Mr. Emeka Okeke, Group Chief Executive Officer of Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network is an individual who deserves accolade for his contributions to the growth of marketing communications and in particular media independent practice in Nigeria. Recently, he spoke to Brand Communicator team on the projection for 2018, media spend and sundry issues. Excerpt…
Media Spend In 2017/2018
Towards the end of 2017, Nigeria was said to be coming out of recession, and the country was gradually returning to the path of growth with the growth forecast for 2018 put at 2.5% according to various economic analysts, with some quoting the World Bank. By comparing the spend numbers of 2016 and 2017, one can safely say there was clearly a decline in spend occasioned by several factors including cancellations of campaigns that were scheduled due to some reasons related to signs of hard times occasioned by declining sales volumes. While most agencies did not meet their end-of -year forecast, a few were able to survive the spend cut tsunami. However, despite the decline in 2017, there were new types of businesses riding on the back of recession in 2017.We witnessed explosion of lottery businesses, crypto currencies and new cable TV channels in the advertising landscape. The spend impact of these categoriesof advertisers will only come to light when the 2017 spend data is computed. I believe this will be significant.
In 2018,two things will impact media spend in Nigeria. The first is the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This is a football year in Nigeria because Nigeria qualified for the WorldCup which will take place in Russia. Many big brands will play in this space, knowing quite well that Nigeria is a football country with near cult-following. A good number of advertisers will therefore leverage this opportunity to connect with their various targets.
The second factor that will impact the size of advertising spend in 2018 will be political campaigns leading up to 2019 elections. Ban will also be lifted on political campaigns as the world cup ends in July 2018, just about same time that political parties and political office seekers will hit the roads with campaign messages. However, this will come with an implication as some advertisers would rather want to get off the media because they will not want their campaigns to be displaced or drowned in the electioneering campaign noise. Notwithstanding this, some brands will advertise at this time, but do so for less in the sense that Television viewership is going to be higher and therefore ratings will be higher. Instead of using 200 spots to achieve 1000 ratings or 500 GRPs for example, advertisers will only need fewer spots to do so. Advertisers and even politicians will need the skills of experts in marketing communications to help them navigate through that crowded scenario called clutter in advertising terms.
Contribution Of FIFA World CupTo Media Spend In 2018
FIFA World Cup will contribute to the advertising spend in 2018 in the area of sports marketing taking a large chunk of the spend across multiple media touch points and collaterals that will come with sponsorships. Broadcast media will come together under the umbrella of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, for broadcast license, either as sub license or direct license from FIFA. This will enable them to come together to partner with some reputable continental satellite broadcasters. Brands will be interested in advertising in order to get attention of the fans in the period that they are watching most matches. There will be activities on the streets because of establishment of more viewing centres. There will be packages coming up from independent marketers and independent broadcasters. There will also be a lot of materials that will come out of the tournament, in terms of broadcast. The creative agencies will also benefit.We hope to see significant spend for new communications materials during that period in terms of promotional materials. It is going to be a year full of activities which will impact on broadcast, on print, OOH, digital and media agencies. Government will also rake in more revenue from VAT, Withholding tax etc. This is bound to have a positive impact on the economy.
Preference For Below The Line
In a convergent communication world, both below the line and above the line are at the point of convergence. What we have now is a hybrid situation which is a combination of both channels. This communication enables advertisers to take investment decision not based on below the line, or above the line. They simply make choices based on where they will get the most returns for every buck they spend. That means whether it is a combination of the two or media neutral channels like, email marketing, one-on-one marketing and others, what is important is that advertisers are making decisions depending on anticipated return on investment. Also, institutional players like Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network is investing in the right tools and right resources, right insight that will provide that innovative solution for the clients to determine the dosage of combination needed to get across to the various prospects and keep them glued to the brands. This is important because consumers today are moving targets with access to millions of messages every day and therefore need dynamic strategic approach to pin down at any point in time.
Measurement Of Digital Media Campaigns
Digital is very virtual, and it’s no longer the next frontier. It is the frontier today, and so to a very large extent all platforms are going to be digital at the end of the day.
The good thing about the digital platform is its measurability. However, there are two big challenges. First, the tools that are being used to measure success on the digital platforms are developed by the big digital media owners like Google, Facebook etc. This makes independent measurement difficult because there is hardly any independent tool that will allow seamless interface with what is being served by the big platforms.By this, measurement remains subjective to a very large extent. The second big conversation in the minds of everybody is brand safety. One needs to ask how safe is your brand in the digital space? Our network works for quite a good number of brands that are restricted by water-shed policies to advertise on conventional prime television and radio platforms. How digital marketing agencies like I-Prospect, Isobar or AMNET ensure that certain goods and services are not exposed to persons under 18yrs of age in the digital space becomes an issue of responsible digital marketing and brand stewardship to a very large extent.
