Last week I spent a very useful lunch hour listening to Terry Murphy, managing director at Nielsen Watch, sharing a presentation entitled Stretching Your Reach & Reaction Odds: Today and Tomorrow, with members of The Abstract Club. (More on this organisation later).
Using information from the Nielsen Trust in Advertising Global Survey, she outlined how our consumer landscape has been changing: Time shifted viewing is on the rise, nearly two thirds of consumers say they switch channels when ads are flighted, multitasking is prevalent with viewers engaging in social media and browsing the internet while viewing. While they say that their mobiles are the preferred device for on-the-go viewing, they nevertheless do believe bigger screens are actually better for viewing content.
Despite these changes, this study showed that while South African consumers place the most trust in personal recommendations, they nevertheless rank TV ads, brand sponsorships and OOH ads as their next most trusted sources. They place these traditional media channels ahead of consumer opinions online, and ads on social networks and on their mobiles.
This is reassuring given that Nielsen’s Adex 2017 and Nielsen Sport data showed that R45 billion was spent on adspend and brand sponsorships. Thus ‘traditional’ investment still constitutes the biggest portion of South African brands’ marketing expenditure. In fact, Murphy pointed out that the top five spenders in the categories of telecommunications, retail and finance have all shown strong growth of over 7.5% in these platforms, despite overall category investment growth declining.
Murphy had had a compelling message for media professionals and marketers, namely that budget does not necessarily determine campaign success. Drawing on data from Nielsen Advanced Analytics, and specifically from the division’s Marketing ROI work, she illustrated that “a small budget well executed is better than a big budget poorly executed.”
Having served her time in the media agency world, overseeing one of the world’s largest and most exacting advertiser’s TV investments, Murphy perfectly understands the ongoing demand placed on media professionals to deliver more with less, and “to make every rand (and every interaction) count!”
Her first piece of advice was that conventional media needs to remain the base of a well-executed plan. The information she had shared from the Trust in Advertising Survey had shown the weight that these media still hold in terms of consumer trust, and of course, they also provide heft in terms of reach. She also pointed out that adspend in the US remains heavily weighted towards TV.
Decade of indulgence
It has only been in the last year or so, after a decade of indulgence, that marketers such as Marc Pritchard (Procter & Gamble) and Keith Weed (Unilever) have demanded that digital media adhere to more standardised and rigorous metrics, improved verification and greater transparency.
Digital was the second area to which Murphy turned her attention, pointing out that not all digital campaigns are equal. Once again using ROI data she demonstrated that digital needs to be “more focused and accountable”: the most efficient campaigns can deliver 3.5 times the return than the least efficient.
Accurate quantification of the audience reached, correctly and precisely targeted investment and placement optimisation are fundamental to achieving efficient digital campaigns. Nielsen’s solution to this is Digital Ad Ratings (DAR), which provides demographics, unique audience, reach, frequency and gross rating points (GRPs) for a campaign’s total digital audience across computers, tablets and smartphones. It measures unique ‘People’ as opposed to unique ‘Browsers’ giving advertisers a better read on their objectives achieved
The third area that Murphy addressed was sports and lifestyle sponsorship as a marketing opportunity. This is an area that has evolved with brands now looking for integration across multiple touchpoints rather than visibility through a relatively small number of assets. She sought to debunk two commonly held myths: That big brands are the best sports sponsors and that big sports are the only worthwhile.
She used Nielsen Sport data to show that our local sports fans have catholic tastes, being interested in a number of sporting disciplines and, of course, in various lifestyle activities beyond them. Great opportunities for smaller brands certainly exist.
Murphy’s talk certainly met The Abstract Club’s requirement that the speakers be informative, thought-provoking and interesting, and was an excellent way to spend a lunch hour.
The Abstract Club is a voluntary association intended to provide meaningful support to freelance communications professionals and people working in small, independent communications agencies. More specifically the Club’s constitution defines this support as:
- A sounding board, peer-to-peer input, access to relevant insights.
- A platform for independent professionals to connect and grow.
- Expanding our thinking and understanding with thought provoking interactions and leadership experiences.
Ads24 is the sponsor, providing a venue and refreshments for the meetings which are held every two months. It was founded by Joanne Scholtz and Karen Dyke. I would certainly urge any media professional who meets the membership criteria to join. The founders can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively.
Having spent some decades working in the media agencies, Britta Reid now relishes the opportunity to take an independent perspective on the South African media world, especially during this time of radical research transformation.