The Media Minute 5.29.24

Searching AI And Low: What Google’s AI Overviews Mean For Publishers

Last week, I wrote about the rising search costs, with CPC and CPL both going up dramatically in the last year. 

There are a number of ways AI and automation can help with offsetting those specific rises, but today I want to shine a light on one particular AI use that is doing publishers no favors in terms of search.

As anyone who’s paid attention to AI news might have guessed, I’m referring to Google’s recently announced AI Overviews.


Google Ads Benchmarks 2024: New Trends & Insights for Key Industries

With over 80% of buying journeys beginning on search engines, it’s not a surprise that so many businesses are running search ads to capture searchers and convert them into customers. But with search engines like Google constantly changing the search landscape, and with advertising costs rising across the board, it’s important to understand how your search ads are really performing to drive the best results for your business.


B2B Dips Into AI: A Small Number Of Firms Try 2 Or More Use Cases

AI is catching on in B2B in a fitful way. Only 11% of brands are using AI for more than two use cases, and 38% are trying it for one, according to a new study from Bain & Company, titled “How B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders Are Getting The Most From Generative AI.” Firms with high revenue growth were twice as likely as laggards to deploy multiple use cases, by a margin of 11% to 5%. 


The State of Email and Automation 2024

The use of automation in email marketing programs allows for the expanded use of personalized and timely communication, enhancing customer engagement and conversion rates. Marketing professionals also consider leveraging AI and machine learning to streamline workflows and deliver more relevant content to their audience at scale. But what is working in email and automation, and what can you learn from other marketing professionals to optimize your programs this year?

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The Media Minute 5.22.24

The Digital Direction: Online Overtaking Newspapers, TV For Local News

A new survey from Pew Research Center is confirming what many of us in the media industry have suspected: the new king of local news is digital.

Almost half (48%) of U.S. adults surveyed said they prefer news sites or social media for getting their local news and information, up from 37% in 2018 and overtaking television (which fell from 41% to 32% in that time). 9% prefer print newspapers (down from 13% in 2018) and an additional 9% prefer radio (up from 8%).


Working Professionals Increasingly Support The Use Of AI Tools

Communicators are more likely to have a favorable view of agencies and colleagues who incorporate AI into their work, according to an Axios-Seven Letter insights survey. This signals that AI-supported work might not be as taboo as it was just one year ago.


CMO Survey Finds Gen AI Already Has Had A Profound Impact On Marketing

The good news is that a little more than a year after generative AI applications began rolling out, they have had a substantial positive impact on marketing. The bad news is that they still are only being used in a fraction of overall marketing functions. Those are among the surprising top-line findings from a just-released new edition of The CMO Survey.


How to Win Gen Z In 2024

[The] new survey spills the tea on a strategy that will make 8 in 10 Gen Z more likely to buy from your brand: exclusive offers that reward their lifestage.

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The Media Minute 5.15.24

Making Time: AI, Automation, And How Business Can Prioritize (And Optimize) Efforts

If I took a poll, I’d bet exactly 100% of us would say we don’t have enough hours in the day. 

The opinions and strategies may vary on what we’d do with any additional bonus hours, but I’m sure we’d all welcome the gift.

Small businesses in particular feel the crunch of workday-hour limitations, and a new survey by Constant Contact and Ascend2 found that most SMBs (56%) spend less than an hour of each day on marketing. Combined with the almost three-quarters of SMBs (73%) that lack confidence in their marketing strategies, it’s a formula that can snowball into bad habits, bad practice, and bad business very quickly.


2024 State of Customer Engagement Report

AI has proved it’s here to stay. In 2023, advancements in predictive and generative AI (hello, ChatGPT) carved a clear path for intelligent customer engagement. Now, brands can ditch the age-old method of one-to-many personalization and deliver unique experiences for every single customer. To understand how brands are adopting AI to offer fully connected experiences — and how customers are responding — we surveyed business leaders and consumers from across the world. 


Opt-Outs Are In: North America Leads The World In This Behavior

North America remained the leading setting for email opt-outs last year, with the U.S. accounting for 76.42% of all opt-outs worldwide, according to a new report from Optizmo Technologies. Yet the total for North America slipped to 79.29%, falling below 80% for the first time as Europe increased to 16.24%. Europe also contributed to a global hike in opt-out activity.


