Mediaocean has released its “2023 Mid-Year Advertising Outlook” report. With topics such as generative AI occupying significant industry mindshare, the research reveals the most actionable trends and pressing concerns facing the marketing community going into the second half of the year. The analysis spans trends related to ad spend, creative testing, and audience targeting, as respondents continue to convey confidence in new solutions and emerging channels.
Aggregating insights from 700+ leaders including brands, media providers, advertising agencies, and tech companies – the report reflects a year marked by the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence (AI), which emerged as the single important consumer trend to watch for marketers. The dominance of AI stands in stark contrast to the findings from Mediaocean’s “December 2022 Market Research and 2023 Outlook” report, in which respondents cited practical matters such as, “measurement improvements” and “improvements in integrated media planning and execution,” as likely to be the most consequential tech innovations for advertising in 2023.
Additionally, despite the scrutiny facing companies like Meta, Twitter, and TikTok, more than half of marketers said they plan to increase spending on social platforms this year. TikTok continues to grow and be a mainstay for advertisers, even as a number of US states have forbidden the government use of the app. 57% of respondents chose TikTok and social video when asked about significant consumer trends – a sign of continued momentum. Connected TV (CTV) was also highlighted as a critical channel with more than 50% of respondents planning to increase ad budgets, but the added investment brings challenges, as evidenced by a 40% lift in concern over managing reach and frequency in CTV and digital channels.
However, as this year progresses, marketing leaders project a practical focus on improving workflow efficiency and campaign effectiveness to combat the uncertainty of the past year, and as such, the findings also show the ad industry is stabilizing and finding new ways to adapt. The survey revealed marketers' top three areas of investment – performance-driven paid media, measurement & attribution capabilities, and brand advertising – remain unchanged from last year. Meanwhile, creative testing and analysis showed the biggest year-over-year jump with a 27% increase. Additionally, the survey showed a 16% decrease in concern over talent retention and access to expertise – a sign that the industry is finding ways to manage resources in a post-pandemic environment.
“Of note, the rapid rise of ChatGPT makes it clear that, if ever there was a time to invest in understanding the role of AI in our industry, it is now. Survey responses also revealed the massive importance of newer media like social video (most notably TikTok) and CTV. These are exactly the kinds of emotive, rich environments marketers crave to influence thinking and drive purchase among the millions of consumers that continue to flock to them. Additionally, the uptick in interest for creative testing and automation is long overdue. With the convergence of several powerful forces – AI, macroeconomic pressures and data deprecation – the creative process may finally get a much-needed overhaul," said Joanna O'Connell, EVP Innovation at R3 and independent research analyst.
Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer at Mediaocean, added: “As is the case with generative AI, we have seen some new technologies burst on the scene and disrupt how we think about marketing. But we have also seen a continuation of trends that have persisted for years such as the opportunities afforded by creative testing and advertising on social and streaming platforms. Of particular note, this latest report shows an overall stabilization of the ad industry, which I think will be welcome news for all stakeholders.”