By Ashley Bolser, founder and MD of leading digital marketing agency Bolser
I’m going out on a limb and being positive with my predictions for 2024.
Unless you spent 2023 hibernating under a rock you’ll know that it was a big year for AI – entering the mainstream and hitting the headlines. And 2024 is set to be even bigger. But don’t take my word for it – ask AI…
AI is coming, its big, and despite the conspiracy theories and overriding ‘fear of the unknown’ – it’s not going to take your life or your livelihood, well not in 2024. 180 million users (and counting) is a big number that’s impossible to ignore – and I believe there is much in the realm of AI to look forward to this year.
The first “AI general assistant” will become available – and it will come from one of the big 4 tech firms, (my money is on Meta or Apple) in what will become a significant new service sector.
These first assistants will help everybody organise their digital and real world lives. You book a train journey over two days? It suggests a hotel or Airbnb based on your preferences. You get a notification from your credit card, and it flags moving the money from your current account. Simple enough tasks, yes, but activities that require a broad range of capabilities from your AI general personal assistant. The initial hype on the assistants will, of course, far exceed the reality (think iPhone C. 2008) but rest assured, this is the future.
Whilst AI will be the big story of 2024 there will are other high impact events to look forward to in the coming 12 months…
2024 is looking almost certain to be an election year – so hold on tight because it’s definitely going to be a bumpy ride.
It will no doubt bring with it a massive boost in advertising and Government expenditure with every media outlet experiencing an uplift. From Facebook, X, TikTok and other online platforms to the Tabloids, OOH providers and even the man with a “one poster” trailer will get a big boost in spending from the political parties this year. Elections are usually great news for the large news groups and networks, but it is also generally good news for all agencies as the spend gets distributed across the whole ecosystem.
A Summer of sport…
June and July will bring us German Euro 2024 – a tantalising treat that will bring a huge surge in spending in the hospitality sector, as England navigate the group stages with the ultimate goal of ‘bringing it home’.
And only two weeks later, the Summer Olympics will keep millions glued to the TV watching elite sports people from around the world compete in Paris. And with it, there will be a big surge in consumer spending, on both sides of the Channel, with associated brands reaping the rewards of sponsorship. The Olympics will also be great news for TV channels and other media outlets. Watch out for the opening ceremony, anything London can do, Paris can probably do better. And as the medals come, I’m predicting a mini boom in the French economy with some knock on benefits this side of the channel, particularly for supermarkets.
This summer has all the elements to make people feel better – throw in some decent weather and there will be less emphasis on the cost-of-living crisis, more on how we’ve done in sport and a general feeling of cash in the pocket as inflation stays low, interest rates fall and real wages do OK.
The year of consolidation? There may be trouble ahead…
Interest rates are historically high and whilst they have already started to fall, borrowed money is, and will remain, expensive. And that means two things: there will be more consolidations, of businesses doing the same thing (think Vodafone and Three) and it will mean some firms will go out of business, perhaps because they borrowed too much to pay shareholders, or consumers just won’t continue paying inflated prices.
2024 looks set to be an eventful – let’s hope it’s a good one.