With tough economic times having been with us for quite a few years, and with things likely remaining tough for the foreseeable future, advertisers need to ensure that their advertising works as hard as it can.
As an advertising person running his own agency, and having been in the advertising industry 29 years, I am often asked called into brainstorming marketing sessions and asked for my thoughts as to an “advertising way forward”.
Whilst experience dictates that the building blocks must be present before going to market (read, logo, corporate identity and website in the case of start-up businesses), “gut feel” is often not enough to go on these days.
The media landscape is forever changing, and it’s changing faster than anyone could have imagined. So much so that even experienced advertising-types are battling to keep up. Whereas in the past one could look at a brief and think “TV advertising” or “Radio Advertising”, today, things are not as clear-cut.
Fortunately, there are now analytical tools, data, forecasts and research available that can remove much of the guesswork and help marketers arrive at better decisions. That said, the following excerpt from a Pricewaterhouse Coopers article throws up some interesting facts that may (or may not) reinforce your existing beliefs, or raise an eyebrow or two.
“Revenue generated through advertising will increase by R18 billion between 2013 and 2018, with the fastest-growing segment – online advertising – showing double-digit growth as a result of the substantial increase in Internet access over the period.
Online advertising’s anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7% will be driven by search and mobile advertising, with Google propelling the South African search market. This will grow digital to a 10% share of adspend by 2018.
Mobile advertising will be driven by an increase in smartphone penetration and the increasing number of South Africans who are becoming mobile internet subscribers is forecast to rise from 15 million in 2013 to 35.2 million in 2018.
Display advertising will grow at a CAGR of 18.8%, driven principally by the second most visited site, Facebook, while video advertising will grow substantially from a low base of R2 million in 2013 to R9 million in 2018, as broadband speeds gradually improve and internet access widens.
The second-fastest growing advertising segment is video gaming, albeit from a low base of R29 million which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% to reach R60 million in 2018. This growth will be inextricably linked to the number of video gamers who play online, as video game advertising’s main asset is its ability to target users based on their playing behaviour while online.
Radio advertising, the third-fastest growing segment, will enjoy a healthy CAGR of 8.2% thanks to radio still being widely consumed throughout South Africa.
TV advertising remains comfortably the largest South African advertising sector. It will grow at a CAGR of 6.8% over the forecast period, reaching a projected R18.4 billion in 2018. This growth will be driven by more competition and larger broadcasting audiences, as television continues to have the largest reach of any media format. A growing middle class with greater disposable income will lead to a rise in pay-TV households.
Magazine and newspaper total advertising revenues will show growth of 4.0% and 6.0% respectively, and in both cases, the advertising spend from printed editions will consume the overwhelming majority of total advertising revenues. Who said print was dead?
Printed newspaper advertising growth can be attributed to locally distributed, free newspapers which build strong connections between consumers and brands, while print magazine advertising will be driven by niche magazines covering topics like home improvement. Digital advertising in both instances is still in its infancy, but will see a double-digit CAGR over the forecast period.
OOH (Out of Home media) maintains its ground, with growth over five years forecast at 5.9%
A compound annual growth rate of 7% across all segments is a fortunate position to be in.
Despite dramatic growth of the Internet, traditional advertising media will prevail. The likes of television and radio revenues are still guaranteeing the kind of captive mass audiences that online cannot yet offer.
The tipping point from traditional media to digital media remains a long way off in South Africa, atleast in terms of revenue. Advertisers would do well to focus on the digital consumer, who may well have greater disposable income, but for the time-being, traditional media will constitute the majority of revenues”
Having read this, it’s clear that whilst online (digital) marketing is important in the media mix, it’s certainly not the only game in town: something I’ve believed for a long time. Conventional media, such as TV advertising, radio advertising, outdoor advertising and newspaper and magazine advertising are still big, and will be big for some time still.
In meetings with clients, I tend to find that the younger the client, the more adverse he or she is to advertising in “mainstream” media, whereas the older (and probably more conservative) the client, the more adverse he or she is to advertising online or participating in social media.
This is of course understandable. If you’re not on facebook or don’t “do” twitter, you’ll likely not want to advertise on them. And if you don’t watch TV, you’ll assume that not many others watch either. As a result, you’ll shun TV advertising.
This is of course problematic. As responsible marketers or advertisers, with responsibility for our brands, it requires of us, less subjectivity and more objectivity. By analysing data, by seeking out articles like the one above and by being guided by people who study media consumption for a living (rather than being swayed by our own personal perceptions and beliefs), we can do justice to our available marketing budgets and spend our advertising monies wisely.
What’s important is that we fish where the fish are. Not where we’d like them to be. We need to establish which media is consumed by our target markets, and when. Once we have a clear picture on this, we can then plan our advertising campaigns. Whilst gut-feel will always be important, gut-feel backed by research and armed with knowledge and foresight will serve you better.
By requesting the involvement of an experienced media strategist or media planner, you’ll be better positioned to see whether TV advertising might be more suitable than radio advertising. Whether outdoor advertising might be more cost-effective than newspaper or magazine advertising. Whether you should shun all of the aforementioned in favour of a digital marketing campaign. Or whether a multi-media campaign encompassing all media might be the optimal approach.
It’s all about arming yourself with knowledge, with a view to minimising risk and maximising the effectiveness of your next advertising campaign. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction if you like.