There is no doubt that in order to stay ahead of the game advertisers are increasingly embracing digital mediums. Newspaper owners are defining their businesses as content industries and are packaging this content in various formats, print and omni-channel digital offerings that repurpose for the platform, whether that be cellphone, tablet or PC.
This is wonderful for the consumer, to have the versatility and convenience of being able to read their newspaper in whatever format suits them best. However it makes the media planner’s life that little bit more complex (albeit interesting) than it already is. There is an increasing myriad of digital advertising options that the strategist can weave into the media mix, to give the brand owner optimum exposure. Digital advertising offerings are still not being utilised to their full potential and one of the main reasons for this is that the complexities of digital advertising options and measurement are not always completely understood.
Ads24 have set up a series of countrywide digital workshops to bridge this knowledge gap so that their clients have a better understanding of what they can in turn offer their clients. The extension of the phase one workshop was held in Johannesburg recently and Di Charton, MD of Red and Yellow, Alan Morrissey, Country MD of Effective Measure and Lyndi Lawson-Smith, head of Quirk Education shared their expertise with participants.
Mike van Eck, digital business manager at Ads24 and head of measurement at the Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA), opened the proceedings saying, “The number of internet users in South Africa grew by two million in the past year.” There are more than 14 million South African internet users and if growth continues at this rate the market that can be targeted through digital advertising will soon become inclusive of the majority of the population. If online usage keeps growing at the same rate, more than half of South Africa’s adults will be internet users by 2014, so it is imperative that media agencies are fluent in the language of digital advertising by the time this happens.
Lawson-Smith provided an overview of the digital landscape in South Africa, initially quoting Bud Cadell explaining what is so attractive and unique about digital advertising, “Digital is a participatory layer of all media that allows users to self-select their own experiences, and affords marketers the ability to bridge media, gain feedback, iterate their message and collect relationships.”
She explained that the Internet has changed people and the way in which they do a multitude of everyday things, from searching for information to communicating with their friends, making decisions, studying and shopping. It has also changed the way in which consumers communicate with brands. Instead of the broadcast messages of yesteryear, there communication is now a two way street; a revolution that has been magnified with the mass adoption of social media. She went on to discuss the need for a shift in marketers’ mindsets which has to evolve in line with consumer behavior as well as the need to track and measure this behavior using the data and tools to which digital grants us access.
She also provided a brief overview of the average South African Internet user and elaborated on the need for marketers and advertisers to have a clear and realistic idea of who is reachable via digital channels, rather than relying on assumptions.
Lawson-Smith noted that globally, we are in the post-digital era, highlighting that digital marketing cannot be separated from traditional marketing and that while the specific channels may be different, marketing best practice still applies. Emphasising the need for strategic integration, she quoted David Cooperstein (Forbes.com), “What the post-digital world recognises is that digital is now fundamental, not experimental, and that the art of the digital era is rapidly making its way toward that of traditional campaigns and marketing efforts. We are entering a world where digital innovation is merging with traditional marketing fundamentals to create new approaches, new brand leaders, and new models for success.”
Charton said that we have entered the age of the customer where buyers have become empowered by the amount of information that they have at their disposal. She explained the emergence of the social web, “Websites as we know them will be reborn, social integration will result in new forms of context emerging and the static web will be changed forever.”
Charton identified seven elements of digital marketing that media agencies need to have a firm grasp of: premium networks, content-contextual-behavioural, media-audience, remarketing, integration, attribution modeling and goals. She explained that the space between the marketers and publishers, who stand before the customers, has become increasingly complex and crowded.
“News is becoming a shared social experience, with people swapping links in emails, posting on social networks, ‘retweeting’ news stories and haggling over the meaning of events in discussion threads,” shared Charton from the PEW internet and American Life project that was conducted as far back as 2010. The Adobe Key Digital trends for 2013 concluded that, “Inspired content and informed algorithms hold the keys for success in 2013.”
Morrissey elaborated on the global coverage of Effective Measure over 37 countries, there are 850 million unique browsers (please note this does not equate to people) and 27 billion page impressions per month. Effective Measure is accredited and audited by ABC UK for Industry standard page tagging data collection and complies with the global ICC/ESOMAR code for survey solicitation and demographic data collection. Effective Measure provides the demographics of the users to websites not just the traffic levels. They also have offerings for brands, networks, agencies, publishers and researchers. Campaigns can now be measured and analysed for effectiveness via cookies and tools like Effective Measure, so brands can understand how their money was spent.
He identified some ways to measure online:
•Site-centric (Actual/Counting) – page tagging so actual traffic figures are collated. Issue – not all sites are tagged or will allow 3rd party tagging hence the whole market is not captured.
•User-centric (Sample/Asking) – panel data collected via plugins and surveys gives you demographics but sometime does not represent the long tail effectively.
•Network-centric (Sample) – collating user registration and usage data from ISP’s e.g. Experian Hitwise.
•Hybrid – combines the quantitative and qualitative of the three above to get the best of both worlds – this is the method Effective Measure use.
Morrissey elaborated on the difference between web analytics and audience measurement and explained the key metrics used for audience measurement listed below:
•Reach – Unique Browsers (aka Unique Visitors)
•Volume – Page Impressions (aka Page Views)
•Frequency – Visits (30 min period)
•Engagement – Visit Duration, Page Duration (aka Sessions), AV Plays
•CPM (Cost per Thousand), CPA (Cost per Acquisition), CPC (Cost per Click) & CTR (Click-through Rate)
•Future – ‘People’, Viewable Impressions & eGPR’s