Perspective - Are you ready to join a future powered by AI?

By James Bush | 13 December 2023
James Bush.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

As I reflect on 2023 and look ahead to 2024, I see the advertising landscape undergoing an exciting transformation. 

“Are you ready to join a future powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)?” seems to be the subtext of every industry presentation in the last year. The vast promise of AI is emerging before us. We are told AI could unlock the secrets of the universe, cure diseases and stretch the bounds of imagination. 

It reminds me of the quote, “The pace of change will never be as slow as it is today” and whilst this holds true, I feel I'm not just observing these changes; I'm actively participating in shaping them. These aren't mere trends; they represent the emergence of a new era where technology and creativity converge in extraordinary ways. 

Alvin Toffler, the renowned futurist and author of the "The Third Wave," emphasised the need to "learn, unlearn, and relearn" in ever evolving landscapes. Echoing this sentiment, Steve Jobs remarked, "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." These insights should serve as a compass, highlighting the importance of adaptability and faith in humanity amidst rapid technological shifts.

In 2023, the groundwork for immersive advertising technologies was laid, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have evolved beyond mere novelties. We're now creating experiences that allow consumers to interact with products and brands in a deeply engaging manner. The idea of walking through a virtual showroom or trying on clothes through a digital mirror is now a reality and an integral part of our advertising toolkit.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an essential element in personalised advertising. It's empowering to use AI to analyse and predict consumer behaviour, leading to highly targeted and relevant ads. This goes beyond showing consumers what they might like; it's about understanding their needs before they even articulate them. The level of personalisation we'll achieve in 2024 won’t just be impressive; it will mark a new era of consumer-centricity.

However, it's vital to recognise that the use of AI in advertising should not be a race to the bottom, where the only goal is to maximise clicks and conversions regardless of the means. Instead, we should view AI as a tool to elevate the quality of our interactions with consumers, to create more meaningful and authentic experiences. AI gives us the power to understand and connect with consumers on a deeper level, and we should use this power responsibly and ethically.

Utilising real-time data to adjust campaigns is now a fundamental aspect of our work. The ability to modify advertising strategies based on immediate consumer feedback and behaviour is transformational. In 2024, we will be crafting campaigns that are not only data-driven but also responsive and adaptive, ensuring a high degree of relevance and engagement.

One of the most encouraging developments I've observed, which will become more pronounced in 2024, is the emphasis on ethical and sustainable advertising. Brands are increasingly expected to be transparent about their values and commitments. We will need to continue to find innovative ways to integrate and communicate these messages, ensuring they resonate with a socially conscious audience and feel authentic.

Social media platforms and e-commerce have become more integrated than ever before. The rise of shoppable ads and interactive content on these platforms has blurred the lines between browsing, socialising, and shopping. Consequently, advertising on these platforms in 2024 will become more integrated and fluid, aligning with consumer habits and less of an after thought by the platform owners

My optimism for this evolving landscape stems from the synergy of technological innovation and a deeper understanding of consumer needs. We're not just witnessing advancements for novelty's sake; there's a concerted effort to make advertising more relevant, engaging, and ethically responsible. This alignment will benefit consumers, who will receive more personalised and meaningful content, and advertisers, who can create more effective and efficient campaigns.

Moreover, the focus on ethical and sustainable advertising reflects a broader societal shift toward responsible business practices. This isn't just good for the planet and society; it's good for business, building trust and loyalty among consumers.

In summary, advertising in 2024 will be about creating a more connected, immersive, and responsible world of consumer engagement. As a creative technologist, being at the forefront of this exciting journey, using technology to drive not only business success but also to make a positive impact on society and the environment. The future is bright, and there's every reason for us to be optimistic.

James Bush is Head of Creative Technology ANZ at Dentsu Creative

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