Ad Industry Story of The Week

UK advertising expenditure is on a surprising upswing, exceeding expectations by growing 6.4% to £37bn in 2023, according to the Advertising Association and WARC. The unexpected boost is driven by a 15.9% surge in the third quarter, marking the first time Q3 spending surpassed £9bn. The positive trend is echoed by a 26% upward revision in marketing budgets reported in Q4 2023. Despite disparities among channels, overall optimism prevails for 2024, with events like Men’s UEFA Euros, a potential general election, and Olympics coverage contributing to projected growth.

VOD Story of The Week

Netflix's ad-supported tier gains momentum with 70% quarter-over-quarter growth in Q4, adding 8 million monthly active users for a total of 23 million MAUs. Co-CEO Greg Peters considered an ad-supported default but opted against it. Despite competition, Netflix focuses on scaling and tech sophistication in advertising, introducing binge sponsorships. The streaming giant, with Q4 revenue of £6.9 billion, aims to attract subscribers through competitive pricing amid rising connected TV spending.

AI Story of The Week

Google launches conversational AI in search ads through its Gemini AI model, allowing advertisers to effortlessly generate high-quality ad content, including creative and keywords, from a website URL. Advertisers in early tests report increased Ad Strength scores, indicating improved relevance and quality with less effort. Small businesses using this experience are 42% more likely to publish search campaigns with good or excellent Ad Strength. Google plans to enhance the feature by suggesting images using generative AI, aiming to capitalise on the growing interest in generative AI in advertising.