Brands Are Still Investing Big In Sponsored Content On Social Media

U.S. marketers will spend $8.14 million on social media sponsored content this year, marking 16.0% growth YoY, according to our March 2024 forecast. Although spend will rise next year to $9.29 billion, growth is slowing, as marketers spend more carefully with larger creators with whom they can establish long-term relationships.

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The Media Minute 5.8.24

Journalism In The Gen AI Era: The Help Newsrooms Get — And Want To Get — From AI

This year’s Pulitzer Prize winners were announced this week. And while we hope to find out more details and use-specifics about the handful of finalists in the journalism category who utilized AI in their entries — either for the researching, reporting, or telling of their submissions, as they were required to disclose — the fact that newsrooms are already using the tool is a solid sign that the technology’s capabilities are a help worthy of the hype.


The Use Of AI To Advance Personalization In 2024

The fusion of marketing personalization and AI offers unprecedented opportunities for small and large organizations. It enables them to tailor their marketing strategies to individual preferences at scale, fostering deeper customer engagement and loyalty while driving enhanced ROI and more impactful brand experience. But how are marketing professionals using AI to impact the effectiveness of personalization in the coming year? 


Software In, Software Out: The Email Systems Most Likely To Be Replaced

Marketing automation software was switched more than other systems last year, judging by Email Marketing Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide, a study from MarTech. Among the email marketers polled, 24% changed their automation software, roughly the same as the prior two years. In addition, 17% changed their CRM program last year and the same percentage took on a new data management platform/customer data platform.


Marketing Trends For A New Era

Increased performance expectations, a fast-moving market, and the need for better insights is creating a pressure cooker for marketers. 73% of marketers expect to face more competition in 2024, a 19 point increase over last year. Three quarters (72%) of marketers say the market will move at a faster pace this year; this is even more true for marketers at larger companies with 1000+ customers vs. smaller companies with less than 1000 employees (84% vs. 63%).

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The Media Minute 5.1.24

Stay Of Cookie Execution: Google Postpones Cookie Deprecation Again

Late last week, Alphabet released its Q1 2024 earnings, and amid announcements that it will be paying a dividend to shareholders for the first time and authorizing a $70 billion share buyback — and the subsequent response of investors “eating it up” and lifting Google’s parent company to a $2 trillion market cap — the Google news I was most taken aback by was the further delay of a full phase-out of third-party cookies.


Study Reveals The Untapped Potential of First-Party Behavioral Data In Customer Engagement Strategies

Acoustic’s commissioned study finds 75% of marketers say collecting real-time experience data is critical to the business, but less than half are currently collecting this data.


Perplexity Referrals To Brand Sites Growing, Data Shows

BrightEdge’s analysis shows referrals from Perplexity, an AI-driven “ask” engine, to brand sites are growing at nearly 40% month-over-month since January. It presents the first evidence that Perplexity is not used solely for generative content, but also as a search engine that refers users to sites through citations.


2024 Creative Digital Marketing Study Reveals Disruptive Industry Changes

Marketers who add creative assets to their content are seeing increased results. 92.2% of survey respondents this year stated that they integrated images, videos, and other creative assets into their content, which is a big increase from last year. In our 2023 SEO industry study, only 74% of marketers mentioned using creative assets — including images and video — in their content. In addition, 74.3% of respondents revealed a boost in search engine results page (SERP) rankings for content featuring creative assets.

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The Media Minute 4.24.24

Breaking The News: Google Removing News Links In Response To California’s CJPA

As California’s Senate Judiciary Committee waits to hear the Assembly-passed California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), Google has taken a preemptive — and some say “undemocratic” — measure to remove links to news sites in the state.

Google is calling it a “short-term test for a small percentage of California users,” enacted to see what impact the pending legislation would have on the search engine and its product experience. 

Echoing Meta’s threats before it, Google’s step is founded on the belief that the CJPA would benefit larger media conglomerates more than small publishers. CJPA bill author and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks called Meta’s threats a “scare tactic” at the time, and the criticisms of Google’s actual link-removal late last week show the tactic is striking no fear within media circles.


