Predictions 2024: Everything Converging All At Once = A New Dawn -

Predictions 2024: Everything Converging All At Once = A New Dawn.

Writing this year’s Predictions 2024 piece, with everything converging all at once, is tempting me just to throw it at ChatGPT and call it a day. Strangely, this is how I’ve been using AI a lot recently; I find myself just stuck with lots of information to process, and AI helps me contextualize and verbalize through the mess.

We’re at the beginning stages of a total transformational intersection of work, culture, monetary exchange, and political theater all due to massive technological changes, namely through AI but not limited to that. With certainty, AI will affect us all. But right now, I simply cannot process that all at once in this tiny brain of mine. (And, fortunately or unfortunately, I have chosen a career that requires me to process all of that, all at once.)

I’ve broken this year’s predictions into two categories: macro and spot predictions. Without further ado, here are the top three macro predictions I see on the horizon in the upcoming year. These are the giant issues and challenges we’ll face, whether or not they make the headlines.

Cookie Deprecation Finally Happens

As 2024 is upon us, the digital advertising landscape braces for a transformative shift with the deprecation of third-party cookies. I continually find myself both concerned and in awe of the lack of preparation for this momentous hurdle. This change, largely driven by the increasing adoption of privacy-focused browsers and regulations like GDPR and CCPA as well as Apple, marks a critical juncture in balancing privacy with digital convenience. And, yes, it’s a transformation that has been promised for years, and it now appears that Google is finally ready to pull the plug on cookies over the next 12 months. Be prepared.

With the erosion of cookies, we’re likely to see an uptick in the use of AI-driven predictive analytics using first-party data at the center. At Ciceron, our newly minted Audience Design process is already using AI to transform internal conversational and other unstructured data into actionable intelligence. Ad tech companies will continue to lean on machine learning algorithms to analyze first-party data, gleaning insights without infringing on user privacy. This trend aligns with the growing consumer demand for transparency and control over personal data, a sentiment echoed in the rising popularity of privacy-centric platforms.

If you haven’t already, you have twelve months to get your first-party data house in order. We are here to help, but it’s going to take a village to make it work – marketing, sales, tech engineers, and leadership.

Blockchain and Transparency

In 2024, blockchain’s role in ensuring transparency in digital advertising will be more pronounced. This technology is set to move beyond its financial roots, with increased adoption in sectors like ad supply chain management and digital identity verification, providing a necessary model for advertising. I can barely name the companies involved in this right now, but by year’s end I expect a massive influx from the start-up world to large players like Google and Microsoft. 

Blockchain’s potential to combat ad fraud will be crucial, especially as digital ad spending is expected to rise, with forecasts suggesting a significant increase in programmatic advertising. By offering a transparent, verifiable record of ad transactions, blockchain technology can provide advertisers with the assurance that their budgets are spent effectively.

I am particularly interested in blockchain technologies like Solana which have focused on large throughput (measured in Transactions Per Second (TPS) which, within Jump’s upcoming Firedancer launch, could increase throughput to potentially 1 million TPS, powerful enough to be used in financial markets, gaming, and advertising) and low cost transaction fees. While Ethereum is the “old” guard of blockchain technology, Solana has captured the attention of major players like VISA. Will be fascinating to watch this space!

AI through the Lens of “Tiny Things”

AI’s impact in 2024 will be felt in ‘tiny things’ – small, incremental improvements that we personally decide to incorporate into our daily lives and and work. Each of us will test and onboard a variety of AI use cases in our own work too. At Ciceron, it is my goal that AI will power 25% of our productivity by the end of 2024 without adding additional employee hours, bringing efficiencies and higher level human thinking to our client work.

In the realms of misinformation and identity verification, AI’s role will be increasingly critical. With deepfakes and synthetic media on the rise, AI’s ability to detect and flag these manipulations — often its own creations! — will be vital. Additionally, as digital identities become the cornerstone of online interactions, AI’s role in emerging applications like biometric verification methods will see a significant uptick.

Spot Predictions

Retail Media Networks (Walmart Connect, Kroger, Amazon DSP etc ad infinitum) will serve a particularly potent role on onramps to first-party data driven campaigns. Unfortunately, these are not the end all, be alls of a post-cookie world but will serve a short-term gap until native brand first-party data is scaled.

Crypto’s back, baby! Yep, I sure talked about it in ’21-22. Then I figured no one wanted to talk about it anymore. Well, a whole basketful of Bitcoin, Ethereum and, potentially, Solana ETFs are about to be approved and with that the marketing and advertising onslaught, offering you a less risky option to adding these digital assets to your portfolio. Only difference this time around is that you won’t hear about it from that weird brother-in-law (me), rather your Fidelity, JP Morgan or Black Rock financial advisor.

Social network chaos, anyone? 2023 was all about the overlording of Twitter/X into a brand-nightmare of a cesspool. Fascinatingly, Mark Zuckerberg came out looking like a diplomat. Let’s see how the money flowing into the networks from the upcoming political campaign cycles ruins them permanently. (By the way, blockchain based social networks are right around the corner. What if misinformation became impossible? Just sayin’.)

Does Google become Google Answer? At a MediaPost search conference in the spring of 2023, I asked those in attendance, “What happens when Google just delivers you a result? What’s the ad model in that?” It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Google’s mission at this point with AI is to give people the answers, not only the options, they’re seeking. That requires that Bard or Deep Mind or whatever stealth AI version they’re working on can parse truth from fiction. Think about that for a second.

In conclusion, 2024 is poised to be a watershed year in digital technology, marked by significant strides in AI, blockchain, and a paradigm shift in digital advertising due to cookie deprecation. These technologies, while seemingly distinct, are interconnected, together paving the way for a digital ecosystem that is more transparent, efficient, and respectful of user privacy.

It’s an incredible time to be live. So hop in…we’re goin’ for a ride!