Research has revealed that online and mobile advertising is growing worldwide. According to a poll by Effie Worldwide and Mashable, over 70 percent of marketers plan to increase their social media budgets by more than 10 percent this year.
In South Africa, the Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA) recently commissioned an insight report into how digital advertising is developing in locals markets. In its report on trends in digital advertising in South Africa, it found that “overall, all interviewees in the digital industry felt strongly that Internet access will continue to improve in South Africa. They also believe that there are great business opportunities in the mobile space, given the high percentage of the population who own mobile devices”.
The report also said “digital players have a critical view of their own industry because currently they feel that the budgets could be bigger, and the level of spending could increase substantially”.
One of the biggest digital media agencies in South Africa is Lighthouse Digital. With clients such as FNB, SAB and Old Mutual, it offers full online services from media planning and buying, to tracking and analysis. TheMediaOnline caught up with managing director, Aaron van Schaik, to ask him a few questions about how he sees the state of play in South Africa, starting with web versus mobile, and what’s happening in that arena.
“Mobile advertising compliments online advertising and vice versa, mobile advertising has really gained momentum after years of being the ‘year of mobile. We are seeing the big networks move into this space in SA, which is a sure sign of this growth,” he says.
“It is important to note that when we talk about mobile advertising, we are talking about people using their phone as an online device. This audience is double than that of the online web audience, which illustrates how important it is.”
Like his international counterparts, Van Schaik says Facebook is the hot space to be right now. “In a huge way, the move to social media and the desire for brands to build communities means that Facebook advertising is the hot topic of the moment,” he says.
At the same time, getting clients to believe in digital advertising is still a battle. “All clients are now aware of its importance and realise that they can’t ignore it any longer. That said online makes up 3% of advertising spend in SA while the global figure is 16% so we still have a long way to go and a large part of that is ‘education’,” Van Schaik says.
Digital media, he says, “is the most cost effective, most measureable and most effective form of advertising available to brands. With the mix of: display, search, email, mobile, and social we can create amazingly diverse and effective advertising campaigns. ROI (return on investment) is the key to all digital advertising. This enables us to prove that what we do for our clients’ works”.
Talking about rich media, and the advent of tablet advertising, Van Schaik says the medium has “allowed creative agencies to be even more creative with their design, allowing users to interact with their work, which is really what differentiates digital work from offline work.
“This has just been launched in SA and we have taken it to the market with two clients but as the audience is still very small there is a great deal more growth required to really make this worthwhile,” he says.
So far, he adds, the pick up has been mostly by financial and telecommunications clients.
Talking about adoption by the DMMA of Effective Measure as the online publishing world’s traffic measurement partner, Van Schaik says: “There are a number of measures we’ve put in place with digital media and all are used together to create a clear picture. We have a diverse set of clients and find that we are very able to create this picture with the work we do.”
And yes, they have entered a number of clients into this year’s Bookmarks awards, taking place in Cape Town on November 10.