Members of the Interactive Bureau of Advertising South Africa’s council give their views on what’s in store for digital media in South Africa in 2017. Views compiled by Glenda Nevill
Digital campaigns to deliver returns
The IAB is very fortunate to have industry experts chairing the various councils that make it up – as well as very capable full-time leadership. We want the industry to grow to achieve the market share and revenue potential and forecasts projected in the latest PwC research – to the benefit of both agencies and South African publishers.
To achieve this, we need to provide world class professional development for IAB members and staff elevating the knowledge, skills and expertise across the entire industry, resulting in digital sales campaigns that consistently deliver results to the advertising agencies, and their clients. Publishers need to understand – in granular detail – their audience to increase the effectiveness of campaigns and returns.
We need to create world class ‘brand studios’ that deliver exceptional native content campaigns and solutions for the local publishers. Brands will finally be convinced that digital advertising has the ability to meet their expectations – either as brand builders or to increase sales.
The transformation of the industry is vital – across both agencies and media houses – to prevent push-down regulation across censorship of content, advertising standards and the diversity of our workforce.
Chris Borain, chairperson.
2017_SMARTer _ not harder
As we end a fast-paced and demanding 2016, 2017 will be the year of working SMARTer not harder – whether that’s setting S.M.A.R.T goals, having smarter meetings, using tools like Slack or Float or processes like Kaizen or Kanban to help our teams share, collaborate, integrate in ways that stop us wasting time on unimportant things, and rather choose to spend time focused on the things we care most about.
The very definition of SMART drives is where every day physical objects are connected to the internet and are able to identify themselves to other objects. The interconnection of these embedded devices, systems and services is expected to usher in automation of all fields. Automation in all things is a key driver. Marketing automation software, platforms or technology are designed for organisations to market more effectively on multiple online channels and automate repetitive tasks.
Alongside automation, AI is transforming how we interact and gain smart efficiencies – from speech recognition, messenger bots, and social VR. So let 2017 be the year we work smarter not harder, as long as ‘SMART’ doesn’t make us (humans) stupid.
Paula Hulley, vice chairperson.
New pressure on media to be measurable, accountable
With continued pressure on business and marketing budgets, as well as the current demand of doing more with less, we’ll see more marketers being truly accountable for their spend as well as their contribution to the business growth. Functions like performance marketing, CRM and other end of the funnel functions will play a more important role in each marketer’s portfolio.
Channel attribution will get more accurate, and marketers will be able to make better decisions on where, when and how to optimise budgets. This in turm will mean that media will come under new pressure to be measurable and accountable for performance as more and more brands move to a cost per acquisition model across more channels.
Brands will put customers first, from authentic storytelling to engaging one-on-one conversation across digital and social channels.
Anna Vaulina, head of marketing.
A conversation around tech and data
The conversation around tech and data in the media business, spilling over into the creative side of the business (see Celtra.com) is nothing short of prolific and this evolution is bringing about prodigious shifts in the way we buy media. We see marketers who want to own their own data across new channels bringing in big Data Management Platform players to help them make sense of it all and apply it to marketing strategies.
We are seeing the dramatic rise of the Private Marketplace Place, Deal IDs and transparency into inventory that is being demanded by marketers. This move is pushing trade desk rockstars into a new position in the agencies as they become embedded in the client services teams and the role of the audience specialist/strategist and propensity modelists (if the job even exists yet) becomes fundamental.
For agencies it allows them to focus on segments to action, the cost vs the opportunity, building out consumer analytics with efficiency and create audiences to re-engage with dynamic ad units in a native transparent trusted environment. For sellers the value of their sweat is realised and for the consumers they benefit from engaging relevant campaigns thus closing the loop.
Mike Carter, head of innovation.
The fight for self-regulation continues
2017 will continue to see increased legislative and regulatory activity from South Africa’s ANC-led government as it seeks to repair its tarnished reputation and credibility ahead of general elections in 2019, and position itself as an effective, productive force for national good. The media and marketing industries will for their part continue to fight for the ability to regulate their own affairs – as they have successfully and responsibly done in the past – as the growth of technological transformation and convergence accelerates.
The fate of online free speech hangs in the balance, as the department of communications and the Film and Publications Board try to impose restrictions on internet activity, while self-regulatory bodies like the Press Council and the ASA move to restructure and reposition themselves as the rightful champions of responsible and ethical conduct for our digital future.
