Here we go again…

After months and months of promises, pinky promises, and stone-faced utterances of “No, we really really mean it this time!”, Google has officially announced what in recent weeks appeared increasingly inevitable: Third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome will be delayed. Again. This time, to an as-yet unannounced time beyond Q4 2024.

The deciding blow to this latest missed deadline came after a damning report by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) indicating that Google’s Privacy Sandbox would fall short of meeting the country’s regulatory standards.

Per Google’s announcement: “We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem. It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June. Given both of these significant considerations, we will not complete third-party cookie deprecation during the second half of Q4.”

The news was met with a mix of intrigue, side eye, and shrugs from an industry that has grown increasingly frustrated with Google’s approach to the issue and largely unsatisfied with the Privacy Sandbox’s inconsistent rollout.

“The entire ad industry can’t be ready for change if Google isn’t ready for it,” said Noor Naseer, VP of Media Innovations & Technology at Basis Technologies. “As things stand today, there’s a lot of ambiguity around the application of Privacy Sandbox tools—almost everything the average advertising professional knows about Privacy Sandbox is hearsay. Few have tested it, and they’re all waiting for more reviews on who else has done it, how they’ve done it, and to what degree of success. So this update is not a surprise, but a welcome sigh of relief, even if it’s just a temporary one.”

For now, it appears that Google is eyeing 2025 as its latest target for deprecating cookies from Chrome. But the delay is expected to be temporary, with the goal of giving the company, industry partners, and regulators enough time to work through their laundry list of concerns with the Privacy Sandbox APIs.

“While the industry is getting a bit more time—which certainly provides some relief—the way I see it, this isn’t a reason to take the foot off the accelerator,” said Ian Trider, VP of Product – DSP at Basis. “No matter what, the status quo will not persist forever, and there's basically zero chance that third-party cookie deprecation doesn’t happen at all. At this stage, it’s a matter of making sure that there are sensible technical solutions, and that Google is addressing any risk of anti-competitive behavior to the satisfaction of regulators.”

At Basis, the news of Google pushing back the third-party cookie phase-out to early 2025 is being seen as an opportunity for further refinement. “The delay isn't ideal, but it's an opportunity,” said Robert Kurtz, Group VP, Search Media Solutions at Basis. “We were prepared for the initial 2024 deadline, but with this extended runway, we can double-down on our cookieless targeting strategy, with more in-depth testing and optimization of privacy-focused solutions, first-party data initiatives, and additional partnerships to ensure a smooth transition.” 

“By utilizing this delay strategically," said Kurtz, "the industry can emerge stronger in the cookieless future.”


While third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome may be delayed, the advertising industry is already working to embrace a more privacy-friendly future. Learn more about how marketers are confronting signal loss in our report, Identity vs. Privacy: Digital Advertising in a Cookieless World.

Amidst all the networking, socializing, and poolside festivities at this year's Possible in Miami Beach, there was one topic that dominated all the rest: AI.

Throughout the event, artificial intelligence was on the top of attendees' minds and the tips of the speakers' tongues. How are you using it? Where can it provide the most (and least) benefits? What are the keys to harnessing AI’s power successfully? And how can business leaders fully exploit the potential of AI at their organizations while mitigating its safety risks?

The clearest takeaway from the industry's thought leaders? Marketing's AI revolution has officially commenced.

Here are some of the top insights to come out of the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach at this year's event.

AI for Efficiency

Early usage indicates that AI could lead to a productivity boom, allowing marketers to get more done in less time. A Microsoft study found that users of its Copilot AI tool spend less time writing emails, summarizing long documents, and completing first drafts of documents. AI can “attend” meetings for us and summarize the key findings and takeaways. It can also provide new context around how those meetings are conducted, combing through transcripts to identify blind spots in the conversation and capture the tone and sentiment to help people improve the way they show up to work. When used all together, AI can help make us not just more productive, but better marketers and professionals.

AI to Optimize Data and Drive Better Campaign Results

In just the last few years, AI-powered capabilities grown at an extraordinary rate, and the idea of AI disrupting every aspect of our lives appears to be on the horizon—including marketing.

Rex Briggs, Chief AI Officer at Claritas and author of the forthcoming book “The AI Conundrum,” noted that marketing is, in many ways, an “ideal use case” for AI. 

With AI, marketers can now optimize campaigns in real time and with greater precision, leveraging AI’s proficiency at recognizing patterns and creating hyper-nuanced segments dynamically and on-the-fly to drive desired outcomes. The individual results of these optimizations can be small, but when added up, they can result in huge gains over baseline performance. What’s still to come (but appears to be just on the horizon) is enhancing the technology so that it can get better at explaining precisely what—and why—the AI is optimizing ads based on various criteria for more real-time transparency and clarity.

However, despite all the hubbub around technological innovation, we mere mortals still have a very valuable and unique role to play. Human marketers will be essential in making the final decisions around what to use—and what to change—throughout the campaign process. To skilled marketers, AI represents a powerful new tool to help them move faster, be more productive, and grow more effective.

The Value of AI in a Cookieless World

Google re-iterated its commitment to both the Privacy Sandbox and to deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2024. But Amit Varia, Director of Google’s Privacy Sandbox, emphasized that Privacy Sandbox APIs are not intended to be a 1:1 “replacement” for third-party cookies, and that marketers are best suited to leveraging a range of identity solutions in unison as part of a larger privacy-friendly toolkit. And while initial users of these Privacy Sandbox APIs are seeing effective results, we are still effectively operating in a test environment, where just 1% of Chrome users are playing in the Privacy Sandbox sans third-party cookies, and even Privacy Sandbox evangelists noted there are still ample questions about how these solutions will perform at scale.

So, what value can AI provide marketers in a cookieless environment? MMA data showed that AI-powered personalization drove a 35-65% increase in ad performance within contextual environments. And AI can optimize first-party data to better target existing audience and to create new lookalike audiences.

Looking to Experiment with AI-Powered Campaigns?

Audio and display ads both play to generative AI’s current strengths, making them ideal channels for marketers looking to experiment with AI-generated assets and campaigns.

Progressive, for instance, has begun using AI to create more personalized audio ads. The insurance giant incorporated AI across every step of the campaign process, allowing them to go from brief to approval in just 6 weeks (vs. the 22 weeks it previously took them without AI). Leveraging AI-generated scripts and voice talent—after training the AI on Progressive’s brand and an extensive content archive—Progressive’s team was able to create 96 ads in a single week, then run and test them using dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to progressively adapt the ads as market conditions changed. In doing so, they were able to assess different ad parts and predict the right combination for the right audience.

“You can train AI on your own content, hit a button, and end up with different scripts, and then when you are happy with the scripts, you can hit another button to develop the audio, and then when you are happy with those, you can move on to approvals,” said Remi Kent, CMO at Progressive.

