Programmatic buying is in its infancy in South Africa, but catching up fast as media agencies start setting up systems for real time bidding (RTB).
“Programmatic media buying is fast growing, here to stay and is already starting to dominate the digital media space in most markets. The South African market has warmed up to the idea and we are not as far behind the more advanced digital media markets as people might think,” says Mark1’s Joe Steyn-Begley.
Staff at the Cape-based agency, owned by Steyn-Begley and partner Daan du Toit, have attended a number of European conferences with the intention of staying abreast with technology trends, specifically programmatic buying. “Although a lot of people perceive programmatic media buying as a new avenue, we’ve been running programmatic campaigns through RTB for our clients for around two years and still find it very exciting,” says Steyn-Begley.
Habari Media recently announced the relaunch of Habari Exchange as hbx, saying the “world-class programmatic media buying service” puts South Africa “on a par with their international counterparts in the competitive real-time digital media buying space”.
“As the bits and bytes of technology negate the distance between countries, so more and more South Africans are becoming citizens of the global village, using global sites to access global information,” says commercial director Marius Greeff. “If local brands want to maintain their connection with their customers, they must follow in their footsteps.”
The MediaShop has launched and delivered a number of successful client campaigns on IPG Mediabrands’ programmatic trading desk, Cadreon, via its international parent company, the Interpublic Group.
“I really believe that the integration of digital media into our traditional offering is of huge value to clients, and through Cadreon we now have a tool that delivers not only superb results for our clients, but also puts us at the cutting edge of media innovation in South Africa,” says group managing director, Chris Botha.
Client uptake varies, says Steyn-Begley. “We work closely with a number of agencies in this space and have been impressed with the uptake from local clients, but obviously, like with most new media offerings, you have more adventurous clients that embrace change and test the waters early and those that are less adventurous and would like to see case studies and results from others,” he says.
“One of the challenges we face here is the availability of inventory on .co.za domains. That means that local publishers are still hesitant to open up their inventory even if it means a lot of it goes unsold,” he says.”
“Another challenge is the misconception that it consists of ad networks and exchanges with remnant media at lower costs. Even though network/exchange buying is a part of programmatic, we are seeing a lot of high quality inventory on top global sites.”
Greeff says hbx is a “cutting-edge programmatic media solution that allows South African clients the opportunity to market themselves to a relevant local audience via premium global sites”. He says hbx offers “significantly more mobile inventory through partnerships with additional mobile supply companies (including the world’s largest mobile ad exchange), as well as access to the highly-sought-after Facebook Exchange”.
Richard Lord, associate media director and head of digital at The MediaShop, says Cadreon will give clients results beyond tradition reach and frequency. “We can now actually sell more airline tickets, hotel rooms and test drives for our clients and know exactly how to maximise against these specific metrics. Our clients have been eager to get on board, which shows the real need for optimised, performance based media buying,” says Lord.
Steyn-Begley believes that by 2015, everybody in the digital media industry will be involved to one extent or another. “We strongly encourage all clients (whether agency or publisher side) to embrace programmatic, as it has massive benefits for all involved.”
Greeff says new opportunities available from hbx allow clients to not only “fish where the fish are” but also ensures that the bait is better suited to their taste.
“The new formats are in-step and in-tune with international formats, ensuring that our ads are able to compete in this global environment,” he says. Among the new opportunities is access to some of the largest reserves of linear video ad inventory globally including both in stream and in display.
“Real-time bid-based buying means you only pay for the people you want to speak to – whether it’s one million or only one. It’s the most scalable and efficient way to buy media, and when you add in the power of data, it is also the most effective,” says Greeff.
IPG Mediabrands Africa’s managing director, Brad Smale, says the uptake in Cadreon the results seen in a short space of time “are nothing short of amazing”.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.