Tanya Schreuder encourages the industry to get involved in ensuring we finally have a clearer picture of online ad spend.
New media is transforming communications, while old media and content in general continues to evolve with technological developments. So there should be no surprises when it comes to the following statistics from the All Media and Products Survey (Amps) 2013. Within a seven-day period:
- 10 million South African adults accessed the internet;
- 11 million South African adults accessed the internet via their mobile phones;
- nine million South Africans were active on Facebook; and
- three million South Africans were on Twitter.
Those in the media industry are aware that money is shifting from the offline space into online. Also, bought media through the line is a norm on most client schedules. However, we continue to gather information and make informed decisions based on stitching together different sources of research, previous campaign results and gut feelings. No published benchmarks exist. As a result, clients get conflicting opinions, depending on the specialist to whom they are speaking. And questions that continue to perplex our industry are ‘how much money is actually being invested in online media?’ and ‘how do we integrate online with our offline media plans so we can get a full view of audience penetration?’
When looking at ad spend across various categories, using the only resource available to us, Ad Dynamix, we no longer see a trickling of spend going online. The shifts are significant. However, it is only a reflection of what is happening on premium display. So, the ad spend data excludes social and search, which we know is absorbing a significant amount of spend and focus.
As an industry we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel because the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB SA) has begun to tackle the thorny question of the size of digital ad spend in South Africa.
Gustav Goosen, vice chair of IAB SA, says the body has commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to replicate a study that was done in 14 other countries to obtain a true reflection of the South African digital spend landscape. The survey, which has begun, requires all companies involved in media procurement (agencies) and sales (publishers) to submit their ad spend figures.
Of course, being a global auditing firm, the data obtained by PwC is confidential and not even shared with IAB SA. The idea is to gather information related to digital ad spend at industry level.
IAB SA, says Goosen, is rallying the industry to participate in this critical piece of research. He says the bureau is convinced that by showing the market the actual size of digital in this country, marketers and agencies will be better equipped to make more informed decisions related to their digital spend. This study will only succeed with the broad support of both the selling and buying sides of the industry.
It is imperative that the industry finds a way to measure online spend more effectively. That way, it can evolve and ensure that spend benchmarks and strategic insights reflect various categories.
The offline world has for years worked effectively with tools, like Telmar, to draw key insights across target groups and offline channels. These tools have ensured sophisticated planning within an ever-changing landscape. Unfortunately, we have not been able to integrate effectively how we plan offline media with online.
IAB SA’s publishing partners have funded an initiative to develop an internet planning tool for clients and agencies. Natasha Fourie, who is assisting the IAB SA with the project, says it uses the audited Effective Measure (EM) data and weights it back to the Amps online population so that we can move from being ‘unique browsers’ to people. This internet planning tool will be available on Telmar, so all planners can have access to it.
Functionally, it will allow reach and frequency to be measured against target markets across a range of IAB SA member sites. This ensures that those in the industry will be speaking the same planning language already well established across other media types, including reach, average frequency and gross rating points. In addition, it delivers cost per point and percentage match by individual site. So, at a glance, it can be established which sites are delivering most efficiently against the target market.
As a result, the industry will finally have access to tools that will allow proper analysis of online data and profiles.
But perhaps the real celebration should be the fact that we will no longer have the excuse of being ignorant. The offline and online world will finally come together, and we can truly integrate our planning.
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