Though AI generated the scripts, the personas, and the background music ads, humans were involved and instrumental in every step of the process, in what Kent described as a “collaboration” between humans and generative AI. The result was a process that allowed Progressive to move faster and create more ads with more personalization—all at scale. By using AI-generated ads and leveraging AI-powered optimizations, Progressive was able to drive a 197% lift in quotes over baseline.

The Key to AI-Driven Success? Data.

Effective utilization of AI for targeting, attribution, and optimization relies on high-quality (and high quantities) of data. The problem? Silos. So very many silos. Disconnected channels, siloed platforms, walled gardens, and a general lack of transparency and data centralization is all too often resulting in organizations having an incomplete picture of their data.

In a session on how marketers can “hack their adtech,” Richard Brandolino, Global Media Channels & Adtech Leader at IBM, recommended that agencies and brands keen on exploring (and exploiting) AI’s benefits should look to facilitate cohesion and interconnectivity across their tech stacks. Streamlining and unifying data flows can yield significant improvements in profitability, cost efficiency, and strategic agility.

Innovation vs. Risk

Beyond even efficiency and improved campaign results, Possible speakers addressed one other aspect of AI in marketing: the balance between AI’s promise of innovation vs. its inherent risks.

Jaime Teevan, Chief Scientist at Microsoft, noted that the decisions we make with AI today will influence the future of jobs, our industry, and our world. Since introducing its AI-powered Copilot last year, Microsoft has strong feedback that the technology is making people more efficient and saving them time. What’s left to determine is what will people do with that time.

At its best, AI has the potential to create a generational opportunity for innovation, but marketers’ experimentation should always be accompanied by careful consideration about not just the immediate impact of those decisions, but the third- (and fourth- and fifth-) degree effects of those decisions.

Teevan noted that, when first beginning to explore how Microsoft could incorporate OpenAI’s GPT 4 into its products, she began from a place of “How do we bring this technology to people, and do so in a responsible way?” Perhaps tellingly, Teevan’s implication throughout a session on AI seemed to be that the “responsible way” Microsoft has landed upon is to outsource much of this responsibility to its users, imploring them to do their own research, experimentation, and exploration with the technology and hoping they do so responsibly.

Generative AI and the Future of Marketing

Curious about how leading marketers are using generative AI? Basis surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals from top agencies and brands, brands, and publishers to see how marketers are feeling about AI today and gauge how they think it will shape the industry going forward.

The forthcoming “cookie-pocalypse” marks a pivotal moment in the advertising industry, as marketers grapple with a privacy-centric landscape and widespread signal loss.

Factors like Apple’s App Tracking Transparency, new and ever-evolving digital advertising regulations, and privacy demands from consumers have driven the shift to privacy-first advertising in recent years. Now, with Google appearing set to deprecate third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by the end of 2024, we are on the brink of a new age of advertising—one where cookieless solutions reign supreme, and where alternative identity solutions are not simply a suggestion but a requirement.

Of those cookieless solutions, contextual might not be the shiniest one: It’s been around for a while and, candidly, it’s kind of boring. But in rare and exceptional instances such as this, old + boring doesn’t necessarily have to = bad. Just ask baseball fans, or anyone in the middle of a riveting game of Monopoly!

So, what is contextual targeting, how does it work, and why is it here to stay in the digital advertising landscape? Read on to find out!

What Is Contextual Targeting?

Contextual targeting works by serving ads on a website, webpage, or other digital channel based on the content it contains. Essentially, it displays contextually relevant ads alongside content that is likely to appeal to a target audience. Heard an ad for a home security system while listening to a true crime podcast? Or seen an ad for a meal delivery service while reading a recipe on your favorite food blogger’s site? These are both examples of contextual targeting at work.

Instead of tapping into user ID-based data that was collected or bought to show ads to specific consumers (i.e., someone looked at a website for home security systems, so now I’m going to target them with ads about my home security offerings), contextual targeting uses keywords, topics, semantics, geography, and other factors to reach consumers in the spaces where they spend time (i.e., I’m going to target ads about my home security offerings to the audience of a true crime podcast, as security may be top of mind for many of those listeners).

Contextual targeting is a bit of a throwback, harkening back to mediums like linear TV, print, and terrestrial radio—in other words, places where third-party cookies do not exist. But the solution is much more adaptable in digital advertising settings, making it a sensible (if not increasingly critical) element of modern marketing strategies. Heck, even Google has embraced foundational elements of contextual targeting with Topics API, part of the search giant’s proposed solution to third-party cookie deprecation in its Chrome browser.

How Does Contextual Targeting Work?

Contextually relevant environments are found through keywords, topics, intent analyses, emotional tone, geography, contextual synonyms, negative keywords, and other parameters provided by an advertiser. For instance, a computer brand might target the keyword “apple” and use intent analyses, a specific type of semantic targeting, to distinguish between people looking for “apple” the fruit and people looking for the tech brand, to ensure their ads are served to the correct audience.

Once those parameters have been set, contextual advertising technology scans webpage or app text, images, multimedia elements, page structure, geographic parameters, and more to determine the best match for your advertisements. You can also add additional parameters in a demand side platform (DSP) like dayparting, bids, ad unit type, and even cross-device targeting. From there, all you have to do is submit a programmatic bid through your DSP to place your ad on any contextually relevant pages and/or environments. And with new content cropping up—across webpages, podcasts, connected TV content, and more—you can get as broad or specific as you want.

Contextual targeting is typically seen as an ideal solution in more privacy-friendly browsers such as Firefox and Safari, or on privacy-minded operating systems like iOS. And, as more and more advertising teams have tapped into contextual, it has evolved far beyond just display: Digital advertisers can take advantage of contextual targeting on channels like connected TV (CTV), audio, and digital out-of-home (DOOH) as well.

How to Leverage Different Types of Contextual Targeting

There are a variety of types of contextual targeting, as well as a whole host of different channels that support this tactic.

Keyword and topic targeting allow advertisers to align their ads with specific search terms or thematic contexts. And, thanks to advancements in AI and machine learning, advertisers can now take contextual a step further with semantic targeting. Semantic targeting adds a layer of sophistication to contextual targeting by aligning ads with the meaning and sentiment of the surrounding material (think back to our earlier example about search ads focused on the keyword “apple”). Additionally, advertising teams might opt for a geo-based contextual targeting approach, which ensures ads are placed where they’ll be most meaningful to the people who spend time in a certain place. This is a particularly potent approach for localized campaigns—for example, a museum might leverage geo-based DOOH ads in local tourist hotspots to drive visits.