Recurly Data Signals Sustained Growth In Digital Media Subscriptions Since 2020

After streaming media subscriptions skyrocketed in 2020 as consumer behavior shifted dramatically during a global pandemic, the industry is normalizing with sustained and steady growth, according to new benchmarking data from Recurly. … The digital media and entertainment industry experienced a 124% increase in subscribers since 2020, and the digital publishing industry saw an explosive 536% increase in subscribers over the same time period.


Data Problems Get In The Way Of GenAI

A surprising 93% of retailers are using AI for some kind of personalization, including personalized email copy and product recommendations, according to Retail Roadblock: Lack of Data Strategy Stands in the Way Of Generative AI Progress. But data problems are holding retailers back. For instance, only 17% have a complete single view of their customers. And 49% are in the earliest stages of building or considering the creation of a complete customer data profile.


State Of Cross-Channel Marketing For 2024

On average, B2C marketers use at least five marketing channels to engage with their customers. 57% of marketers say finding new customers is a key focus area for them in 2024, followed by increasing engagement and loyalty (44.9%). Budget and resource constraints are a top challenge for 45.4% of marketers in driving customer engagement, followed by providing personalized experiences (39.5%).

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The Media Minute 4.17.24

Publishers Planning Ahead: Data Collection In A Cookieless Future

A new study has more than three-quarters of publishers taking a cookieless future seriously and investing in first-party data solutions.

“According to research from customer data platform BlueConic, conducted in partnership with WBR Insights, which surveyed 100 senior revenue leaders from across the media industry, 78% of publishers are prioritizing first-party data to address cookie deprecation,” reports Performance Marketing World, with data-collection technologies like customer data platforms and data warehouses as part of those investments.

Additionally, 66% were investing in alternative ID providers as a cookie replacement, 60% in data clean rooms for second-party audiences, and 51% in Google Privacy Sandbox.


Generative AI Races Toward $1.3 Trillion In Revenue By 2032

Generative AI is poised to be a $1.3 trillion market by 2032 as it boosts sales for the tech industry’s hardware, software, services, ads and gaming segments at a compound annual rate of roughly 43%, according to our proprietary market-sizing model. Meta, Nvidia, Microsoft, Alphabet and stand to be at the center of training for large language models.


New Research Reveals Critical Insights on Craft of Customer Engagement and How that Helps 85% of Top Brands Surpass their Revenue Goals

Nearly all surveyed marketers (99%) are using AI in some capacity and are interested in further exploring its full potential. However, research found that marketers are also struggling with many areas where AI can help, particularly when it comes to creativity and strategy.


Selling Loyalty: Email Most Popular Channel, Social Second

Consumers cherish loyalty programs, and they like the personalized emails that promote them. But many receive too many irrelevant messages, judging by the 2024 Consumer Trends Index study from Marigold, which was conducted in conjunction with Econsultancy. Of the U.S. shoppers polled, 78% will pay more to buy from the brands they are loyal to, up from 72% in the prior year. Email outperforms social media, but just barely.

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The Media Minute 4.10.24

AI Acquisition: Yahoo Enters AI Era With Purchase Of News App Artifact

Last year, we profiled Artifact, an AI-driven personalized news feed that intrigued us as a potential Twitter-alternative. 

“Its machine-learning systems will be primarily optimized to measure how long you spend reading about various subjects — as opposed to … what generates the most clicks and comments — in an effort to reward more deeply engaging material,” The Verge’s Casey Newton wrote at the time.

Earlier this year, it appeared Artifact’s time was up before it had a real chance to flourish as the founders announced it was being shuttered. Cut to last week, when it was announced that Yahoo of all tech-players would be acquiring the company and providing that investment.


Marketplaces Lose Share In Places Where U.S. Shoppers Start Their Shopping Journeys

40.4% of U.S. shoppers started their shopping journeys in marketplaces in 2023, down from 51.5% in 2022, according to a February 2024 report from Attest. Over the same period, use of search engines, brand websites, social media, and voice assistants all increased.


