programming and if they grow in sports and news.

Ad-supported platforms are changing. Non-ad-supported entities like Netflix didn’t offer ad-supported versions. Now they do. You’re going to see a lot of price adjustments, bundling, and packaging. Consumers will become more familiar with free services like Pluto and Tubi, which will continue to grow based on financial implications and how they fit into consumers’ budgets. I think commercials on television are kind of like taxes. We know we have to pay them, so we accept them. We are familiar with that experience, and we will continue to do so as different streaming platforms and options become available.

Lastly, the world of connected TV and streaming from a measurement standpoint will be very interesting. There are a lot of challenges in our industry right now because it’s grown so quickly. We’re still grappling with some of the challenges of measuring different platforms. We’re just scratching the surface. It’s an exciting time. It’s a new frontier, and I can’t wait because it will benefit us in the long run.

There’s no way to talk about 2023 without mentioning AI. How do you think AI will play a role in advertising in 2024?

Bill: Technology is here to make everything easier. AI has been around for quite some time now, but it’s being thrust into the forefront, especially in our industry, because of the technology and the algorithms that help make things easier. And it will continue to evolve and develop as the technology improves.

But AI is only as good as the data points it’s based on, right? Many different walled gardens and companies are incorporating their own artificial intelligence to gather reporting, analytics, etc.

I don’t think AI will ever replace humans, but it will replace the humans who aren't using it. It’s like doing your research. We used to have encyclopedias. Then we had the internet. Now, AI makes it much easier to dive in and point us in the right direction. So, just like resources in the past, use it wisely to gather information and play around with it, but put your spin on it.

Based on our experience in the industry and knowing how advertising works and certain behaviors, I think AI is going to help us position our expertise for success because it allows the technology to help us be that much more prepared and smarter and creative in these things. Again, I think personal experience, having that input to position it, and working in conjunction with AI will help us succeed in this industry.

The 2024 election and the Olympics will temporarily boost ad spend, but what are your thoughts on the future of linear cable TV in 2024 and beyond?

Bill: I’m looking forward to a time when we don’t use terms like linear, digital, or cable. I still believe, and there’s a lot of proof to reinforce this, that the television screen is still king. It’s the most trusted platform for consumers and where we spend most of our downtime or entertainment time.

But how we access it is always going to change. It always has, and it always will. In the late 1920s, television was born with rabbit ears and black and white. Then it turned to color. Cable came around in the ’80s with the promise of a subscription to get content free of commercials. We know that didn’t last very long, and now we’re seeing it again with streaming subscriptions giving way to ad-supported options. It’s just an evolution. That’s always going to occur.

It’s like I always say: The more things change, the more they stay the same. I believe the pandemic has accelerated certain behaviors, but to me, consumers don't differentiate between any of the things we focus on in this industry. They enjoy engaging with their television content. And, as we’ve seen, sports and news still have a huge value. I think things will look very different in five years, but as we go into 2024, linear still does provide value.

Lastly, what is the biggest piece of advice you would give an advertiser when planning their advertising strategy?

Bill: Honestly, dare to be different. How will you stand out and be noticed, and what is the most strategic way to accomplish that? Tell your story and reach the masses; be consistent with that story. Never fear change. Embrace it. Because the only constant in life is change, and like I said earlier, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Embrace new technologies like AI and streaming, but most importantly embrace the right strategy to achieve your advertising and marketing goals, while reaching consumers in the most accurate, effective, and efficient ways possible in your local markets.

This is why I love where I work. a4 gives us access to a lot of deterministic data and advanced technologies to help our clients make those strategic decisions and stand out amongst the masses, not do what everyone else does. Dare to be different, trust a multiscreen approach, and tell your story consistently. And that is the best advice you can give in this industry today.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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