Education and transformation will remain the foundational pillars on which South Africa must build its future. A digitally-enabled, demographically representative middle class will vitiate any need (perceived or otherwise) for restrictive or intrusive State intervention, and is our only chance of building a globally competitive, self-reliant and prosperous economy.
Andrew Allison, head of regulatory affairs.
Agency landscape will loosen up for new, small and innovative entrants
2017 is set to be an exciting year for marketers driven by an acceleration in the purchasing of mobile phones as well as the continued pressure to bring down the cost of data. At the moment, these act as roadblocks for consumers to increase their consumption of content and ever richer digital experiences. Movements like #DataMustFall are simply the beginning of a more co-ordinated consumer response to the data costs. Virtual reality will start to be tested by early adopter brands with huge success and this will tee them up to capitalise on this trend in future.
Nigeria will continue to grow as a market opportunity but marketers are still in the early stages of fully realising this opportunity. Like Linda Ikeja has attempted to do, there will be many fledgling attempts to mimic global platforms due to market challenges for advertisers. From an innovation and adoption perspective, consumers will remain far ahead of the brands that serve them. In Kenya, we will start to see more ad serving solutions aiming to solve Africa challenges. The market will continue to grow steadily and some of the market structure restrictions within the agency landscape will loosen up for new, small and innovative entrants.
Musa Kalenga, head of brand.
Digital trends to watch in 2017
Smartphone and mobile device sales will continue to climb so video, music and digital subscriptions are bound to follow suit. Publishers will continue to gather more intelligence and insight into audience content consumption patterns. This will facilitate traction in native advertising and hopefully lessen the negative impact of ad blocking. Given busy audiences’ daily lives, TV in particular, will continue to experience audience decline, similar challenges to that of print media, worsened by ‘on-demand’ viewing. Content marketing will start to take off this year, with brands building campaigns which attract audiences via the inherent quality of the content.
We will see an increase in online video advertising.
Those brands already developing creative for TV will look to digital to get additional return on this investment and those that did not will try online video due to lower costs and superior performance. Our relatively new Press Council with broader coverage of digital publishers will result in an improvement in ethical standards of online reporting. Social media will become an increasingly important platform for online publishers, overtaking search as the main driver of referral traffic. Publishers will come under pressure to find ways of monetising their social presence.
Nathi Maramnco, head of publishing.
Data-driven marketing entering the mainstream
While the talk about the usage of data in media has been on-going for many years now, it appears that 2017 will be the year that data-driven marketing enters the mainstream. With publishers forming co-operatives and networks to pool their data and inventory, and advertisers implementing their own data management platforms to track and optimise across multiple channels, the way that media is bought and sold will fundamentally change from the ‘traditional’ digital media buys we have seen in the past.
In 2017, we are likely to see an increased usage in all three types of media data: Advertisers are going to increasingly use their first party CRM data assets to build targetable online versions of their existing known customers, while also using their digital touchpoints to form a picture of their unknown customers across the web. Non-competing brands will increasingly find opportunities to do one-to-one data deals where they have shared target audiences. An example of this would be a luxury car brand and a luxury watch brand swapping anonymised data about their online audiences.
Lastly, there are going to be a number of new providers of third party data in South Africa, enabling brands and publishers to enrich and augment their existing assets.
Ryan Smit, head of measurement.
Driving the transformation agenda
The IAB SA’s mandate is to drive the agenda for the promotion of transformation in the digital publisher, marketing and advertising industry via recruitment, staff retention, work environment and career development. IAB SA launched the Transformation Council in March 2016. This council was formed to prioritise the progress of transformation in our industry and the development of a skilled digital labour force in our country. Key to the success will be collaboration with educational institutions.
To drive this effort we are giving 2017 a boost by merging the IAB SA transformation and education councils to maximise our voluntary efforts. To transform our industry it is critical that we address the opportunity to educate and employ individuals who are digitally skilled. Collaboration with institutions, industry bodies and legislative bodies is crucial to the role of digital transformation in our country. We see many more opportunities to create employment for our community, our industry and our country. 2017 will be an important year in which we set the course for education and its role in transformation.
Bronwen Auret, head of transformation and education.