AdTech in 2024: What does the future hold??

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to what’s to come. As I wrap up the year myself, I thought I would shed some insight into the trends I am most excited about next year. 

Here are just a small few snippets of my 2024 predictions, and what we can look forward to stepping into the new year:


Curated PMPs are the Future of Programmatic.

Both publishers and advertisers are looking for better – more refined – ways to buy and sell ads, due to an ever-increasing tangled and complex programmatic supply chain. And, it’s only going to get harder with the disappearance of the third-party cookie. 

Monetising first-party data is becoming increasingly important – but it is also creating a sense of dread among many as access to this rich data isn’t always easy. And the apprehension doesn’t stop there – with demands on advertisers to provide the best customer experience possible, publishers are likely to begin restricting the number of ads they deploy in pursuit of the same mindset. We are now dealing with a juggling act between delivering customer experiences that matter – and provoking action, versus generating revenue. And that is a tough place to be.

Further, with the cookie demise, it isn’t just performance that will suffer – the underlying foundations surrounding measurement, dwell time, and all the other core functionalities we have become so familiar with, will change.

And this is why I believe that curation is key. Curation will bring some well-needed transparency into the programmatic supply chain, while simultaneously allowing publishers to become privacy-focused in their approach. Until recently, PMPs served as a way for publishers to package their data and inventory to sell to buyers. However, through curation, publishers, advertisers, and data providers gain the ability to leverage PMPs for bundling their first-party data alongside third-party publishers’ inventory, which can then be offered to buyers. 

Agencies, DSPs and Ad Networks will need to build closer relationships with supply-side technologies to enable frictionless access to high-performance inventory. It’s time to take curation seriously as we step into 2024.


Sustainability Sustained – it’s Time to Act Now.

Sustainability has been a constant for many years, but arguably not a priority. Until now. I remember my days back at Teads, where the business created a pledge for sustainable advertising, with regards to user experience and ‘clearing out the bad AdTech practices’. But the industry has moved on a lot since then.

Many folks would look at AdTech and think: “What has that got to do with sustainability?” Oftentimes, when you think of cutting down carbon emissions and doing your bit for global warming, you picture cars in traffic or plastic filling the seas. But with our industry, it plays a different role. 

There is no doubt sustainability is a top priority for brands and advertisers. Nearly 40% of Fortune 500 companies have stated climate goals, which is pretty huge. And nearly every industry event scheduled for 2024 has ‘Sustainability’ at the heart of its agenda.

I have struggled to find the numerical impact on the total environmental footprint of digital advertising, but recent estimates suggest it is substantial – as much as 1% of global energy consumption. By the way – that is pretty big! Within the ad tech supply chain, there are many unfortunate culprits: Ad servers, SSPs, DSPs, Measurement and data partners, and so many more, are utilising a tremendous amount of power, causing a rather large impact without us realising.

However, we can’t simply just switch these platforms off. Each of these areas – particularly data centres – is not going away. Quite the contrary, their importance in delivering relevant, impactful digital ad experiences grows every single day. 

I’ve been reading a lot about this topic, and many ideas are being discussed which is amazing.  Some ideas include moving to renewable energy sources to power our data centres and, a building reliable reporting mechanism for companies to indicate the amount of renewable energy that’s powering their operations. 

While we remain far away from putting these ideas into practice, I do believe 2024 will be the year where this topic – quite rightly – becomes a priority for many. I for one am excited to see what we can do when we put our heads together. 


Context Regains its Crown as King. With First-party Data as its Queen.

The resurgence of contextual targeting has been long noted among our headlines since Google dropped the news of the cookie-demise. And for good reason. By default, contextual targeting relies on no personal data, therefore instantly offering brands the opportunity to reach consumers in a privacy-safe manner. 

But many still don’t believe the hype. I’ll often hear pals say ‘It’s just a keyword targeting tool’. And while that was true for contextual targeting in its prime, it’s far beyond that in its current form. Incredible advancements in AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing are moving contextual targeting to a whole new level.