And what about when it comes to different channels? From display, to social media, to digital audio, digital out-of-home and beyond, there are opportunities to leverage contextual tactics across a variety of digital formats. Digital audio tends to lend itself quite effectively to topic-based and semantic contextual targeting. This could look like a beauty brand focusing on podcasts in the health and wellness categories, or a virtual therapy company homing in on content focused on self-improvement. Digital out-of-home, on the other hand, provides the opportunity to lean into geo-based contextual tactics. For example, a grocery store might focus on placements in transit centers near their brick-and-mortar location, knowing that commuters are both nearby and might be thinking about what groceries they have at home as they make their evening commute. Connected TV and streaming TV allow for topic, semantic, and keyword-based contextual approaches where, for instance, a sports betting company might choose to focus on content focused on, well, sports. By using different types of contextual targeting across these varied channels, advertisers can craft a holistic, impactful, and privacy-friendly experience for audiences.

Contextual Targeting for Cookieless Advertising

Contextual targeting allows advertisers to reach their audiences in contextually relevant environments at the right place at the right time—all while respecting their privacy.

Since it doesn't rely upon personal data, contextual targeting neatly sidesteps the entire privacy issue. That makes contextual a robust and compatible solution for a world where consumers, legislators, and advertisers are putting privacy at the forefront. For display ads, it also adds an additional layer of filtering for page quality, helping boost your brand safety by avoiding lower-quality content and pages that don’t align with your brand standards.

Though it doesn’t rely upon personal data, contextual targeting can be used alongside first-party data to make ads even more personalized and effective. For instance, some platforms offer advertisers the option to use their first-party data to predict which contextual targeting categories will perform best for a brand or campaign, across channels including desktop, mobile apps, and CTV.

Additionally, while it may not be at the top of some organizations’ motivating factors when choosing a targeting solution, contextual targeting is a much more comprehensible and palatable advertising method to people outside the ad industry, who can both grasp and accept the idea of seeing ads that are geared toward a specific situation rather than a specific person. Think of it this way: If you were describing the digital advertising industry to an octogenarian, would it be easier to explain contextual targeting or, say, cross-device programmatic retargeting?

That said, one of the more notable drawbacks of contextual targeting when compared to other methods of digital advertising is that it’s harder to both retarget specific users and to fully track results—particularly in industries with longer sales cycles. As such, most advertisers will find contextual targeting most effective when leveraged alongside other privacy-friendly tactics, rather than as a singular approach.

Contextual Targeting Is Cost Effective

In addition to its privacy friendliness, contextual targeting comes with the added benefit of being significantly cheaper than most user ID-based targeting solutions. While the CPM for user ID-based ads can run between $1-2, the CPM for a contextual ad display placement can be as low as 5-10 cents—in other words, you only need your contextual ads to be 10% as effective to see the same results.

Granted, this number ultimately depends on how niche the audience—and how competitive the placement—but those same principles can apply to just about any ad targeting type. The important takeaway is that, on the aggregate, contextual targeting is likely to be more cost efficient than user ID-based targeting.

Wrapping Up: Why Contextual Targeting Is Here to Stay

As the advertising industry navigates the complexities of consumer privacy demands and third-party cookie deprecation, contextual targeting offers significant benefits. Not only is contextual an inherently privacy-friendly targeting approach, but it also offers a cost-effective alternative to user ID-based targeting. From display to audio to digital out-of-home and beyond, contextual is adaptable across various digital formats. And though it may be a bit less flashy than other privacy-first options, contextual targeting provides a practical, effective, and digestible solution that helps brands reach their audiences.

Looking for a deeper dive into how advertising professionals are preparing (or not preparing) for increased signal loss and a world without third-party cookies? Basis surveyed more than 200 marketing and advertising professionals across top agencies, brands, non-profits, and publishers to gauge their feelings on privacy and identity as we stand on the precipice of total third-party cookie deprecation. Learn more in our report, Identity vs. Privacy: Digital Advertising in a Cookieless World.

Political advertising is a unique beast. It’s a months-long marathon full of building awareness, appealing for donations, fighting primary battles, and educating audiences on who you are and what you believe in. Then, after a long year (or more, given the United States’ ever-lengthening campaign seasons) the race wraps up with an all-out sprint toward Election Day as candidates and causes of all kinds pitch themselves to busy, skeptical, and undecided voters while rallying supporters to head to the polls. Just thinking about it makes us out of breath.

Every election battle is fierce, but 2024 is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested cycles in recent memory—and the most expensive in history. The combination of high-profile races, major cultural and economic questions, motivated cause-based outside groups, and emotionally invested voters is likely to fuel high turnout and even higher ad budgets. Led by a presidential race at the top of the ticket, the election is forecast to generate a record $12 billion in political ad spend, including $9 billion on down-ballot races. And with so many political (and non-political) advertisers looking to grab their share of voice and motivate their audiences to action, having the latest and greatest tips, tactics, insights, and strategies will be essential to ensuring a successful campaign.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place: This is the ultimate guide to political advertising in the 2024 US elections. We’ll be updating this page regularly in the months leading up to Election Day on November 5, 2024, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference. 

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Tactics for Building Awareness and Attracting Donors

With each succeeding election, the campaign season seems to be starting earlier and earlier, and by fall 2023, an array of presidential and senatorial candidates were already well into their fundraising and vote appeal cycles (while congressional candidates are seemingly always fundraising without pause). With most campaigns now underway, political marketers are eagerly diving into awareness, fundraising, and list building.

In the early days of a campaign, when small dollar fundraising and email list building is key, there’s no channel quite like social. Between its effectiveness and its efficiency, nothing else can even compete.

Most political social spend is taking place on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, which advertisers of all stripes have long loved for their significant reach and precise targeting capabilities. Snapchat is another platform that accepts political advertising, which can be particularly useful for candidates and cause-based marketers looking to reach millennial and Gen Z voters. Technically, X (aka “The Social Network Formerly Known As Twitter”) has also started accepting political ads again, but given spending and user trends, it’s unlikely to capture a large slice of the political pie. And to answer your next question: No, TikTok still does not allow political advertising, whether in the form of brand ads or paid branded content.

Beyond social, other key tactics for raising awareness (and raising dollars via small donors) include trusted standbys like video, display, and search/SEM. All four of those play key roles throughout any campaign, with video in particular being largely considered a political advertiser’s best friend. Speaking of which...

Capitalizing on CTV for Political in 2024

If 2022 was CTV’s political advertising breakout performance, then 2024 is set to be its star turn. The fast-growing channel accounted for 12% of all political ad dollars spent during the midterms, and that spend is expected to rise to $1.3 billion in the coming election cycle. 

Why, exactly, do political advertisers love CTV and streaming video? It boils down to a lot of the same factors that have fueled the decades-long love affair between political advertisers and linear TV. Campaigns are often trying to both educate voters and, simultaneously, develop an emotional connection that will get them to the polls—and video is uniquely suited to accomplishing both. With CTV, advertisers can access that familiar TV-like experience (and TV-like benefits), but with the added bonus of digital targeting capabilities and access to audiences that have either supplemented or replaced their linear viewing hours with digital media.

