Perspective - The year the abilities of media experts and ad technologists merge

By Brian Gallagher | 30 November 2023
Brian Gallagher.

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

2023 was a year of kinetic disruption. In the ad markets, the year defied all efforts to budget and forecast with accuracy. From the economic impacts of global unrest, rising interest rates driving domestic inflation (to replace the supply chain issues from the previous year) to specific ad industry issues such as the release of the government’s proposed data protection regime, further rounds of activity in the media M+A space and a referendum that caught the nation’s attention. And let’s not forget the Matildas…

There were no slow news days in 2023!

As a media executive I’m excited for 2024, a year I don’t expect to be any less disruptive than 2023. Efficiency and effectiveness will be the key themes, with a strengthened consumer data protection overlay including demanding that tech companies erase their data and the ability to sue for privacy invasions proposed by the Attorney General’s Privacy Act Review.

Given my role as Independent Chair of Boomtown, representing the interests of some of Australia’s biggest and smallest media vendors, these themes position us well for growth in 2024.

Why do I see it this way?

Because effective advertising strategies still have to be delivered over multiple platforms in this privacy compliant environment. 2024 is the year that marketers will seek to merge the abilities of the media expert and the ad/marketing technologist.

To date the media technologists have had precedence over the ear and the budgets of the marketing department as “conversion rate optimisation” was the key metric. That era will move quickly “back to the future” with the emergence of far more rigorous consumer data protections. Enhanced consumer data protection regulations, especially the explicit unqualified opt out rule, have already given rise to a return to contextual advertising strategies. Local media platforms such as TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising, with their multiple platforms of delivery and extensive compliant user data, will play a bigger role in 2024.

Advertisers will demand more transparency over where their dollars are invested, not only for compliance, but to reduce waste. The Association of National Advertisers’ 2022 global ad fraud report identified that advertiser spend on bot-based clicks was in excess of $US100 billion and was set to grow further into 2023 and rising to $US172 billion by 2028, according to Juniper Research. Given Australia’s digital ad market is around 2.5% of the global total, the incidence of fraudulent online advertising activity in Australia could be estimated to be in the billions. This is untenable in a world where the expectation is for media budgets to be invested effectively. Ad fraud isn’t a factor with our local media vendors.

Coupled with the move to greater consumer protection in the data space and the subsequent impact on targeted advertising strategies of today, then 2024 is the year we will see very blurred lines emerge in terms of the efficacy of various existing digital components of the marketing funnel. Conversion rate optimisation must be achieved in a privacy compliant manner, to achieve it otherwise risks fines and worse, further erosion of consumer trust.

Risk management and data compliance are non negotiables in today’s corporate life. Marketer attention is being drawn to platforms and vendors where consumer privacy has primacy and where risk of breach is minimised or eliminated altogether.

Australia’s media companies are ahead of the regulatory requirements in this space and have demonstrated over decades that they are already experts in contextual targeting practices in both analogue and digital formats. They also nail the reach space.

2024 will also be the year that reach makes a comeback right alongside our local media platforms’ ability to create impact and awareness with contextual placement, targeting and integration across multiple delivery platforms and creative formats.

To my earlier point, this is the space where media expertise and ad technologists merge, perhaps 2024 is the year where these differing perspectives fully embrace collaboration for the benefit of their clients.

As custodians of culture and commerce, your local media vendors will benefit from this coming together as advertising budgets find effective and safe havens in their care. The ability of these platforms to serve our core constituents with continued access to their stories as well as being credible sources of news and information, is dependent largely on a fair share of the Australian advertising dollar.

In a world where there never seems to be a slow news day, advertiser support of platforms that provide these kinds of services results in increased consumer trust, effective advertising, privacy compliant practices and, most of all for Australian society, the continued health of our local media industry. Bring on 2024.

Brian Gallagher is the Independent Chair of Boomtown

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