Three digital media experts give their opinions on what’s on the radar for digital in 2017. There is a new sheriff in town, and his name is ‘reality’. A rise in demand for quality inventory. Creating next gen digital natives.
There is a new sheriff in town, and his name is ‘reality’
Social media continued to dominate the digital waves and the South African audience that is using mobile to access and engage on social media, increased steadily. As audiences grow tired of the curated social experience – bored with impeccable photos of everyone having a perfect life, or brands using social as an extension of their advertising “perfect world view” – there was a move towards a greater desire for REALITY in social media.
The way that the content is shared is also now different: Traditionally the user stops what he is doing to create the social content, thereby being removed from the experience instead of remaining within the moment and sharing automatically. Then there is the putting on of filters, scrutinising content, reviewing before posting perfection. Too time consuming, so 2016 saw a huge shift towards what we call, ‘real time’ media.
The social media newsfeed is also changing shape and the infinite scroll is no longer the alpha and the omega of mobile reading patterns. New interfaces are emerging where users choose what content they wish to consume. Just as marketers and brands were getting the hang of things on social media, the rules have changed and our approach is now considered “traditional social marketing”. So quickly does the tide turn in the fickle sociosphere. There is a new sheriff in town, and his name is reality. And what better way to capture reality than through video where we have nuance, images, gesture, movement, sound all rolled into one.
So in 2017, focus on creating ephemeral content that tells your brand story in a completely different way. The content lives only for a very short time, is not archived in a content hub and in general, simply feels more truthful. The impact of video is powerful in the moment – but if it is strong or real enough, it will live on in the minds and memory or subconscious of the observer who experiences it. ‘Real’ content is the right thing to do for the Millennial market (and its parents) because it demonstrates that your brand is a living, breathing thing.
A rise in demand for quality inventory
In 2016, Adexchanges have helped to clean up the aftermath of ad networks and added transparency will reduce the volume of bad advertising, with RTB affording real-time value attribution. Programmatic will continue to enhance targeting and reduce wastage. Adblockers (not so much in SA as in US and Europe) have reduced inventory supply.
Print advertising budgets (and even TV in some markets) have been reduced and moved to digital, bolstering demand for high value, high impact inventory. Publishers have had to focus on digital yield and ARPU (average revenue per user) management. Some moving to ad-free subscription models, further reducing inventory supply. Efficacy of advertising in social media streams continues to be questioned, with budgets moved to more ‘traditional’ digital publications. All of the above will see a rise in demand for quality inventory, which will drive price points up.
We’ve seen mobile consumption surpass desktop in 2016, but in 2017 mobile will completely outpace its deskbound brother. Increased user connectivity, reduced data pricing, significant increase in free wi-fi, more affordable smart mobile devices and improved App experiences are all contributing to the rise and domination of mobile devices. Fierce competition between device manufacturers and fibre access providers and for the App attention economy are drivers of the mobile phenomenon.
To attract and retain digital audiences in a heavily fragmented environment with zero barriers to move from one content source to another, quality content is key.
In an attention economy, underpinned by data, user engagement, at scale, is critical to both publisher and advertiser. In this equation UX is key and I believe much more focus will be placed on ensuring UX is prioritised as a business discipline for publishers to attract and retain audiences, but also for advertisers to understand user journeys, conversion paths and managing drop-offs on audiences acquired.
Overall, I believe we’ll see a significant upswing in advertising budget allocation to digital in 2017 at the expense of traditional media. Audiences have moved on and it seems more marketers are following.
Gustav Goosen is CEO of The SpaceStation
Creating next gen digital natives
March 2016 saw the launch of the Transformation Council at the IAB Digital Summit. My personal passion, giving the next generation of deserving young South Africans the desire and opportunity to embrace digital, is possible because of this Council’s promise to ensure that transformation is taking place via recruitment, staff retention, work environment and career development.
Adblocking is on the rise internationally. In SA, despite still having (too) high data costs, we are fortunate that we have not yet reached that tipping point with our consumers. While our publisher members face the challenge of dwindling circulations in print, we can still win back consumer trust by adopting IAB’s LEAN principles: Lightweight (limited file sizes, strict data guidelines, reduced lag time, lower data costs), Encrypted (assure user security, ad compliancy), Ad Choice supported (personal relevance, privacy) and Non-invasive (ads that supplement not disrupt e.g. audio off!). If we get this right, we can stem the tide of adblocking by giving consumers a seamless, non-disruptive online experience.
Our biggest challenge, mirrors our raison d’être: To increase knowledge, trust and ultimately ad spend in digital. PwC collaborates with the IAB globally to afford a view of total market size and changes in digital ad spend, using similar criteria, across regions. IAB SA sponsors PwC’s annual South Africa ad spend study, which reports a steady growth despite global industry players not participating. We are confident, that with continued buy side support (supplying their numbers confidentially to PwC) we will see that figures grow significantly, in line with global trends, especially as smartphone penetration increases YOY.
Josephine Buys is the CEO of the IAB SA, the non-profit, digital media and marketers association, run largely on the voluntary time and expertise of almost 100 industry luminaries across 10 councils.