From an overall ad spend perspective, broadcast is still king in the land of political advertising. But if you’re sticking to advertising on linear TV alone, your spots are likely not reaching an increasingly large swath of voters who’ve either cut the cord or never had cable to begin with. Add on the atypical year of linear TV programming that’s underway due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, plus the heaps of new inventory, and CTV is about as critical a channel as you’ll find in 2024.

There are many different ways to buy CTV inventory—from programmatic on the open exchange, to programmatic guaranteed, to private marketplace (PMP) deals, and more. But while there’s a decent amount of overlap amongst the inventory available across those different buying methods (save for highly-valuable exclusive CTV inventory that’s only accessible through select partners), advertisers looking to take full advantage of the channel should use a healthy mix of each—especially when demand spikes and availability tightens starting in early October during the run up to Election Day. Otherwise, you run the risk of blowing through your budget (or, worse yet, getting shut out entirely) as programmatic CPMs soar down the homestretch. 

(Want to make the most of the political CTV advertising opportunity? Be sure to check out our guide.)

Key Opportunities in Underutilized Channels

Video and display dominate political ad spending—commanding 68% and 24%, respectively, of all digital political spend during the midterms—and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. But where are there underutilized opportunities for campaigns that want to get the most bang for their budgetary buck and maximize their reach with target voter audiences?

One under-adopted format: native, which advertisers can use to insert their creative into the feeds of news and other websites. Native advertising made up just 3% of political ad spend in 2022—perhaps because, to many marketers, native feels a bit more complicated (or even intimidating) than familiar, tried-and-true ad types such as video or display banner ads. But leveraging native can be as simple as taking your Facebook creative, loading it into your DSP (or your agency partner’s DSP), and then testing and experimenting with different headlines to see what performs best across different sites. It’s a great way to get your message in front of voters right alongside other content they’re consuming on sites that they know and trust.

Audio is another underutilized channel amongst political advertisers. While spend on the medium did rise from 2020 to 2022, it still accounted for just 1% of digital spend in the midterms (compared to 6.4% of overall digital ad spend in 2023), indicating there’s plenty of ripe opportunity that’s currently going untapped. 

Audio delivers plenty of addressable audiences that political advertisers are keen on reaching—with over 225 million US listeners who tune in for an average of 2 hours and 43 minutes per day— while offering many of the same emotional and educational benefits that come with video. Best of all, the inventory is now widely available programmatically (even for broadcast radio ads), making it easier than ever to buy while providing the same types of targeting tactics available elsewhere in the programmatic ecosystem. Add it all together, and audio is poised to be a breakout channel for political in 2024.

Lastly, in many districts, digital out-of-home can be a savvy and effective way to raise awareness and get your candidate or cause in front of voters as they navigate through the world. Like audio, more and more DOOH inventory is now available programmatically, so for many political advertisers, it’s increasingly becoming a channel to know.

How Political Marketers Can Reach Target Voters in 2024

While much of the digital advertising world is focused on signal loss and the impending impact of Google’s promised deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome in 2024, the approach among many in the political advertising world has resembled something closer to, “Let’s just not think about it, and hopefully we won’t have to deal until 2026.” Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ongoing challenges around audience targeting for political marketers—or that a Q3 Google announcement about Chrome going cookieless couldn’t deliver an October surprise to campaigns nationwide.

Granted, the political world is used to frequent (and sometimes last-minute) changes to their digital targeting and reach capabilities. Since 2018, a range of US states including California, Virginia, and many others have introduced new levels of nuance in their regulation of digital political advertising. That same year, Facebook (now Meta) began its now-standard political ad buyer verification process, before adding new disclaimer requirements in 2019, and then eliminating targeting by race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation from its platforms starting in 2022. Spotify barred political and advocacy advertising in late 2019, only to re-introduce them in 2022. In 2020, Google removed the ability to audience target for election ads, limiting advertisers to reaching voters with age, gender, geographic and contextual targeting. The tech giant will also require political advertisers to disclose any use of AI in their ads. Add it all together, and it’s clear that political advertisers are already seasoned pros when it comes to working around increased targeting restrictions.

Looking ahead to 2024, political advertisers should ensure they are working with partners who have contingencies such as privacy-friendly identifiers and data-based solutions in place to ensure proper targeting and reach in the run up to Election Day. And many channels—including broadcast TV, CTV, and Facebook/Instagram—will go mostly (if not entirely) unaffected by such a change, outside of a potential spike in CPMs should more advertisers start running to those safe havens in the wake of any major signal loss.

Lastly, political marketers are likely to increasingly leverage geopolitical targeting tactics across their programmatic ad buys. According to Basis’ 2022 US election digital ad spend data, almost 20% of political programmatic ads used geopolitical targeting to reach voters in specific districts. Of those, 51% leveraged congressional district targeting, while 32% used state senate district targeting. These types of geo-based targeting tactics are expected to grow even more prominent if Google does indeed deprecate third-party cookies in Chrome over the course of the election cycle.

Fighting Through Generative AI, Misinformation, and Disinformation

Sadly, connecting with voters in 2024 will mean more than just running ads in their markets. Misinformation and disinformation appear likely to play an outsized role in the coming elections, and political marketers will need to prepare accordingly.

Not helping matters: trust and safety teams have been dramatically downsized at many tech companies, including Google and YouTube parent company Alphabet, Facebook and Instagram’s Meta, Amazon, and X. When you combine that with the emergence of generative AI, an electorate that is increasingly partisan, and bad actors both domestic and foreign that aim to sew misinformation and disinformation into the political discourse, political marketers will face unique challenges when attempting to build a foundation of trust and connection with voters.

To their credit, Google, Meta, TikTok and others have expressed confidence in their ability to leverage both AI and human monitoring to combat any inevitable waves of misinformation on their channels. Meta has also taken the unprecedented step of no longer recommending political content (defined exceedingly loosely as content "potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics") on Instagram and Threads, though political ads are still very much allowed in the Meta universe.

But in the meantime, the best thing political advertisers can do to break through the noise is to get as strategic as possible about leveraging tactics that put their messaging in front of voters—particularly undecided voters and/or “persuadables” in the political center—while leaning on compelling creative that fosters an emotional connection with a public that’s often increasingly skeptical of fact-based appeals. 

There’s no perfect way to stop misinformation from impacting an election, but with decisiveness and deliberateness around targeting and messaging—and by leveraging brand safety tools from partners like NOBL, Comscore, Grapeshot, and Peer39—campaigns can make sure their official voice is a loud and clear part of the conversation.