Wieser Revises ’24 Upward, Again

Citing improvements in the U.S. economy, ad industry economist Brian Wieser revised his ad outlook up for the second time since first benchmarking his estimate in September 2023. Wieser now projects the U.S. ad economy will expand 5.6% this year — up from the 4.3% he originally projected in September 2023, and up from 5.2% in his last upward revision in November 2023.


The State of Marketing Automation 2024

28% (an increase of 3% from last year) of marketing professionals surveyed feel that their current marketing automation strategy is best-in-class in supporting their efforts to achieve marketing objectives. 69% of those surveyed feel they see some success from the automation they have in place, and only 3% report that automation is unsuccessful. There is no debate about whether automation is successful; the only question is the best strategy to implement to make it even more successful.

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The Media Minute 4.3.24

Finding Your Audience: Content Strategies For 2024 And Beyond

If you’ve followed the Magazine Manager blog at all (or seen our software’s recent updates), you’ll know that marketers embracing AI more and more to meet their needs is an interest of mine, justified by ever-increasing usage metrics in each ensuing study. 

But last month, in discussing the growing demands marketers face to create content, I referenced a specific Neil Patel webinar which deemed that in a climate where “relying on AI to produce your content is a recipe for mediocrity,” content was no longer king. Rather, the webinar says, it’s amazing content that’s increasingly important.

“Relying on” is one extreme on the utilization-spectrum, just as content-production with little-to-no human involvement is extreme in its own right. Unfortunately, in the context of the demands put upon marketers, those extremes aren’t necessarily rare either.


The Human Side Of Generative AI: Creating A Path To Productivity

The number of employees who use generative AI is expected to soar, freeing many to focus on higher-level cognitive work. Can organizations use this moment to make jobs more people centric?


Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spend Will Grow Three Times As Fast As Nonprogrammatic In 2024

This year, US programmatic digital display ad spend will increase 15.9% YoY, growing three times the rate of nonprogrammatic digital display ad spend. … More than 9 in 10 digital display ad dollars will be spent programmatically this year, per our forecast.


Demystifying The Data Layer

In a period defined by increasing privacy regulation, a rapid shift toward digital-centric performance media consumption, and the evolution of technology driven by machine learning and generative AI, the marketing and advertising technology solution stack is undergoing a profound transformation. Central to this transformation is the imperative of establishing a robust data foundation, or data layer, correctly integrated with an architecture designed to enable a myriad of data-driven use cases that represent marketers’ diverse needs for insights, activation, optimization and measurement.

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The Media Minute 3.27.24

On The Record: AI And Its Newsroom Potential

Last year, a survey of newsrooms and publishers found that more than three-quarters of news organizations were using AI in “at least one of the areas across the news value chain of news gathering, production, and distribution.”

It’s a somewhat broad categorization, but even if matters of production and distribution were carrying more of the weight than news-gathering here, the survey was still a fascinating, important look because the more publishers see how they can utilize AI for those purposes — as well as marketing and advertising and other automatable productivity tasks — the better the organization as a whole can operate. 

Last month, the Columbia Journalism Review released a study of 35 news organizations in which it found “many of the most beneficial applications of AI in news are relatively mundane,” with dynamic paywalls, transcribing, and “data analysis tools in news production” given as examples.


Global Ad, Marketing Spend To Rise 7.7% In 2024

With recessionary and inflation concerns in the rear-view mirror for the most part, global advertising and marketing spend is set to rise 7.7% to $1.76 trillion in 2024, according to PQ Media. A year ago, in 2023, there was a 4.4% increase in global advertising and marketing spending over 2022 to $1.63 trillion.


Programmatic Cookie Alternative Trends Report

In contrast to the restraint we saw from marketers during the fourth quarter of 2022, the 33Across Exchange had considerable growth in Q4 2023. On average, advertisers grew their cookie alternative investment quarter-over-quarter (QOQ) by 13% in Q4, increasing their cookie alternative share of voice (SOV) by an average of 9%.


A Diversity Report for the Advertising/Marketing Industry

The report reveals that ethnic diversity of the advertising/marketing industry took a step backwards in 2023. The overall ethnic skew declined from 32.3 percent in 2022 to 30.8 percent in 2023 and is significantly below the 42.2 percent ethnic diversity of the U.S. population. Meanwhile, representation of women in the industry overall and in leadership positions continues to be strong.

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