You also have to look at brand safety in terms of associated content that they want to leverage in the business. In spite of all these, digital platforms provide a lot more recency in terms of measurability and responsible targeting despite its vulnerability to computational propaganda referred to as “the fake news syndrome”, which brings to the fore the issue of trust and credibility.
Increase In Digital Media Budget In 2018
One question which answer points us to a positive budget direction for digital media in 2018 is; where else can advertisers whose brands are constrained by water-shed advertising policies spend their marketing communication budget if not the digital media? Two more pointers to increasing growth in digital media budget this year is inventory costs and measurability relative to other media channels. So,I can safely tell you that for the category of advertisers that are restricted by law to advertise or cannot afford the high cost of conventional media space in Nigeria will continue to explore the digital ecosystem and therefore the digital marketing spend will continue to grow at a phenomenal rate underscored by growth in internet penetration and smart phone accessibility.Digital budget has gone up by over 400% at the expense of TV and radio. The truth is that 2018 is going to be Nigeria’sfirst digital World Cup and the reason is that there are over 45 million smart phones that have internet access in the market place. For instance by subscribing to Kwese, viewers will have access to Kwese sports from five devices -Ipad, laptop, tablets and the rest, as long as you are within the geography called Nigeria. Viewers can watchWorld Cup without having a conventional TV. So, if I could watch multiple content channels digitally, that have digital VOD footprints, it is therefore paramount that our creative agencies should create short videos that will not be constrained by size to run on these platforms. They will need to quickly accelerate their skills development from copy writers to relevant, short content writers.
In summary, the TV budget will never keep growing except for tactical events and situations like the World Cup (sponsorships). There is an emerging paradigm shift from classical spots advertising to sponsorships with emphasis on branded content.
Effects Of Over Regulation In OOH On The Media Buying
I would say the issues of multiple taxation and over regulation in the Out-of-Home industry is constraining and can be disincentives to investment in the OOH industry. However, these are not enough to deter the kind of growth that we expect in the industry. The reason the OOH industry is losing spend is because the pace of innovation is somewhat sluggish. The OOH industry in Nigeria is one industry that is still acting in silo without using the principles of convergence driven by digital technology. They still see themselves as street furniture vendors and still sell the old packages. It will be recalled that there was a period we used to book two years in advance for prime sites. Gradually it came down to annual and then it went down to quarterly and now it has come down to pay as you go and from there it may still go down. The reason this is happening is because many OOH companies don’t invest in innovation that speaks to the role technology plays in communication and everyday life today, hence they find it difficult to be digitally relevant. It surprises me to hear our colleagues in the OOH industry define digital in terms of LED display. This is at best a digital electronic infrastructure capable of doing much more than crystal clear displays. That piece of technology is embedded with multi-functionalities that drive communication in modern times but are not being activated by the operators. Digital bill boards have more than basic video capabilities. If well utilized, they can be used in conjunction with the internet to drive real time communication using the twitter platform and the GPS location based targeting for messaging. As you know, technology has radically changed the way we communicate today. Digital is at the heart of this change with OOH serving as the melting of this converging communication ecosystem.
The second factor is that the OOH industryis quite dis-trusted in terms of accountability,as there is no robust digital footprint in terms of internet coverage of the boards,which makes it extremely difficult to monitor investment in remote areas or even on major roads. In some other climes, OOH is actually the melting point of every other media. It is used to stimulate discussions about brands and activate experiences. For instance, a recent campaign by one of the spirit brands at the Lekki toll gates underscored the untapped opportunities and potentials that OOH has to offer in brand building.Posterscope Ecos’ geo-fencing and points of interest targetting is leading this shift.
Rating of Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network In The Industry
Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network is a 100% private enterprise and therefore will not be able to discuss its financials in a public space like this magazine. I cannot even discuss its billings which is same as turnover, so I don’t send wrong signals to the tax authorities who have severally misjudged advertisers media spend as income to the agencies, which we know is not the case. Nevertheless, I can safely say to you that we are in a significant leading position depending on the ranking parameter – billings, staff strength, service diversity, specialization et al. More outstanding are our proprietary indepth consumer and analytical tools like the Consumer Connection System (CCS), Video Stack, MFDANSTAR, AMNET PROGRAMMATIC PLATFORM, ECOS, to mention a few, which are all second to none in the market place.