Media Matters: Top 5 Trends in Digital Media


It would be an understatement to say that automobiles have changed since Ford first released the Model T more than a century ago.

Just as a 2023 Ford F-150 shares little more than four wheels with its long-lost ancestor, today’s media environment is almost unrecognizable from that of a decade ago.

Digital Media is The Media

With the rise of digital media, TV, radio, and print have become “traditional”, “legacy,” or “linear” media. In 2010, 81% of media consumers used these traditional channels. By 2019, digital media gained a 51% share of the media market, overtaking traditional media channels for the first time.

It’s been estimated that by 2024, digital media will make up more than two-thirds of all media consumed.

The swift shift toward digital media is a result of new technology and the new ways we use it to access news, information, and entertainment.

Telephones used to be used exclusively for talking, and then texting came along. Now 91% of people use connected smartphones. TVs were once limited to broadcast, cable, satellite, or recorded programming but today 67% of TVs can stream content.

Advertising follows media usage, and as digital media becomes standard, advertising strategies must evolve to stay relevant.

In 2010, less than 20% of media budgets were spent on digital. By 2024, digital will have swapped places with traditional media and make up nearly 80% of all advertising sold, according to Insider Intelligence.

Digital media is here to stay. The question every organization should be asking today is, “How do we take advantage of digital channels to best reach our target audiences with our key messages?”

There is no silver-bullet solution for navigating the ever-changing world of media. However, understanding the following five trends might help you see around a few corners.

The Top 5 Trends in Media

Digital Data Targeting

Third-party targeting is going away due to privacy concerns and new government regulations, primarily in the United States and Europe. First-party data – data that organizations gather directly from audiences as opposed to purchasing from aggregators (e.g., social media platforms) – is taking its place. Gathering first-party data was the chief priority of marketing executives in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence. It will continue to be a priority for the foreseeable future.

Contextual Targeting

The second priority of marketing executives for 2022 was contextual advertising. Contextual targeting is when advertising is placed in the context of content relevant to what is being advertised (e.g., a tourism ad placed adjacent to an article featuring top travel destinations). As of March 2023, U.S. marketers had increased their allocation of contextual advertising by 54% over 2022.

Programmatic Media Buying

Most digital media bought today is purchased by AI programs, not human beings. Humans still manage the process, but programmatic media buying is more efficient and allows for more precise, data-driven buys and real-time tracking and optimization.

Streaming TV

Many consumers have traded antennas and cable boxes for smart TVs and mobile devices. Streaming TV – TV shows, films, sports, and other programming available on any connected screen – has taken over as a primary avenue for digital video.

AI & Machine Learning

Programmatic media buying is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways that AI and machine learning will impact the media industry. These technologies will provide consumers with new ways of finding and experiencing content and content producers with new tools for creating content.

Brian Kratkiewicz is Senior Vice President and Director of Media Innovation at CJRW. For more industry tips or to find out how CJRW can help your organization achieve its communications and marketing goals, visit

Industry Tip

Third-party data, the bread and butter of many organizations for more than a decade, is going away. Over the next few years, it will be replaced by first-party data – data gathered directly by organizations rather than purchased through aggregators. Invest the time and effort in developing first-party data funnels now to be better prepared for the future.