Saving the Best (and the Budget) for Last

While there are plenty of reasons for political marketers to run a steady stream of ads throughout the entirety of the campaign process, spend tends to spike at two key times: the weeks leading up to a state’s primary day, and the four-plus weeks leading up to Election Day in November.

Basis study found that 50% of digital ad budgets for the 2022 midterms were spent in the last 30 days before Election Day, with half of that spend allocated during the 10 days running up to the election as campaigns work to get out the vote. While presidential elections tend to have higher turnouts (and higher energy) than the midterms, down-ballot candidates could face unique challenges in 2024. 

According to numerous polls, the two presumptive presidential nominees whose names will appear at the top of the ticket are widely unpopular, meaning it could fall to those down-ballot candidates to rally supporters to the polls—and, potentially, to win over voters who may not feel particularly excited about checking the box for either party’s presidential contenders. That means tapping fundraising and awareness channels early and often, and earmarking significant budget for the homestretch in October and November.

Of course, if all political advertisers are saving their budgets for the end of the campaign, there’s not going to be a whole lot of opportunity to capitalize on lower pricing anywhere near Election Day. If you’re looking for an edge, your best bet is to try to lock in favorable pricing by negotiating in advance via PMP deals, programmatic guaranteed, or even direct buys with preferred vendors.

Wrapping Up: Political Advertising Tips for the 2024 Elections

Political advertisers face an especially complex and competitive 2024 election season. But by putting these insights and recommendations to work, marketing teams will be better positioned to find a competitive edge that helps lift their candidates and causes to victory. We hope these tips help you as you march on toward Election Day, and best of luck with the rest of the campaign!

Thanks to a great matchup, a hyped halftime show, and (perhaps) just a little help from the world’s biggest pop star, Super Bowl LVIII drew a record 123.4 million viewers across the US, making Sunday night’s event the most-watched telecast of all time. The game aired on CBS (which accounted for 112 million of those viewers—the most ever for a single network) and was simulcast on streamer Paramount+. There was also a kids-focused broadcast on Nickelodeon, Spanish language coverage on Univision, and additional streaming options available via the CBS Sports website and app and on NFL+.

Of course, fans weren’t just tuning in to see if Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs could take down the San Francisco 49ers and capture their third Super Bowl title in five years (spoiler alert: He could). They were also there for the ads, which fetched a record-tying $7 million dollars a pop for a 30 second spot on the main broadcast.

Let's take a quick look at some of the top marketing stories from this year's Super Bowl:

Super Bowl Advertising in 2024

Football may reign supreme as America's most popular professional sport, but on the NFL's biggest stage, the advertisements also play a starring role. Two-thirds of viewers say they pay attention to commercials during the Big Game—with 12% saying they tune in primarily for the ads—showcasing why Super Bowl Sunday is still one of the most meaningful mass-market messaging vehicles available to brands.

This year, newcomers like CeraVe and Kawasaki joined Super Bowl mainstays like Budweiser and PepsiCo to tout their brands on advertising’s biggest night—and, in the case of most advertisers, for days or weeks beforehand, with teaser trailers and even full versions of some ads dropping as early as mid-January. Celebrities were a-plenty, appearing in 53% of commercials during the game by our count. And AI showed its influence, with ads for Google Pixel 8, Etsy, and Microsoft Copilot all touting their AI-powered capabilities.

The Cost (and Value) of a Super Bowl Ad

In 1995, the price of a 30-second spot during the Big Game surpassed $1 million for the first time. Just 20 years ago, back in 2004, a Super Bowl ad cost $2.3 million. But in recent years, with the Super Bowl standing out as one of the few cultural events guaranteed to draw a massive, unified audience (and with streaming and social extending the hype around spots for weeks before the game itself), the price of a :30 second commercial has skyrocketed, hitting record-setting $7 million in 2023 and 2024.

Of course, with a single ad amounting to nearly eight figures, the question inevitably becomes: Is it worth it?

Well, research shows that brands who have Super Bowl ads can expect to see a 68% increase in online conversation volume on the day of the game. That boost ebbs to 22% in online and offline conversation volume within a week, and then to a 16% increase about a month after, before leveling off from there.​

As for revenue, an academic study from Stanford University and Humboldt University found that brands can expect to see a post-game sales increase if their spot featured a new launch, had category exclusivity, and if the product has a low price point. Meanwhile, when brands air Super Bowl ads alongside their competitors, it tends to result in an overall sales increase for that category, though sales for specific products advertised within that category can be mixed.​ Lastly, products with higher price points can take longer to see an increase in sales, if any. So even with the wide reach that Super Bowl ads provide, a meaningful sales return is by no means guaranteed.

Brands in the Super Bowl ad roster may also see a spike in brand awareness. Ads featuring inspirational stories, smart casting, humor, and positive messages often correlate to a lift in positive associations, so the right creative and messaging can be key to success. 

Top Ads from Super Bowl LVIII

Which ads won the day among Basis employees? An internal poll of 136 Basis team members found that Dunkin’s “DunKings” ad (featuring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon, and Tom Brady) was the most popular commercial during this year’s game. CeraVe’s inaugural Super Bowl spot, featuring actor Michael Cera (Cera? CeraVe? Get it?) was also a hit, taking the #2 ranking just ahead of Google’s heartwarming ad for its Pixel 8 smartphone and BMW’s Christopher Walken-centric ad.

A Quick Look at T-Swift’s Impact

Now, it wouldn’t be 2024 football coverage if we didn’t spend at least a few minutes talking Taylor Swift. The pop superstar began dating Kansas City tight end (and State Farm/Campbell’s Soup/Subway/Lowe’s/Experian/Pfizer ad star) Travis Kelce last fall—and her presence at games has brought a new level of interest in the NFL this season. It’s also brought in some serious cash, with one firm estimating that Swift has created a “brand value” of $331.5 million for the Chiefs and the NFL.​ 

As for the Super Bowl, Swift was shown 12 times on the CBS broadcast for a total of 53 seconds (accounting for approximately 0.34% of the game’s 4:20 airtime). Kelce, meanwhile, logged nine catches for 93 yards in his team’s big win.

How will the latest legislation out of Europe and the United States impact digital advertising in 2024 and beyond?

Listen to the article.

It’s been a busy couple of years for digital advertising industry regulators, with new regulations taking effect around the US and new legislation popping up around the globe. What’s the latest, and how will it impact advertising and marketing professionals? Let’s dig in and find out:

New Regulatory Action In Europe And The United States

Regulation in the European Union (EU)

While the United States has taken its time determining how to handle Big Tech regulation, the European Union has embraced its reputation as the world’s fiercest tech regulator.

Unrestrained by free speech rules like America’s First Amendment, the EU has taken the lead on matters like consumer privacy (with GDPR), walled gardens like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store (with the Digital Markets Act), and misinformation and hyper-personal ad targeting on social media (with the Digital Services Act).