A little insight: Advanced contextual targeting analyses text, audio, video and imagery to create contextual targeting segments, which are then matched to particular advertiser requirements, so that advertising appears in a relevant and appropriate environment. It’s pretty cool when you see it in practice.

Some advanced contextual targeting tools even have video recognition capabilities, where they can analyse each frame of video content, identify logos or products, and recognise brand-safe images, with audio transcript informing it all, to provide an optimum environment for marketing within and around that piece of video content. 

This is one key saving grace as we move into a cookieless world, and I am excited to learn more as we step into the new year.


AI and its role in AdTech.

You’d have to have been living under a rock if you hadn’t seen AI everywhere throughout AdTech. From advanced technologies to the rise of popularity with generative AI, it will without a doubt be centre stage as we step into 2024. 

In an industry centred around creativity and innovation, there’s been extreme hype and equally understandable concern that AI could eventually replace us humans in some shape or form. But further than that, there is a lot of chat about the regulatory concerns surrounding AI. 

In some aspects, AI is making us more resource-efficient, allowing us humans to spend less time on repetitive tasks and instead focus on strategy, creativity and more. It’s helping businesses reduce costs as teams collaborate with data that connects across platforms. 

However, we are entering the wild west of AI regulation. With so much going on within AdTech surrounding data privacy and protecting consumers – and businesses alike – it’s understandable why there is so much concern with AI. 

Earlier this year Getty Images sued Stability AI, an AI startup, for misusing the company’s data to train an image generation platform. Reddit just rolled out a new API policy that will require developers to pay for using the platform’s data for machine learning. 

With so much discussion going on surrounding AI regulation, I am positive this will only evolve over the next 12 months. Right now, I don’t know how we are going to tackle this – but I am going to keep my eyes on the developments as we move forward. 

These are just the tip of the ice berg regarding some of the most talked about topics within AdTech. From the growing use of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and the growing focus on Data Clean Rooms, to the insane rise of Retail Media.


One thing is for sure – 2024 is going to be a big year! And I look forward to exploring it with you!

Will Supply-Path Optimization Solve Efficiencies within AdTech??

In the ever-moving, fast-paced world of digital advertising, staying ahead of the curve is a perpetual challenge. Advertisers are continually seeking ways to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their ad and marketing campaigns. One of the key strategies to achieve this is Supply-Path Optimization (SPO). 

SPO is a complex but essential technique that helps advertisers make informed decisions about their programmatic ad buying, ensuring their messages reach the right audiences at the right time and in the most cost-effective manner. 

However, is SPO the holy grail for advertisers and transparency? I don’t think it’s as simple as that. And this article will help explain why

Firstly, let’s do a sense check into SPO and the benefits it is bringing to the industry.

Benefits of Supply-Path Optimization

Whilst I agree that SPO is a good thing and holds many benefits within control and transparency, I do have reservations that we run the risk of going too far in that direction, therefore putting the power in the hands of a small few – meaning aspects such as innovation and keeping a competitive edge will falter due to market dominance.

Further, aspects such as scale and price may overrun value, and that simply cannot happen. Big-volume SSPs that offer the lowest rates are currently being preferred over those SSPs that build the tools that add value to the supply chain. This can often be down to far too narrow scopes provided by the auditors. I understand cost and scale might be good for the short term, but removing value will only impact advertisers in their long term strategies.

For me, ‘value’ should always be the core focus, and I really do hope phase 2.0 of the SPO journey will start to shift focus and get back on track. 

Other Challenges with SPO 1.0

Advertisers should consider the following:

In an era where transparency and efficiency are paramount, SPO allows advertisers to make the most of their programmatic ad budgets. By streamlining the supply path, reducing costs, and enhancing transparency, advertisers can achieve better results and more effectively reach their target audiences. However, it’s essential to approach SPO with a well-defined strategy and a commitment to ongoing optimization to reap the full benefits of this powerful technique.

We cannot lose sight of value, and we need to ensure we do not let that slide in the bid to add scale and limit costs in the bid to drive efficiency.