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Top Things We Learned at the March 2024 Digiday Media Buying Summit

We recently had the opportunity to attend the Digiday Media Buying Summit, where we had the chance to engage with industry experts and delve deep into the latest trends and challenges shaping the media landscape. Check out our main takeaways and assessment of how each may influence our media strategies moving forward. 

Embracing AI: A Transformative Tool with Challenges

It’s now evident that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has firmly established itself as an integral piece of the digital marketing. This newfound embracement of AI juxtaposes what we heard last year at this same conference. Most industry insiders dismissed it as a passing trend and were not actively using these tools. Fast forward to this year’s conference: AI emerged as the hot topic, with agencies disclosing that they leverage AI tools across various functions, from copywriting to reporting, and even for influencer campaigns. 

Nevertheless, AI tools do not come without risks, with user privacy near the top of the list. Agencies feeding client data into these tools need to ensure that this data is secure and privacy safe. Utilizing the newest tools at our disposal is important in staying on the cutting edge, however the risks involved also must be continually assessed.

Additionally, the rise of generative search, an experimental SERP experience that displays high level overviews of search topics without having to click on any website links, raises questions about the authenticity of the content and its implications, especially for product reviews. An AI-written review does not accurately reflect a user’s actual experience with a product or service and has the potential to be misleading. 

While AI presents immense opportunity, we feel it should be utilized as a supplemental tool alongside human expertise. Human interaction with these tools is still necessary to ensure the output aligns with businesses’ specific requirements and goals.

DEI: A Continuing Issue in Digital Marketing

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) remains a pressing concern with discussions at both this and last year’s Summit, highlighting the persistent need for progress. Despite efforts to improve inclusivity, many organizations still struggle with achieving meaningful outcomes.

A crucial realization is that DEI initiatives demand more than just rhetoric. They continue to require further investment, be it monetary or other resources, to begin to see tangible results. 

Moreover, DEI challenges extend beyond agency environments, permeating programmatic advertising spaces. For instance, disparities in language usage can inadvertently exclude minority-owned publishers from contextually targeted advertising, highlighting the need for nuanced approaches. A poignant example of this can be seen with the word “bomb”. This word would typically be blocklisted from campaigns to adhere to brand safety standards. Yet, some demographics may use this as a term to describe something impressive. 

As we navigate these complexities, we continue our commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace culture at Accountable Digital. We recognize the importance of prioritizing accountability and driving meaningful change within our organization and the broader industry. 

The Death of the Third-Party Cookie: Navigating the Post-Cookie Landscape

The impending deprecation of third-party cookies, slated for the end of Q3 this year, will have a substantial impact on audience targeting and measurement capabilities. 

Conversations at the Summit echoed the industry-wide pivot towards using first-party data as a foundation for filling this void. Unlike third-party cookies which track users across the web, first-party data is collected directly from users on a company’s website or app.

There also will likely be a shift in emphasis towards utilizing more contextually targeted advertising solutions. Contextually targeted campaigns display ads to users based on page content viewed and do not rely on third-party cookies. Audience targeting typically uses cookies to track user behavior online and displays ads to users based on those online interests and behaviors. Contextually targeted campaigns can help preserve relevancy long term as audience-based targeting options fall to the wayside.

Our team has already started working on finding and testing viable targeting options to ensure that we’re prepared for the post-cookie era and campaigns will continue to run smoothly.

Looking Ahead

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing world of digital marketing, we remain committed to innovation and delivering exceptional results. The Digiday Media Buying Summit has provided us with valuable knowledge and insights that we’re eager to implement within our strategies and practices.