Though some requirements of the Digital Services Act (DSA) came into effect in 2023, with “Very Large Online Platforms” and “Very Large Online Search Engines” being subject to the law’s stipulations, its broader implementation and enforcement is set for February 17, 2024. The law compels social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to dedicate more resources to stomping out misinformation and hate speech on their platforms, and bans any targeted online ads that are based on an individual’s ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Google and Meta are also now subject to annual audits to uncover “systemic risks” related to their social assets, search engines required to suppress misleading search results, and even Amazon will have to comply with new rules aimed at curbing the sale of illegal products.

As for the Digital Markets Act, in September 2023 the EU designated six companies—Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft—as “gatekeepers” under this regulation. Though TikTok and Meta have appealed this designation and Apple has filed a legal challenge to the DMA itself, these tech giants have until March 2024 to meet the requirements of the DMA for each of their designated core platform services.

Altogether, social media platforms face strict regulation in the EU—and serious consequences when they breach the bloc's privacy laws. Meta learned this the hard way, incurring a nearly $1.3 billion penalty for transferring user data between the United States and countries in the EU and the European Economic Area. It’s the biggest penalty an EU regulator has levied on a tech company since 2021 and a clear signal that privacy compliance is non-negotiable. (That said, the new EU-US Data Privacy Framework should hopefully help prevent similar data flow-related fines and confusion going forward.)

Legislation in the United States

Back stateside, industry regulation is a bit more decentralized. While federal-level legislation has mostly lingered in congressional purgatory (more on that in a bit), five new state-level data privacy acts took effect in 2023—with new regulations coming to Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and California—and in 2024, new rules are arriving in Texas, Oregon and Montana.

The broadest and most impactful of these state-level regulations is the California Privacy Rights Act, aka CPRA. Building off the foundation of 2018’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the act creates a California Privacy Protection Agency that’s dedicated to (and responsible for) enforcing the law—indicative of increased enforcement—while also reducing ambiguity around how to interpret some of the data-related aspects of the law. The CPRA now requires companies to give consumers the opportunity to not only opt out of the sale of their personal information, but also of giving or sharing that data with someone else, including a third party that might use it for cross-context behavioral advertising.

As Basis Technologies General Counsel Derek Zolner put it: “Essentially, the CCPA, CPRA, and the other data privacy acts that are popping up around the US are establishing legal enforcement mechanisms around personal control of one’s personal data and codifying many of the core principals of our industry—namely, transparency, notice, and the right to opt out. Only now, instead of the industry self-regulating these matters, state governments are intervening to take control of that enforcement.”

Meanwhile, at the federal level, Congress is considering legislation that could fundamentally alter the entire digital advertising landscape and, if passed, would potentially end the Big Four era of Big Tech.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Utah Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill that would prohibit companies that take in $20 billion or more in digital ad revenue—think Google, Meta, and Amazon—from owning all of the tech and marketplaces involved in both the buying and selling of those ads. The legislation, titled the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act, would also bring new levels of transparency to the industry, requiring companies with more than $5 billion in digital advertising revenue to “act in customers’ best interests and provide greater transparency on data collection, the terms of winning bids and the fees they charge.”

In essence, the law would force ad behemoths like Google to sell or spin off parts of its $210 billion global ad business while delivering new levels of programmatic advertising transparency for advertisers and publishers alike.

Now, whether or not the Lee-drafted legislation ever makes it to the President’s desk is far from certain. However, the fact that it has finally reached the Senate floor after months of rumor—and that it even has bipartisan cosponsorship in what is a very fractured Washington—shows just how real the desire is among many Americans for a digital advertising industry that’s less of a black box and more of a sunlit building with lots of South-facing windows.

US and EU Antitrust Scrutiny

As if pending legislative action wasn’t enough, Google and Meta are also facing both consumer scrutiny and federal lawsuits around alleged anticompetitive practicesad auction manipulation, and monopolistic market shares in the US.

Google, in particular, has caught the eye of the Justice Department and several states. It faces not one but two lawsuits alleging violation of US antitrust laws. The first case, brought by the Department of Justice and 11 state Attorneys General, is an attempt to prevent Google from “unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.” This suit comes at a time when Google owns a whopping 90% market share in search, though the company maintains that its supremacy in the landscape is because they “simply provided a superior product.”

Additionally, Google is the subject of a second suit accusing the company of “monopolizing digital advertising technology” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. While the first case addressed its monopolization of the search landscape, this second case relates to Google’s overall presence within the digital advertising landscape. If successful, this lawsuit would not just bar Google from engaging in anticompetitive practices, but force it to divest of some (or all) of its ad business, such as its ad server, ad exchange, ad networks, or DSP.

Together, Google, Meta, and Amazon account for nearly two-thirds of the  $300+ billion US digital ad market. Between those antitrust concerns and accusations of political meddling against big tech from both side of the aisle, the possibility of major regulatory changes in the digital advertising industry is all too real.

This antitrust regulatory action isn’t limited to the US. Across the pond, Google faces similar antitrust charges for its digital advertising practices, with the European Commission citing Google’s heavy involvement at “almost all levels of the so-called adtech supply chain” and noting concerns that the world’s fourth-most valuable company “may have used its market position to favor its own intermediation services.” This marks the fourth time Google has run afoul of EU antitrust regulations in the last few years, and with the bloc’s history of action against US-based tech giants, the case is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

AI Regulation

Since its public release in 2022, generative AI has garnered a lot of hype—and for good reason. From AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard, to AI image and art generators like DALL-E 2 and Midjourney, to Microsoft and Google both embracing new AI-powered search capabilities, this emerging tech is making some serious waves in the marketing and advertising world (and beyond). But for all the excitement around generative AI, its boom has also been accompanied by fierce warnings and concerns from experts across the globe.

Amidst these mixed emotions, it’s no surprise that AI regulation has become a hot topic. After briefly banning ChatGPT in March 2023, Italy’s data protection authority has since further solidified its plans to closely scrutinize and evaluate generative AI tools their compliance with data protection and privacy laws. And last summer, the EU came out with the world’s first comprehensive AI law: The EU AI Act, which was finalized in December 2023 and is set for a (mere formality of a) vote early this year. In the act, they outline the many potential benefits of AI, as well as “establish obligations for providers and users depending on the level of risk from artificial intelligence.”

