2024 MEDIA TRENDS: Insights from experts across Europe

Just like that, the first months of 2024 have whisked by, leaving us eager to see what the remainder of the year holds. Much like the dynamic shifts witnessed throughout 2023, the first two months continued this trend of changes in the media landscape.

To get a better grasp of what’s happening right now, we reached out to our Capita Media partners across the European media industry. Capita Media, an international network of agencies specializing in strategic media planning and buying, offers unique opportunities for collaboration and exchange of knowledge, especially during times of change. That’s why we combined the input of the following experts to determine which industry trends are shaping the media landscape in 2024.

1. Malele Sanz, International Key Account Manager for NewCom Horizons, Spain

2. Annalisa Borgoglio, Senior Media Planner for Absolute Media, Italy

3. Maurice Brüning, Performance Marketing Manager for DIEONLINEFABRIK, Germany

4. Julien Witt, Founder and CEO of JBW Media, Switzerland

5. Amanda de Jonge van Zwijnsbergen, Senior Media Consultant; Nick Vojvodic, Media Consultant; Arno Meijerink, Managing Director of IM Lounge, The Netherlands

Based on the experience of these industry professionals, we’ve identified these five key media industry trends for the coming year.

🤖 1. The AI Continuum: Impact on Marketing Tools & Transparency

As you might expect, the continued innovation in the Artificial Intelligence landscape was the most mentioned trend. None of our surveyed industry experts failed to mention AI. The experts agree that AI is here to stay, and will continue to have a major impact. Malele Sanz expects that AI will retain its place as a marketing trend in 2024, saying “67% of marketers feel positively about the likelihood of generative AI”. Annalisa Borgoglio echoes this sentiment, mentioning that she believes that “AI will have a big impact on the way media tools (Google, Meta etc.) deliver and customise the ads and optimise the campaign’s main KPIs.”

The experts also weighed in on other ways AI may influence the media landscape, beyond applications in marketing. Maurice Brüning suggests that AI is likely to affect transparency as well. Brüning: “The increasing use of AI in all aspects of marketing will likely result in a further decline in transparency for all advertisers in 2024.” The issues with AI transparency have been obvious for some time now. As AI models are trained on massive quantities of data with often unclear sourcing, its implementation makes it far more challenging for advertisers to be transparent about their sources. This transparency issue is one of the core challenges with the use of AI in media, according to Forbes.

Now that AI is further integrated in the marketing practice, other issues arise as well. Kantar’s 2024 “Media Trends & Predictions” report predicts a deep integration of media with generative AI for content creation, highlighting potential challenges such as intellectual property disputes and biases. As discussions on rights and ethics intensify, the enthusiasm for AI is tempered by concerns, possibly leading to lawsuits and negative public sentiments.

The utilisation of algorithms is a well-established practice in the realm of digital media. Or as Arno Meijerink states, “We’ve been using AI and deep learning tools in all of our digital media efforts for years. So as media consultants, we embrace the new possibilities AI offers us with open arms.”

We believe that its abilities to assist with the creative process make the difference this time around. The use of generative AI specifically gives marketeers access to cost-effective production of creative content, both textual and visual. However, despite the increasingly qualitative output provided by AI, the conception of ideas and the guidance of artistic direction continue to require a human touch.

🌿 2. Sustainability: From Buzzwords to Business Strategy

With the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) entering into force last year, many of our correspondents expect a growing focus on sustainability in media. Malele Sanz foresees a radical shift, with companies incorporating sustainability metrics into their KPIs as a strategic business move. Referring to the Kantar Media Trends report, she notes that 42% of companies have integrated sustainability metrics into their KPIs, compared to 26% in 2021. This upward trend signifies a move towards balancing profit, planet, and people – not as a compromise, but as a strategic and fully integrated business approach. Nick Vojvodic argues that meaningfully engaging with the challenge of sustainability and societal responsibility at large has become truly inevitable. He states: “In the face of various challenges, from social and economic issues to climate concerns, having an interesting product alone is no longer sufficient. The impact on the world around you is becoming increasingly important.”

From a communications standpoint, sustainable marketing presents an opportunity for carbon footprint reduction, especially considering the face that digital technologies themselves contribute to almost 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, a figure expected to double by 2025 (source). Annalisa Borgoglio agrees, noting that “many companies are increasingly sensitive to this topic, incorporating it into their media buying. That includes ‘’green out-of-home’’, public CO2 reports and similar actions.” This aligns with the global trend of acknowledging the environmental impact of digital technologies, transforming the balance between profit, planet, and people into a strategic business move.

