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Five key trends to watch out for at CES 2024

Nick Pinks, CEO, Covatic

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) sets the stage for brands to unveil cutting-edge technologies that promise to disrupt the industry and push the limits of innovation. The event is also an opportunity for discussions around current trends; from emerging solutions to big tech issues. It has also become a great networking opportunity, bringing together people from all areas of the technology ecosystem including, most interestingly for us at Covatic, advertising.

Here are five trends we expect to see making headlines at the event in Las Vegas in January.

FAST growth for new TV channels

Connected TV (CTV) advertising remains in sharp focus, and conversations at CES will revolve around the challenges of data fragmentation and the search for standardised measurement solutions. The simplification of tech will be key to enabling accurate ad targeting, and providing more comprehensive understanding and visibility of where ads are being delivered and who is seeing them.

Ongoing global economic pressures and cost of living concerns for consumers have seen a shift away from subscription services in 2023, with ad-funded models becoming more popular. Free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST), which combines the best of both linear and digital television, has become the fastest-growing segment of the streaming market. The large volumes of audiences it attracts will drive marketers to develop and test new solutions that solve the addressability limitations of these channels.

Linear TV remains a strong and effective tool for brand awareness-building and long-term marketing. However, for traditional TV to remain relevant in a crowded market requires better audience measurement, which will offer additional value for advertisers under increasing pressure to maximise their ad budgets.

The privacy predicament continues

Discussions around data privacy are also expected to resurface at CES. Marketers are keenly aware they need alternative targeting strategies if they are to keep pace with the digital ecosystem’s privacy transformation. With Google’s phasing out of third-party cookies in the pipeline, and with tougher industry regulation highlighted by the recent 30-Day Cookie ultimatum from the Information Commissioner, it’s clear there is no time to waste.

ID-based solutions are unlikely to disappear entirely; however, advertisers will be looking for ways to plug the gaps left by their growing absence – whether that is by developing new technologies or incorporating existing ones. We expect to hear more from brands and advertisers about what is working for them and what they'd like to see more of in the future.

It’s AI’s time to shine

AI was the buzzword of 2023, and there’s no doubt it will dominate at CES too, as companies attempt to harness its opportunities and tackle its challenges.

Prepare to see AI’s use in every application; from tractors, massage chairs, and even shoe-matching. Artificial intelligence in health, robotics and sustainability will be a major focus, with novel use cases to harness large data sets for multiple issues, including tackling human burnout. There’s also a panel discussing the “AI threat” for more sceptical attendees.

When it comes to advertising, as AI adoption across industries becomes more normalised, it will pave the way for a new paradigm, as the industry leverages tech to solve inefficiencies across the entire digital value chain.

Generative AI will also come under the microscope. We’ve come a long way since ChatGPT was announced, and can now count on numerous generative AI platforms, for both users and businesses. From writing to audio, and now video, the technology’s capabilities continue evolving and pushing the limits of scaled asset creation. It’s safe to say the best days of generative AI are still ahead of us.

Time to tune in to audio opportunities

Audio is a versatile space for consumers to engage and interact with their favourite content, so it’s unsurprising that digital audio ad spend continues rising, poised to reach $12.8 billion by 2027. From digital radio and music to the fast-growing podcast industry, audio advertising offers a wide range of formats and devices for advertisers to explore.

CES 2024 will be a platform to showcase significant innovations in the audio space that advertisers can tap into. We also expect to see discussions around making smart speakers smarter. This will go beyond hardware – such as speakers built into furniture or with built-in streaming – and be more about connectivity. AI developments will improve voice capabilities, while speakers will be able to connect with multiple devices and services simultaneously.

As audio devices continue evolving, we can expect the industry to further develop solutions that enable highly targeted and contextually relevant advertising, redefining what it means to ‘speak’ to consumers.

Smart devices will be taking over

Last year, more than 240 smart home solutions were exhibited at CES, including technologies that incorporated 5G, robotics, smart sensors, and almost anything else needed to help humans enhance their home. 2024 will be no different as companies will try to push the boundaries for convenience, safety and sustainability of smart devices. Smart home controls to adjust lighting, lower or raise the blinds, or set routines for temperature controls, are just some of the exciting things to expect.

Scores of popular brands and startups will be exhibiting their breakthroughs in smart home technology. This presents an opportunity for advertisers who want to leverage smart devices such as AR.

Apple’s recently unveiled Augmented Reality (AR) headset is now set to usher in a new era of digital interactions. Other brands will likely follow suit to rival the tech giant, which will breathe new life into the advertising industry. Marketers will find solutions that maximise the space’s opportunities, opening the doors to some exciting prospects.