With entries to the Bookmark Awards still rolling in, it’s too soon to tell which categories are attracting the most applicants – but IAB SA CEO Josephine Buys is well-placed to tell what’s hot in the industry – and what’s not.
“Programmatic and the rising number of private marketplaces is the space to watch. Premium display has been significantly decreasing over the last few years and the rise of Private Market Places and programmatic on the buy side shows that SA is keeping up with the rest of world – and we are encouraged to see this progressing here in line with global trends,” reveals Buys.
New categories are consistently being added to Bookmarks to reflect emerging media, even in the judging panel; the adoption of AI, video and gamification this year solidifies the emergence of these technologies as key trends to watch and, says Buys, is critical when reflecting the current growth areas that are set to accelerate digital.
“While it may have been slow to start in South Africa, I firmly believe that AI and machine learning is going to lift off the runway in 2018, as it is worldwide. It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention and in Africa it’s been the mother of innovation. Our continent, and indeed, South Africa, has already and will no doubt continue, to lead innovation as more marketers and CTOs master complex algorithms to learn more about consumer habits to deliver the holy grail; the right message at the right time on the right device.
“One only has to look at social media feeds to know that video is a sure-fire way to ignite interest in your message at lightning speed; another necessity in today’s world of ‘always on’ consumers who want – and increasingly demand – access to information at their fingertips.”
This demand, says Buys, is one of the reasons IAB SA is a staunch supporter of free internet access for all. “The rise of video consumption for marketing, and more recently and importantly, education and training, is one of many reasons why IAB continues to champion access to internet as a basic human right. As more marketers use video, so too will the cost of data remain a discussion point, which we hope will lead to more zero-rated content and ultimately, a free internet for all!
Gamification has also gained extensive traction in the local industry over the past year especially – and this element has massive advantages to both brand and consumer, adds Buys. “We recognise how impactful gamification is set to become and expect there to be some fascinating campaigns using this technology to attract and retain historically hard to reach consumers. John Sanei, a speaker at the IAB Digital Summit in March, says that because of computing power and the growth of it, marketers need to ask how to use gamification to entice consumers and get them to become super fans. Gamification can become a platform that not only measures and rewards behaviours, but can also change behaviour in itself to the advantage of the brand.”
So what can we expect from this 10th annual highlight on digital media’s calendar? “My sense is the 10th annual Bookmarks winners will be evidence that a decade of digital has proved that our media sector sets the benchmark for innovation in communications,” says Buys, admitting that she’d love to include a retrospective from then until now to show just that.
What would she, personally, like to see more of? “More purpose-driven campaigns; I enjoy getting all the feels when we review and recognise the award-winning work. Nothing strikes a chord more keenly in me than a #tissuealert.”
The 2018 Bookmark Awards will take place on 1 March at The Empire Venue, Parktown in Johannesburg.