The US, meanwhile, has yet to take action quite as deliberate as the EU’s, but that doesn’t mean Washington has been ignoring AI’s emergence. In May 2023, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman appeared before Congress and directly encouraged lawmakers to regulate artificial intelligence, and a bipartisan collection of congresspeople recently introduced a new House bill for an AI-focused oversight commission. Additionally, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in late October 2023 that aimed to address the “safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of Artificial Intelligence”. Though this order touches on many of the challenges that have arisen with AI and outlines tangible guidelines and action steps, it’s worth noting that these are merely voluntary guidelines, not enforceable regulatory standards. To become law (and enforceable as such), this order will almost certainly need to be accompanied by congressional action. All of that said, tech leaders appear largely divided on how AI should be regulated—with some even questioning if it should be regulated at all. As this disruptive technology continues to evolve, so too will governments’ regulatory approaches, and we are likely to see more concrete activity on this front in the months ahead.

TikTok Regulation

Last but not least, while much of the focus of recent regulation has had an eye toward American-based companies, there is one notable exception to the trend: TikTok.

Many no doubt remember the TikTok regulation sagas of 2020, when then-President Trump attempted to remove the app from Apple and Google app stores over data privacy and national security concerns and even worked to force the company to sell its US operations to an American firm such as Oracle or Microsoft.

While these more immediate federal-level threats seemed to taper off following the election of President Joe Biden, the lull proved to be short-lived. In March 2023, the Biden administration demanded that TikTok be sold or risk facing a nationwide ban. Lawmakers in Washington have indicated there may be rare bipartisan support for regulation of the app, pointing to ongoing concerns around TikTok’s data practices and its ties to Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance. But after a high stakes congressional hearing in March, where the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent five hours grilling TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on the platform’s data security and privacy practices, regulatory action seems to have reached a standstill (though, like the threat of a ban, that too may prove to be but a lull).

Today, any attempt to bar the wildly-popular app from either iPhones or Androids on a nationwide level would undoubtedly be met with swift and severe backlash—particularly among Gen Z—and not to mention inevitable legal challenges. In the meantime, TikTok has pointed to its ongoing plans to further isolate and secure US user data, including an agreement where TikTok would store all such data on American-based Oracle servers (as opposed to its own servers in both Virginia and Singapore) in an effort known as “Project Texas”.

If anything, the app has faced its harshest scrutiny at the state level. In May 2023, Montana became the first state to ban TikTok, but a federal judge temporarily blocked that law before it could take effect. Additionally, TikTok has been banned from government devices in more than half of all US states, numerous universities have blocked the platform from campus Wi-Fi networks, and a group of 15 state attorneys general have called on Apple and Google to change TikTok’s app store age ratings.

As TikTok continues to soar in popularity, gobble up market share, influence global culture, and embrace advertising opportunities, it will no doubt attract increased legislative and regulatory scrutiny from governments around the globe. So while it has thus far escaped initial regulatory attempts relatively unscathed, the clock is ti(c)king...

Potential Impact On The Advertising Industry

On to the big question: what does this all mean for digital advertisers?

For one thing, the Digital Services Act will potentially lead to safer advertising environments—particularly on social media—helping both brands and users enjoy a more hospitable digital ecosystem. With brand safety an increasingly-meaningful aspect of the brand-customer relationship, an internet with less misinformation and more trust would be more than welcome across the globe, let alone in Europe. The EU legislation will also mean some aspects of targeted digital advertisements in the region are slightly less personalized, at least on the basis of ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

When it comes to TikTok, the app's booming growth and rising ad revenues do not appear at risk with any new agreements surrounding US user data—if anything, it could provide digital advertisers and TikTokers alike with more confidence in the platform's safety.

As for Google, the biggest threats to its digital ad dominance (other than an AI-fueled search revolution) are the 2023 antitrust suits. The US-based suit—an “ambitious swing” from the Justice Department—nevertheless has a very real potential to succeed. Closing arguments for this suit have been set for early May 2024. Google, for its part, has said the US suit “ignored the enormous competition in the online advertising industry” and that the EU charges “focus on a narrow aspect of our advertising business.” Regardless, the suits could cloud Alphabet’s forecasts and bring further uncertainty to a company that in the last 12 months has conducted several rounds of layoffs, including its largest ever, while facing new search competition from an AI-powered Bing.

State-based US legislation such as the CPRA should lead to increased transparency and control over personal data for consumers—or, at least, for consumers from those states that have enacted new privacy laws. And as for the larger US bill, Google, Meta, and Amazon—not to mention their lobbyists—will no doubt have plenty to say about its contents. Google's immediate reaction was to say that the bill will "hurt publishers and advertisers, lower ad quality, and create new privacy risks" and pointed to "low-quality data brokers" as the true problem. And in the months since it was first introduced, the bill’s progress has (like so many others) predictably stalled. But whatever the outcome, it’s clear that Washington is hearing the rising calls for digital advertising transparency from brands, publishers, and consumers alike.

As much as people want a unified, omnichannel consumer experience, they’ve also made it clear that they want more control over who can—and who cannot—access their personal data as part of the advertising process. Private companies like Apple (with iPhone’s App Tracking Transparency and lack of third-party cookies on its Safari browser) and even Google (which is famously deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome in 2024) have shown a willingness to slowly but surely give consumers more control over their data, but the rest of the advertising industry has at times seemed reticent to accept the realities of a cookieless future

If this regulatory news out of the EU and the US tells us anything, it’s this: One way or another, the digital advertising industry is going to have to prioritize privacy. Third-party cookie deprecation is happening, even if there’s no single, perfect “replacement” solution quite yet. And if Big Tech—and the advertising industry—don’t want to make the difficult choices involved in regulating themselves when it comes to consumer privacy, then world governments will likely be all too happy to do it for them.


Curious about the state of identity in 2024 as advertising heads into the cookieless future? In our newest report, Identity vs. Privacy: Digital Advertising in a Cookieless World, we share insights from more than 200 marketing and advertising professionals and explore how they’re navigating signal loss, third-party cookie deprecation, and the shift towards privacy-first digital advertising.

Post updated January 29, 2024

Signal loss is having a significant impact on digital advertising, with third-party cookie deprecation, frequency capping, and attribution concerns as regulatory bodies, browser developers, operating system owners, and consumers increase their focus on user data.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimates that signal loss stemming from existing third-party cookie deprecation in Safari and Firefox and Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) has already curbed advertisers’ ability to target and track 50-60% of internet users. 

But the biggest hammer is about to drop, as Google intends to deprecate third-party cookies in its wildly popular Chrome browser by the end of 2024, ushering in a new age of cookieless advertising where alternative identity solutions are critical to digital advertising success.

On the brink of this type of transformational moment, how is the advertising industry preparing (or not preparing) for increased signal loss and a cookieless world? What do industry professionals they think of the leading alternative identity solutions? And how do marketers and advertisers feel about privacy and its place in the larger identity conversation?

A Window into the Cookieless Future of Targeting, Attribution, and Measurement in Digital Advertising

For this report, Basis surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals from top agencies, brands, non-profits, and publishers to see how they are reacting to third-party cookie deprecation and signal loss, and to gauge their feelings about privacy and user data as we head into a pivotal year for the advertising industry.

