It’s a new year, which means new predictions. Our analysts have already made a number of big predictions for 2024, but here are a few more from our newsletter team. We’re keeping an eye on generative AI, attention metrics, and Gen Alpha—and we expect to see more ads in more places along the way. Here’s what we’re watching.

1. Meta, TikTok, and YouTube will compete for the ultimate generative AI feed

The three tech giants will use AI to differentiate themselves into need-to-use AI platforms.

One possible way this could happen would be to use AI filters to refine content, which strategy tech writer Ryan Broderick described as “selling your filter bubble back to you.” AI content filters could allow users on TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram to type something like “funny animal videos” or “healthy recipes” and filter the content they want to see via natural language. Screenshots show TikTok is already testing this type of tool.

Generative AI has been effective in niching down content on platforms, like Spotify’s daylists, which create unique playlists named things like “hot chocolate reading Wednesday morning” and “puppy love canon afternoon.”

For marketers, this means users looking at personalized feeds may not be exposed to their content. But the users who do see the content are more likely to be interested, engaged, and part of their target audience.

2. Brands make big plays for Gen Alpha

The oldest members of Gen Alpha are turning 11 this year. For advertisers who were eager to appeal to millennials and then Gen Zers, this means a new generation is beginning to develop brand loyalty.

Gen Alpha will be the second digitally native generation after Gen Z. A major portion of their lives have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and social entertainment from TikTok and YouTube is second nature to them. Plus, Gen Alpha is more diverse than the rest of the US. For advertisers, this means Gen Alpha will require new tactics from their Gen Z older siblings.

In 2024, brands will experiment with what works and what doesn’t for this generation, both to win over Gen Alpha’s parents’ pocketbooks and to gain future spenders.

3. Performance marketers will integrate attention metrics into ROI

Attention metrics assess whether the consumer noticed and absorbed a brand’s message using factors such as dwell time, scroll speed, cursor location, and completion rates. In 2024, agency partnerships and ad tech integrations will allow performance marketers to measure attention metrics in more sophisticated ways and, eventually, use attention metrics in the ad-buying process.

Third-party cookies are crumbling and first-party data is crucial. But advertisers don’t just need to know if ads are getting impressions—they need to know if the people seeing those ads are actually engaged.

“​​Programmatic pathways are being configured to handle attention,” wrote our analyst Evelyn Mitchell-Wolf in our Attention Metrics 2023 report. “Attention metrics have moved beyond consumer research into real-time bidding strategies. Through agency partnerships and ad tech integrations, attention providers are reducing barriers to use.”

4. Cheaper, ad-supported tiers come to Spotify

Ad-supported tiers have entered the scene on Netflix, Disney+, Max, and, most recently, Amazon Prime Video. On platforms where growth is slowing due to high user penetration, password-sharing crackdowns combined with lower-priced ad-tier offerings can boost subscriber numbers, a strategy that’s been successful for Netflix. And platforms have much to gain with more eyes watching ads.

Spotify, where US user growth will slow to single digits this year, per our August 2023 forecast, is the next platform that could implement this strategy. The platform already offers a free, ad-supported tier, but a low-price ad-supported tier could offer fewer ads and access to premium features like audiobooks (which could also be ad-supported) and AI playlists.

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