As the year draws to a close, many agencies share their predictions for the upcoming year. However, this year, we asked our team to do something different: to share what they would like to see happen in the world of digital in 2024, not necessarily what they predict will happen. This alternative perspective proved enlightening – read on to find out why.

We want to see much better ad targeting

By far, the biggest collective wish was for better ad targeting. If Obanners’ experience is representative, it seems that the big platforms are getting this badly wrong. Comments included:

Dave Cousin

As a consumer, target me better – after all, you already have my details. If I have to watch ads before a YouTube video, at least try to make it relevant for me. There’s no reason why I should have to watch an ad for over-50s life cover, not for another ten years.” – Dave

Sometimes, I can be watching a serious or fairly sad video, then Grammarly abruptly starts shouting at me to download their Chrome plug-in. These jarring ads can give me a negative view of the brand in question, even though it’s not their fault.” – Ellie

Ellie Spinks
Avielle Breen

B2B ads in gaming apps infuriate me. Think about the consumer and what mindset they’re in. I’m in the middle of playing an intense game, of course I’m not going to give a thought to your B2B product or service – I’m just waiting for the ad to be over so I can continue to play the game!” Avielle

“I watch a lot of music content on Instagram and YouTube, so I get ads for apps that claim to ‘learn piano the easy way’. I’ve played the piano for over twenty years, so I’m not the customer they’re looking for. Surely they would do better by targeting non-musicians? They also tend to make bold claims, such as offering shortcuts to success. In reality, no-one can stick with learning an instrument if they’re not prepared to be at it for a long time” – George

George Gavin
Oliver Smith

In 2023, I noticed a large volume of social media ads that don’t seem to go away, despite me never clicking or interacting. Possibly advertisers are struggling with optimising their frequency settings, so perhaps the platforms need to provide new ways to help. For me, it’s the ‘get rich quick’ schemes that are most persistent.” – Ollie

We want algorithms to understand us better

If we have to live in an algorithmic world, there was a feeling that algorithms should understand us better and become more responsible:

“I wish algorithms on platforms like Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, and so on weren’t so literal. For example, if you listen to one song of a particular genre – such as some cheeky 90s pop like Britney or Xtina, because it’s Pride and you’re in party mode – your entire ‘Discover weekly’ playlist is then populated with similar music even though it isn’t what you usually listen to. On Instagram, you might watch one video of a dog dressed as a dinosaur, then suddenly your entire feed is taken up with similar content because you liked it.” – Chloe

Chloe Mckenna
Oliver Smith

I find the constant striving for divisive media unbearable. It fuels the worst type of content creation and engagement. Instead of algorithms focusing on valuable content, they aim for the most polarising, knowing full well that it damages public discourse. It has turned news and media consumption into a more painful experience and made nuanced discussion more difficult.” – Ollie

“I’d like to see a properly enforced ban on all hate-inducing content with much more active monitoring.” – Jules

Jules Sosso

We want better integration between and within platforms

There was a clear feeling that platforms could go further in providing better integration for their users. Typical comments included:

Susie Cox

“There are still challenges involved in reporting across multiple platforms. For example, if we run activity across certain audiences on Facebook and LinkedIn, it would be beneficial to compare the two. More often than not, the data we can drill down into on one platform isn’t available on another, making like-for-like comparisons difficult. This makes it harder to make data-driven decisions about the success of one platform compared to another.” – Susie

I would love to see better attribution tracking across channels – it would be great if we could have a better understanding of which touchpoints a user has had with our ads before they get to search. With Google Analytics 4, there are data driven attribution models but it’s unclear what weight they give to ads outside Google such as social or programmatic.” – Charlotte

Charlotte Deacon
Sarah Jennings

“I wish US and UK websites, MACs and Windows could all agree amongst themselves what counts as a special character when you create a new password!” – Sarah

Certain platforms could offer a better consumer experience

Then there were requests for improvements on specific platforms:

I’d like the ability to play YouTube videos in a pop-out box while still being able to use my phone for other functions.” – Jack

jack hickman

Platform tweaks would make life better for our SEO and paid media teams

Fine-tuning on certain platforms could make life better for our SEO and paid media maestros:

Niamh Wallis

I’d like Pinterest to make their posts more shoppable. I use it to find style inspiration – recently I was looking for smart casual outfits and found some I liked. The links to shop mostly went to 404 error pages or out of stock items or were in the US and didn’t ship to the UK. I feel there’s an opportunity for both Pinterest and the brands on Pinterest to provide fully shoppable boards which are better managed and more up to date than currently exists.” – Niamh