Findings include: 

Want to see how marketers and advertisers are navigating third-party cookie deprecation, signal loss, and data privacy as they shape the future of digital advertising—and learn how industry professionals feel about what’s to come? Download the full report today.

With 2024 fast approaching and 2023 slowly fading in the rearview, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite blog posts from the year that was. Read on to get a taste of our advertising and marketing industry coverage from 2023—and check out the Basis blog for all the rest (including our most-read posts of the year).

1) Digital Advertising Strategies to Win Your Customers' Hearts

Who doesn’t love love? On Valentine’s Day, we decided to give our readers a little gift: Three tips to help digital advertisers show their customers how much they care. Check it out to peruse a few strategies that will have your customers crushing on you like it’s night one of The Bachelor.

Read more>

2) Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Search Engine Marketing

Basis Technologies: 

Hey, ChatGPT? Why should people read this blog post about how AI is set to transform SEM?


“Advertisers should read this blog post because it provides a comprehensive overview of how analytical, action-oriented, and generative AI are already shaping search engine marketing. The post delves into real-world applications, from enhancing ad targeting to automating campaign tasks. By understanding current AI use cases, advertisers gain insights into future developments and can proactively prepare for the evolving landscape. Practical tips, such as staying informed on AI developments, fostering a data-driven culture, and anticipating chatbot-driven search engines, offer a roadmap for marketers to navigate and capitalize on the transformative impact of AI in SEM.”

Read more>

3) How Advertising Automation Can Help You Through the Identity Crisis (as Told by Taylor Swift)

While Swifties are enjoying their hero’s recent anointment as Time’s Person of the Year, digital advertisers are busy grappling with signal loss. And though many marketers undoubtedly wish they could just shake it off, the need for new, privacy-friendly advertising solutions isn’t going anywhere.

If, like TSwift, you know this challenge all too well, then this post is for you. It dives into all the ways automation can help advertisers overcome the identity crisis—as told through a collection of Taylor Swift lyrics, song titles, and gifs.

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4) A Skeptic’s Guide to Generative AI

It can produce music, create digital art, and even compose text in the style of famous writers. But since its public debut back in late 2022, generative AI has been (understandably) met with skepticism from both within and outside of the digital advertising world. 

However, with 86.6% of marketing and advertising professionals believing AI will radically transform the industry in the next three to five years, the one thing we can’t afford to do with generative AI is ignore it.

This post digs into everything an AI skeptic should know about the emerging tech’s impact on advertising: What the risks are, how to address them, and how advertisers can embrace (or at least dip their toes into) its possibilities.

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5) Why the Real Social Media Cage Match Is Advertisers vs. Brand Safety Threats

Remember when Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg were going to fight each other in a cage match? Yeah, 2023 was weird… 

Anyway, the feud got us thinking about what social media marketers are currently in the ring with—namely, a dizzying and ceaseless swarm of brand safety threats, including hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation. This post explores the ongoing cage match between advertisers and social media’s brand safety risks, as well as the tips and tricks marketers will need to emerge victorious.

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6) What Oktoberfest Can Teach Advertisers About Crafting a Standout Digital Campaign

Just like brewing an award-winning beer, crafting a standout digital marketing campaign takes quality ingredients, tons of creativity, and a test-and-learn approach. Inspired by Munich’s 200-year-old annual celebration of beer, this post lifts the lid on how advertisers can stand out from the pack with gold-medal digital advertising campaigns.


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7) The Future of Advertising Agencies: How Leaders Can Learn and Evolve

Oh, agencies. What hasn’t the world thrown at you lately? After a three-year stretch with seemingly non-stop changes—from a pandemic, to the Great Resignation, to new regulations, new technology and signal loss, to name just a few—running an agency can feel like a never-ending game of Whac-A-Mole. 

How can agency leaders approach these rapid-fire changes thoughtfully and strategically? To find out, we spoke with five industry veterans to gather their insights into what agencies need to know about this moment and identify how they can situate their organizations to not only adapt as the industry transforms, but to lead the way towards positive change.

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8) Digital Advertising is Under the Spotlight. How Will the Industry React?

For much of its history, the digital advertising world has been something of an iceberg: its surface shiny and bright, lighting up internet users’ screens and powering both organizational growth and the digital economy, while the adtech that supports it all ran largely out of the public’s sight. However, in recent years, new demands for data privacy, coupled with a new batch of lawsuits targeting many of the digital ad world’s biggest players, has pulled digital advertising into the spotlight.

But with change comes opportunity, and this piece explores how the new focus on our industry could be a catalyst for advertisers to take a step back and ensure their practices are aligned with consumers’ expectations and support marketing goals—and how it could potentially even usher in a new era of innovation.

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9) The Ultimate Guide to Political Advertising in 2024

2024 is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested US election cycles in recent memory—and the most expensive in history. Led by a presidential race at the top of the ticket, the combination of high-profile races, major cultural and economic questions, motivated cause-based outside groups, and emotionally invested voters is likely to fuel high turnout and even higher ad budgets.

With so many political (and non-political) advertisers looking to grab their share of voice and motivate their audiences to action, having the latest and greatest tips, tactics, insights, and strategies will be essential to ensuring a successful campaign. This post is the perfect place to start (and is worth bookmarking, as we’ll be updating it regularly in the months leading up to Election Day on November 5.)

Read more>

10) 6 Questions About Made-For-Advertising Websites

The emergence and growth of made-for-advertising websites (aka MFAs) was one of 2023’s biggest digital advertising controversies. One study earlier this year even found that advertisers were spending an average of 15% of their programmatic ad budgets on MFAs. But do these sites help advertisers reach their business goals and hit campaign KPIs, or are they simply generating revenue for the people who build and manage them and wasting valuable ad dollars in the process?

To help advertisers sift through all the MFA messiness, we spoke with an expert to break down how MFAs work and gain insights on how to avoid low-quality inventory before a campaign starts.

Read more>


Want to check out more digital advertising content to keep you at the top of your game, but don’t know where to start? Discover the perfect read for you with this fun (and helpful!) quiz.

Over the past few years, a slew of buzzy marketing trends has emerged—each promising to usher in an exciting new future for digital advertising, filled with transformation and untapped potential. 

Unfortunately, most of these so-called trends quickly fizzled out, leaving marketers disappointed and wondering how they can separate the true “trends” from what’s merely “trendy.”

So, how can advertisers tune out the noise and focus their attention on the most important, proven trends that are set to shape the year ahead? Find out in our 2024 digital advertising trends report.

2024 trends of note include: 

Ready to discover the trends that will shape digital advertising in the year ahead? Download Future in Focus today!