Online Ad Spend in South Africa is Increasing 20 Aug 2014

There are only two reasons a business should not be advertising online. One, they don’t have a website. Or two, they trade in naughty industries restricted from advertising.

There is a lot of emphasis put on the measurement of digital advertising when deciding what channel to spend marketing budget on. Digital’s most attractive factor is that with measurability comes data and data provides us the ability to learn from campaign engagement. And in turn, we take that information and optimise campaigns to produce better results. At the end of the day, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, but digital marketing is not a science.

The majority of South African users access the internet via their mobile phones. As smartphone prices drop and data becomes more affordable, usage will only increase. The average human across the globe consumes between 2-3 hours of online media a day and mobile has already changed the way people shop in the physical world. Armed with a smartphone, a customer can sidle into a store, identify an item they want, then browse for cheaper alternatives online. If they find the product is cheaper at another store close by, guess who’s getting the sale.

This eMarketer report clearly shows that “TV”, “Newspaper” and “Radio” still dominate in terms of spend and their projections are stable, but “Internet” has the highest percentage change of spend year on year, the digital pie should continue to grow:

Online Ad Spend in SA

Traditional media will always be necessary and online campaigns should exist in the real world too because brand engagement should be consistent across all touch-points and on all device contexts. After all, it is people that drive business and it is results that drive online advertising investment. The successful agency of the future will excel at both traditional and digital marketing, and will integrate the two seamlessly.

That said, the key is to produce quality work and ensure clients are educated about digital. As online ad units become more expensive because competition for space increases, it’s harder year on year to get the same results on the same budget. That’s why quality work needs to be produced to convince clients that greater spend will yield greater results. It’s the only sure-fire way to ensure that media investment increases with inflation. If a client is happy with the work and understands that their digital marketing budget is being put to good use, they will continue to invest in your plan.

Sure, some clients might be afraid of the internet; they might be hesitant to embrace it because they don’t understand the web, but they will invest when they are convinced of its value. Agencies are accountable to the decimal point and therefore need to keep educating clients, generating innovative creative ideas and delivering on promises to ensure the industry continues to grow from strength to strength. The only way to keep clients investing in digital is to consistently deliver a quality service – a service that yields results. In the end, online ad specialists are responsible for ensuring that clients are informed about online marketing, convinced of its value through insightful and understandable data, so that internet ad spend and digital marketing investment keeps climbing.