Advertising thought leaders offer glimpses into 5 key trends

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


In this week’s Advertising Initiative newsletter, I did a deep dive on what three thought leaders in the advertising industry — MAGNADeloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT), and WARC (World Advertising Research Center) — are saying about 2023.

It seems to me that despite the differing angles of the three companies I highlighted, there are some common themes around what we can expect in news media in the coming year:

Subscriptions: a new structure?

We are moving into an era of ad-funded subs — especially as the cost-of-living crisis bites hard in many areas. The likes of Netflix lost many subscribers in 2022 and led the way in saying that a series of subscriptions will follow, some cheaper (with ads included) some more premium offerings (with no ads). The choice will lie with the customer.

Are you considering this, too? 

The one thing I have some issue with here is what value we place on our advertiser’s money. It’s something I have wrestled with for years. If we in effect say to our advertisers that we really value them — and then in effect dismiss their contributions if a customer decides to spend a little more money to eliminate their ads — what message does that give? It seems we need to be careful in how we approach and package this very sensitive area.

Video strategies

It is highlighted by the three ad giants above in differing guises that video advertising will come to the fore now. And we need to, if we haven’t already, start to have a video strategy as part of our ongoing quest to find new revenue streams. Remember, digital video advertising will increase by 11% in 2023 and represents the second fastest growth rate of all digital formats.

Search vs. AI 

We hear search is recession proof. But how will that shape up alongside AI and market developments? 

I think it is interesting to look at this in the context of the various AI platforms now being developed around the globe and pontificate how they may influence this year. Will they computer with Google search for instance?  

Experts say search is recession proof, but how will ChatGPT and its peers affect it?
Experts say search is recession proof, but how will ChatGPT and its peers affect it?

Here’s what you get, for example, when asking AI platform ChatGPT if it will be competition to Google: 

ChatGPT is a powerful language processing model developed by OpenAI, which can generate human-like text in response to prompts. It has a wide range of possible uses, such as in chatbots, automated writing, and other natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, it’s not designed or intended to compete with Google. Google’s search engine is a web-based tool that crawls, indexes, and searches the internet for information, while GPT is mainly focused on Natural Language Processing Tasks. GPT can be used in different ways, for example to generate summaries, article, automate customer service, and more, Google on the other hand is a search engine that can search for information on the web. The two tools have different purpose and functions, and it would be unlikely for ChatGPT to compete with Google as such.

I have bolded above not one but two denials that AI and search will compete. The famous Shakespeare quote from Hamlet comes to mind — “the lady doth protesteth too much, me thinks” — when reading ChatGPT’s statement.

Interest-based communities 

Interest based audiences seems to come out as being important amongst the predictors. We shouldn’t be surprised either. Programmatic advertising allows for audiences to be diced and sliced in many ways, and the realisation that cross cooperation between media companies can be a good thing after all is becoming increasingly adopted.

I am thinking about the Ozone Project in the UK being just one example. Expect more collaboration and more smart targeting of audiences in the future as we seek to provide a more personalised service to our advertisers.


Media companies are expecting to continue with their sustainability objectives despite the economic situation. There is a belief that it doesn’t need to lead to cost/price increases to continue with the start they made in 2022.

Many are adopting sustainability as a competitive advantage. Sustainability is commonly described as having three dimensions/pillars: environmental, economic, and social. And in everyday use, sustainability is often focused on countering major environmental problems such as climate change. 

We can’t afford to ignore it as a publisher, consumer, nor as a community champion in the market we serve. Expect more advertising focus around sustainability in 2023.

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About Mark Challinor

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