The future of adtech: trends to watch in 2024

20th February  |  
4 minutes
future of ad tech

The adtech industry has long been associated with innovation and change, helping to drive the digital transformation of marketing and the rise of programmatic advertising. However, with 2024 now in full swing, one thing is clear: the future of adtech looks set to be every bit as innovative as in the past. Here, we look at some of the key ad tech trends likely to shape the sector in the months and years ahead.

Three adtech trends to watch

Looking ahead, there are three key trends likely to play an outsized role in the future of adtech: sustainability, AI, and privacy. Let’s look at each in turn.

1. Sustainability

As in all industries, adtech companies are under pressure to shift to more sustainable practices that contribute to national and corporate net-zero emissions goals. Given that  by some counts a typical online ad campaign emits almost half the carbon dioxide produced by the average UK consumer in a year, the sector will be looking to accelerate efforts towards more energy efficient and less wasteful processes and practices.

Over the next few years, we can therefore expect to see an increase in “green programmatic,” a more environmentally conscious approach to digital advertising. Green programmatic aims to reduce the number of data requests made in programmatic advertising, thereby lowering power consumption. Concurrently, we can expect to see a renewed focus on reducing ad waste. Adverts displayed to the wrong demographic, or which are lost to ad fraud, are a waste of resources. Techniques like telco verification services will help eliminate ad fraud while ensuring that every ad gets shown to the right person at the right moment.

2. Privacy

Since GDPR arrived in 2018, privacy has become increasingly important to the functioning of the internet, digital advertising, and the adtech industry. In subsequent years, laws mirroring the stipulations of GDPR have sprung up around the world. Where companies breach these laws, the result is not only extremely heavy fines, they also risk losing the trust of consumers who, research shows, increasingly expect brands to protect their data privacy.

The future of adtech is therefore clear: it is one where consent will be central to the use of consumers’ personal data. With invasive tracking cookies being phased out of Google Chrome this year (having already been deprecated in Edge, Safari, and Mozilla) the stage is set for a new generation of privacy-centric adtech that delivers all the benefits of personalised advertising at scale while respecting consumers wishes and their rights.

3. AI

2023 was the year that AI made the leap from labs and niche enterprise applications into the general sphere. In 2024 and beyond, we can expect to see AI finding its way into adtech deployments worldwide. AI in adtech promises to enhance engagement and personalisation by analysing user data to deliver relevant ads, improve efficiency through automated bidding and ad placement processes, and optimising campaigns in real-time by continuously learning from user interactions to maximize engagement and conversion rates.

However, AI will only be able to live up to its promise if data privacy and principles of consent are respected. Without this, user trust will be undermined, and AI-based applications will fail to comply with global data protection regulations. It’s therefore likely that the rise of AI in adtech will be accompanied by a corresponding rise in technologies and processes to ensure that the datasets used in AI are fully consented.

Towards the adtech industry of tomorrow

We are at a critical inflection point for the adtech industry and the wider digital marketing industry. Technology evolution is opening new ways of doing things, while societal change is placing new pressures on the industry. What will emerge in the future is an adtech industry that is more innovative than ever and more focused on the needs of individual consumers and society at large.

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