Brands can create hyper-realistic content to disrupt advertising boundaries

Adscholars’ Srikant Rayaprolu takes a look at Ad Tech innovations and predictions

In the rapidly-evolving world of digital media, predicting where the dirhams and dollars will flow in 2024 is like trying to forecast the weather in the desert. One moment it’s calm; the next, you’re in the middle of a sandstorm of technological advancements and shifting consumer trends.

As the CEO of Ad Scholars, I’ve had a front-row seat to the whirlwind of changes, especially in the dynamic GCC and MENA markets.

Ad Tech innovations in 2024 are increasingly focused on enhancing user privacy, leveraging innovative technologies, and establishing authentic connections between brands and consumers. Here are several key technological advancements and strategic approaches that advertisers are adapting to:

Generative AI: A surge in investments from Ad Tech giants, pouring billions into AI-driven solutions. Advertisers are adopting generative AI to create content that respects user privacy while ensuring personalised advertising.

This technology enables brands to integrate contextually relevant messages into content at scale, which improves visibility and user engagement.

Generative AI is particularly useful in adapting creatives dynamically across various online contents, optimising attention in a privacy-conscious manner. It’s time to explore solutions like OpenAI’s Dall-e to peek into the future possibilities. While automation is the flying carpet of the advertising world, human expertise is the navigator.

Interest-based targeting: Moving away from traditional demographic targeting, which often relies on stereotypes, interest-based targeting respects individual user preferences and privacy. It enhances ad relevance and engagement by focusing on consumer interests, thereby bypassing the need for invasive third-party cookies.

This approach is more inclusive and scalable, especially with the decline of third-party cookies. We’re witnessing a shift from the age-old obsession with clicks and impressions to meaningful interactions. Attention metrics are the new gold, focusing on engagement time, focus and interaction quality.

First-Party and Contextual Data: As the use of third-party cookies is being phased out, there’s a growing importance of first-party data. Contextual platforms allow brands to onboard this data in a privacy-compliant way, pinpointing the most relevant contextual interests and audiences.

This duo of first-party and contextual data provides a precise and scalable solution for targeting the right audience while respecting user privacy. Data clean rooms are in vogue, but alternative spells are emerging on the horizon.

Supply path Optimisation (SPO): This has become an essential strategy in the Ad Tech industry, aimed at refining the programmatic ad-buying process. This focus on SPO helps advertisers identify the most effective paths to purchase ad inventory.

By streamlining these pathways, SPO reduces redundancies and transactional friction, leading to a more transparent and cost-effective supply chain. Media buyers prioritise partnerships with platforms that can demonstrate robust SPO strategies, which enhance return on investment and ensure that ad spend contributes to real, quality interactions with the target audience.

As SPO matures, it’s expected to lead to a more consolidated marketplace, where high-performing vendors are distinguished by their ability to deliver value and performance.

Adoption of Industry Standards: The industry is set to benefit from the widespread adoption of standards such as OpenRTB 2.6, which will facilitate programmatic scale in streaming TV. These standards are crucial for enabling innovation, reducing carbon emissions, and improving the viewer experience by ensuring that ads are more relevant, less intrusive, and presented in a way that is seamless with the content being consumed.

Programmatic Streaming TV: This is advancing, leveraging real-time bidding and machine learning algorithms to optimise ad placements across streaming services. This technology enables high-precision targeting based on viewer behavior, preferences, and demographics, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant audiences.

Enhanced measurement capabilities allow for granular performance analysis With AI, brands can predict viewer engagement and optimise campaigns in real time. These advancements are making streaming TV an increasingly attractive avenue for digital advertising.

Sustainability and DE&I Initiatives: Brands are realising that investing in sustainability and DE&I is crucial for long-term growth. Consumers are showing a preference for brands that reflect their values in these areas.

Advanced analytics and AI tools are being utilised to measure and improve ESG. Leveraging technology for sustainable ad delivery methods, such as energy-efficient digital platforms, and promoting diversity through targeted content.

CGI: The New Reality: With CGI, brands can create hyper-realistic, engaging content that transcends traditional advertising boundaries. Imagine showcasing a product in a way that’s indistinguishable from reality, or better yet, creating an entirely new reality for it. CGI outshines rich media by creating full-fledged experiences, not just interactions. It’s about building worlds, not just ads, making viewers active participants in brand stories.

These innovations are reshaping the strategic landscape of advertising, making it crucial for advertisers to understand and integrate these tools into their 2024 plans. The emphasis is on creating advertising ecosystems that are privacy-preserving, innovative, and capable of forging genuine connections with the audience.

As we navigate this enchanting landscape, at the heart of all this technology and data are real human connections. After all, what’s a story without its audience.

By Srikant Rayaprolu, CEO & Founder – Adscholars