Marketing Reveal: What Brands Are Forecasting For 2024

Marketers are ready to use machine learning to meet the growing demand for personalized content.

But they are worried about macroeconomic issues and attribution, according to Outlook for Advertising, Marketing and Data 2024: A Market in Transformation, a study by Bruce Biegel, senior managing partner for Winterberry Group.  

Last year’s forecasts have not all held true. First, Biegel lists “What we got right:”  

  • 1.1% accurate on total forecast
  • Spend increases in “retail media — driving display/search spend 
  • Continuing shift from linear TV into CTV
  • Steady growth of Experiential/Sponsorships



Here’s what they got wrong: 

  • Direct mail — $5.5 billion less
  • Paid social — $5 billion more
  • Display/digital video —  $6.7 billion more 

Most of us could live with those “errors.”

In general, the respondents are concerned with: 

  • A very uncertain macro-global environment — Wars, DC politics, immigration, banking crisis, strong stock market, low unemployment at 3.6% 
  • Inflation deceleration with continued GDP growth—Interest rate hikes slow growth in credit-sensitive sectors 
  • Limited visibility into marketing budgets—“do more with the same or less.” Reallocation of staff, budgets and products — and of course…Gen AI.  

Drilling down, they are concerned with these challenges to measurement and attribution:

  • Lack of common metrics across channels — 53% 
  • Creating a holistic framework for planning and measurement — 41% 
  • Date sharing restrictions by walled gardens — 40% 
  • Choosing the right partner — 34%
  • Limited internal resources — 27% 
  • Organization silos — 26%

"This year, Biegel is forecasting $366.8 billion in total online marketing spend, reflecting a 14.6% growth rate, and $203.1 billion in offline marketing investment, with 4.1% growth."  

Meanwhile, U.S. marketing spend is set to reach these heights, although the political cycle is masking slower spending increases in 2024.
  • Search — $107.5 billion 
  • Social — $69.1 billion 
  • Display — $50.8 billion
  • Video — $26.1 billion
  • CTV — $25.4 billion 
  • Digital audio — $8.4 billion
  • Engagement marketing — $6.5 billion
  • Influencer — $6.3 billion 
  • Mobile gaming — $6.3 billion
  • Lead generation — $5.0 billion
  • Digital out-of-home — $4.3 billion
  • Affiliate (network fees) — $4.0 billion

In addition, 51% of consumers are aware of the latest trends in generative artificial intelligence (AI) space and have also explored such tools as ChatGTP and DALL-E. 

Finally, brands plan to invest in 13.9% more in first-party, data-cloud architecture to speed up data layer, use case adoption. That includes $15.2 billion for data infrastructure, $11.5 billion in data services and $9.4 billion for data. 

The data-driven technology ecosystem has three layers: the data layer, the intelligence layer and the activation layer.

The latter includes applications and platforms to communicate across outbound (social, email, display/CTV, direct mail) and inbound (website, app, or customer service) channels.

Activation platforms may be point solutions or integrated stacks.

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