Welcome to my column, Media Beyond The Numbers, in which I explore the topics of media analytics and insights. I would like to say thank you to the editor of The Media Online for this opportunity. Media insights and data is my passion and I am excited to be writing about it. I dedicate this column to my family, passionate industry colleagues and the industry legends that mentored me and continue to do so.
They say it is profitable to place an advertisement that will reach a million customers once than to reach 100 000 customers 10 times. Do the numbers really matter when looking at media planning and strategy? Is media really a numbers game? David Ogilvy once said “Don’t count the people you reach; reach the people that count”. Gary Vaynerchuk also once stated, “Numbers don’t matter, influence and impact does”.
Well, the truth is from a media readership, listenership and viewership as well as cost efficiency point of view, is that numbers do matter. When analysing media strategically, numbers are of high substance. Numbers meaning audience reach or total advertising pool.
Imagine this: According to the January 2019 edition of We Are Social digital audience landscape, Facebook has a total advertising pool of 23 million users in South Africa compared to 19.6 million weekly viewers of SABC 1, according to Broadcast Research Council (BRC) Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMs) Sept 2017-Aug 2018.
Numbers matter right? The total advertising audience pool for LinkedIn in South Africa is almost as big as the largest radio station in the country. (LinkedIn 7.2 million users vs Ukhozi FM 7.5 million weekly listeners Jan-Jun 2018 BRC Radio Audience Measurement RAM).
Is the magic seen through impact?
The strategy behind the science and the art mixture for media optimum performance is the comprehension of the consumer (how they consume media). With more than half of the country’s population connected to always-on devices that drive addiction levels of usage, consumers have become skilled experts at avoiding ads. The numbers say the audiences are there, though, but consumers are less tolerant of advertising in general.
When the commercial break starts, we reach for our phones. Without effective strategic alignment of medium and channel, the numbers will not automatically create an impact.
Obviously a media platform with a higher target market audience pool of 300 000 is better than one with 200 000; however if the additional audience dilutes the media owner brand positioning, then the numbers tend to become irreverent.
The medium in which brands channel their messaging is highly pertinent as well as understanding the capabilities of the media format. For instance, bathroom advertising does not have high reach figures in comparison to billboards, yet the medium offers a one-on-one touchpoint for the brand to connect with the consumer.
Does context play a part?
Context remains everything; context referring to the domestic media landscape, changing behaviour, the local cultural diversity and the brand category and marketing campaign objective. Media numbers for other brand categories matter more than for others. FMCG brands that have to sell household products and consumables to every household need to consider firstly the media that is consumed, how it is consumed, whether in a group setting as well as the medium that has the most effective reach, or should we say, the numbers.
Inverse for e-commerce brand category in South Africa, first media with an audience profile of high internet users and mediums that will drive the impact meaning stable reach with high frequency. TV + radio + digital (big budget) or OOH + radio + digital (moderate budget).
Consumers will always prefer media owners that deliver content that they prefer, content that is exciting, entertaining, or informing, thus making them highly engaged when consuming that media. It is becoming complex as consumers are empowered to lead and demand specific content. True talent and skill will be the dominant factor for brands that create impact through media placements.
The influential last words
Media is beyond the numbers, in my comprehension. Technology always plays a big factor is driving change. When looking at all medium touch points, how many ads are you served every day? Which brand do you remember? Which brand caused an impact?
According to a human attention span study by Statistic Brain Research Institute in 2013, the average human attention span was eight seconds; now imagine six years later in 2019 with the explosion of social media. How long are our attention spans today? Now that’s a number planners and strategists need to think about…
Below is my impact criteria:
- Statistic brain research institute
- We Are Social Digital 2019
Nkateko Mongwe is professional a media analytics, market research and data insights specialist. He is one the few industry hybrid media insights strategist with all round experience from leading media owners, agency and client side. He is a contributing member of the IAB research council and the PRC research committee. He was one of the judges of the yearly AMASA Awards. He featured on The Media magazine’s MOST Awards edition. A passionate, opinionated writer and media analytics presenter/speaker. Twitter: @datainsights88
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