Many South African advertisers are focusing most of their online spending on a handful of major publishers and portals, in the process missing out on opportunities to make buys with niche vertical publishers work for their businesses.
The South African online media landscape has grown into a vibrant and diverse space that stretches far beyond the large publishing groups where most media buyers look for the bulk of their online advertising needs.
Today, there is a staggering number of publishers in a range of vertical markets, from entertainment to technology, from cars to cooking. This is easily confirmed by looking at just how many sites you’ll find in each category of Nielsen Market Intelligence or Effective Measure, which don’t even cover every publisher in the market. But many of these sites – despite attracting lucrative niche audiences – struggle to draw much advertising, at scale.
Effective Measure, the traffic measurement partner of South Africa’s Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA), tracks their 115 publishers representing 633 sites in South Africa. The top 30 publishers ranked by the number of sites they have listed make up 81% of the sites listed in Effective Measure.
The remaining 85 publishers make up 19% of the sites in Effective Measure with 117 sites – an average of 1.3 sites per publisher. This reflects incredible depth in the selection of vertical niche sites in South Africa, though advertising in most categories is dominated by the top sites, which in turn are often owned by the major publishers.
The reason for this is that most media buyers do not have the time and resources to contact, vet and negotiate with multiple sites to find the ones that are credible alternatives to the properties they already know well and advertise with. Many of them have terrific yields and have deeply engaged and loyal audiences, so they are great platforms for the right advertisers, he adds.
We know that many niche publishers are not running in the black. Given this, they can’t justify the costs of registering with industry bodies like the DMMA. This results in them struggling to get themselves listed in the likes of Effective Measure. That means they struggle to get meetings with the bigger media buyers, who ‘book’ off Effective Measure.
This is one of the opportunities that Kagiso wanted to address with the launch of the AdFu Premium Network, launched last year. Our goal is to help niche publishers to get representation in front of bigger buyers.
By aggregating niche titles in verticals, we bring them to agency buyers as a single easy buy. This means we can offer our clients highly targeted buys, but with access to a mass audience. And for publishers of vertical sites, we offer access to buyers, technology and membership to associations such as the DMMA.
This approach offers the best of two worlds – targeted buys with highly engaged audiences and mass reach – while creating new opportunities for small vertical sites without the sales resources to maximise sales of their inventories.
With fragmentation and complexity growing in the digital marketing and publishing environment, we need new models of intermediation to bring buyers and sellers of advertising space together for their mutual benefit. AdFu answers to this need by offering advertisers and agencies a more competitive, efficient and credible way of reaching the online audiences they want to address while giving publishers ways to more effectively monetise their inventory.
Attila Bernariusz is divisional head of Kagiso Digital, overseeing the incubation of new digital and media convergence opportunities for the Kagiso Group.