🔐 3. Privacy changes: Adapting to the Unfamiliar

Recent digital changes, such as Google’s phasing out of third-party cookies in Chrome and Meta’s introduction of “ad-free” subscriptions, mark a truly transformative moment for advertisers. This shift underscores the importance of returning to basics, demonstrating once again the need for contextual targeting and rich media creatives.

Maurice Brüning argues that Meta’s ad-free subscription model highlights the increased importance of building organic reach on Meta. As other social networks implement their own ad-free subscriptions, the significance of organic reach on various platforms will continue to grow. There is no way around it: the only sustainable way for brands to reach their audiences is to strengthen their organic performance.

The other side of performance relates to measuring and analyzing the results. Malele Sanz warns that recent issues like Google’s phasing out of third-party cookies will leave advertisers, if not blind, at least unfocused. When it comes to measuring, analyzing, and optimizing their advertising campaigns, these changes will impact up to 70% of their traffic. To make this situation even more challenging, there currently isn’t one single alternative solution. Rather, resolving this gap requires a patchwork of fragmented solutions effective only at a limited scale. This leaves advertisers unable to easily address this change.

In the absence of mature and standardized alternatives, advertisers may need to revert to familiar solutions that ensure quality audience interactions and qualified insights. That’s why contextual targeting and rich media creatives will regain prominence in media plans.

👩👩👧👦 4. Influencer Marketing Undergoes a Transformation

The era of the mega-influencer seems to be drawing to an end, as influencer marketeers begin to move away swiftly from these highest-tier influencer voices. The power of the influencer always rested on their ability to offer a credible voice in the marketing landscape, thereby engaging customers that are more resistant to traditional advertising messaging. However, their mainstream integration into the marketing mix has diminished this perceived authenticity.

In a telling example of this move away from the mega-influencer, Annalisa Borgoglio notes the emergence of artificial (AI-generated) influencers. In her view, this trend signals a renewed quest for authenticity and credibility. As mega-influencers lose favor with audiences, the industry is urged to adapt in order to align with this evolving landscape. In another example, during internal IM Lounge discussions, senior media consultant and social expert Amanda de Jonge van Zwijnsbergen described a rise in user-generated content over regular ads. This too reflects a renewed consumer demand for authenticity, as this kind of content offers a realism and relatability that advertising often fails to deliver.

💻 5. Media channels trends

Digital advertising hasn’t reached its peak yet. When it comes to media channel trends, Julien Witt anticipates a general trend toward more digital and programmatic advertising, including digital out-of-home (DOOH). He predicts stability or a slight increase in TV spending, citing large-scale events like the European Football Championship. He also expects print will continue to decline, except for special interest magazines.

Outside of our Capita Media networks, our partners such as Max Schoorl from Pretty Social note that brands are expected to reconsider their marketing mix. Schoorl advocates for bold and creative approaches in the face of considerable changes. He predicts a double-digit decline in TV spending, emphasizing the challenges of price elasticity. Retail media, however, is identified as a significant trend, but the industry is expected to grapple with measurement and accountability issues.

Finally, another creative approach is the rise of contextual advertising through out-of-home and in-home screens, as described by Bart Asberg, Head of Media and Business Development at Turff. This bold method leverages real-time data to offer the most relevant ads to the desired audience. By considering an innovative approach to the media mix and daring to step away from the ‘safe zone’, brands can avoid stagnation and continue reaching their audiences.

Media trends: what’s next?

The media landscape in 2024 is characterized by dynamic shifts and exciting challenges for everyone in the marketing and media world. From the further integration of AI in marketing tools to the growing importance of sustainability as a strategic business approach, the industry is adapting to technological advancements and evolving consumer preferences. Privacy changes, the transformations in influencer marketing, and shifts in media channel trends further contribute to the complex and vibrant nature of the media environment. These changes force brands to adapt quickly and be open to new approaches, rather than sticking to what they know.

At IM Lounge we believe it’s essential to navigate these trends strategically, recognizing the opportunities and challenges they present in the ever-changing digital landscape.

#MediaTrends2024 #DigitalTransformation #MediaInsights #PaidMedia

IM Lounge About the author


IM Lounge is een Media Performance agency. Wij ontwikkelen media strategieën en doen media-inkoop. Wij zorgen voor de juiste boodschap, voor de juiste doelgroep op het juiste moment. Daarbij geloven wij dat mediastrategie tegelijkertijd met de creatie strategie moet worden ontwikkeld.