Digital is here to stay but it is not all right to focus solely on it, according to Carat SA’s latest research. Traditional media solutions such as television and radio are gaining a new lease on life, as advertisers increasingly incorporate digital components to achieve greater engagement and interaction with consumers, says Erica Gunning, former MD of media agency Carat SA, who this month took over as MD of the MEC Group.
“We have been observing the growth in digital integration in traditional media, and the trend was solidly backed up by findings of the 2011 Carat Consumer Connection study,” Gunning explains.
The South African Consumer Connection System (CCS) survey, conducted for the second year by media agency Carat SA, is a globally recognised tool which assists marketing and media managers to understand consumers’ interaction with different media channels.
Some of the findings of this year’s survey showed that:
• DStv growth of PVR households meant 52% of respondents recorded programmes to watch in their own time;
• The younger generation was spending less time reading newspapers now compared to one to two years ago, while 8% of 18-24 year olds accessed news on their mobile phones and 12% on an internet website; and
• In LSM 5-8, almost half of the respondents claimed it was critical for them to be able to connect to the Internet on their mobile phones to access information.
Gunning says the digital revolution manifested in multiple advancements, including across and within platforms.
“Take for instance the television experience, which is continuously improving with digital development and integration. The growth of emerging television technologies such as 3DTV and Internet connected TV will continue to fuel the improved user experience and engagement,” she says.
And contrary to conventional wisdom, the consumption of video through internet was not replacing television consumption.
“In fact, the entire category is growing, with so-called screen mentality extending. This can be witnessed as television viewers turn to their mobile phones during ad breaks, or even during lulls in action on the primary device of engagement, be it television or radio.”
Gunning says that video content has moved to a downtime priority as consumers viewed it as a “catching-up” device. “With the increase of PVR households driven by ‘must see content’, delayed television viewing is growing,” she says.
Gunning says that most agencies still focused primarily on attracting consumers via traditional media spaces. Few focused on obtaining more and better results by actively seeking digital integration opportunities.
“Clients must however embrace the ‘always on’ mindset of consumers, and ensure their cross-platform visibility and relevance in a variety of media spaces,” she says. “Integration of digital and traditional media spaces is the only way to effectively reach the ‘connected’ consumer beyond just bought media spaces.”
Gunning believes that clients should be confident that their media and digital agency partners:
• Understand consumers’ media usage journey throughout the day, which will aid in the development and design of 360-degree campaigns
• Are able to develop and implement cross-platform behaviour-based strategies that recognise that media and content unite around social media
• Can create ‘conversations’ with consumers to convert them into relationships with brands
• Can apply a multi-screen strategy approach, allowing for more depth in communication and dialogue.
“Media agencies must evolve along with the fast-paced evolution of consumer engagement with multiple platforms intergration,” says Gunning.
“While a focus on traditional media remains relevant, agencies have to be able to think laterally and across disciplines, and apply their knowledge of consumer behaviour to the full potential of a client’s brand.”