I’d like to see LinkedIn not restrict the number of invitations to connect that users can send each week, or – if restriction is necessary to fight bots – at least tell users how many invitations they have and where they are up to each week.” – Gaelle

Gaelle Sahintekin

Platform tweaks would make life better for our SEO and paid media teams

Fine-tuning on certain platforms could make life better for our SEO and paid media maestros:

George Gavin

“When reporting on monthly performance, I wish that ‘search landscape factors’ such as seasonality, keyword visibility, algorithm updates, and changes in competitors could all be looked at in the same place at once. Many tools are quite specific about keyword visibility changes, and I think a bigger picture view would be a better way of being able to tell if changes are natural fluctuations, shifts with a known cause, or if the search landscape for these type of searches is genuinely changing.” – George

I’d like to regain some control over the optimisation levers available for Google Ads Performance Max, and for Microsoft Ads Performance Max (currently in beta) not simply to be a carbon copy for Google’s product when it’s open for all in 2024.” – Ollie

Oliver Smith
Jules Sosso

“I’d like to see a better balance between privacy and accessibility. Increasingly, sites which are losing too much revenue from cookie-induced data losses turn to paid models which is a shame.” – Jules

“I’d like to see Google be less mysterious with its updates around Google Lens capabilities and Google Generative Search. It’s a guessing game at the moment, and it would be fantastic to know more detail about the future of Google Search.” – Sophie

Sophie Matsell
man in speech bubble smiling at camera

“As AI continues to play a more pivotal role in customising content for campaigns and the introduction of tools like Google Product Studio, I would love these tools/platforms to get to a point where we could reliably create new ads and designs in house and at scale without the risk of any of the AI mishaps. These things will always be human dependant to some degree but a chance to get creative on the platforms would be a lot of fun as well as saving time and money.” – Murray

I wish that I could see where the placements are served for programmatic CTV delivery – there are promises of X million impressions, but the reality is that DSPs are serving the same ad at every ad break to the same individual and ostensibly inflating reach numbers for the ‘audience’.” – Ollie

Oliver Smith
Lulu temp

I wish I could see a location performance breakdown in LinkedIn Ads without having to create a different campaign for each location. At the moment, if you group locations, it just gives you basic metrics and not the ones you actually need.” – Lulu

We want to see less spam and better spam filters

This one feels a little retro, but spam remains a big issue, with a number of Obanners expressing their frustration:

“I wish companies would stop sending me poorly targeted emails written by bots inviting me to irrelevant meetings, which then send me increasingly tetchy reminders on a weekly basis asking me to book a session into their automated calendars. On a spam-related note, it’s annoying to be asked to fill out all sorts of irrelevant information when making a trivial purchase, which then clearly gets sold on, resulting in cold calls. I think cold calling or cold emailing companies should have to declare who they bought your data from – that would shame the culprits!” – Sarah

Sarah Jennings
Chloe Mckenna

“I wish our website ‘get in touch’ email account didn’t get so cluttered with bots saying that they love our blog posts and inviting us to pay them for a link or offering a guest post. As SEO techniques go, this is really old school… it’s nearly 2024 so get with the programme!” – Chloe

“I spend far too much of my life checking my junk folder for legitimate emails. I wish AI would do it for me (or that scammers would become less prolific).” – Mike

Mike Turnham

Let’s demand better customer support from brands and platforms

Isn’t it nice to chat to a human being sometimes?

Susie Cox

“Our clients often ask specific questions about the media platform we’re running activity on. Over time, the customer support we receive to help answer questions about our client’s media or account has become increasingly lacking. We don’t always need an account manager but investment in better support for agencies would be great.” – Susie

“I wish there was an option to speak to someone live if the FAQ /Help doesn’t answer your question. A lot of big brands still won’t let you get in touch – ever!” – Sarah

Sarah Jennings

Fewer cookies and a better grasp of GDPR

There was collective weariness about the amount of time we spent each day clicking on cookie banners and a sense that GDPR isn’t working as well as it should be for consumers:

Mike Turnham

“I wish we could come up with something better than cookie banners. A browser level setting, with a floating icon for each website you visit to change site specific choices would be more appropriate, consistent, and efficient for users and publishers.” – Mike

I wish we could get our collective act together on GDPR. It’s exasperating to be prevented from doing something  because of GDPR – my recent example was trying to pay a household bill.” – Sarah

Sarah Jennings

Whatever 2024 has in store, find out how Oban can help your business achieve international growth using our unique network of Local In-Market Experts by getting in touch today.

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