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THE MEDIA NOV_2018 - TMOL

When is a view not a view? Mobile advertising should be burgeoning in South Africa, but it faces some serious challenges: the same triad of brand safety, ad fraud and viewability that dogs digital advertising globally. By BRITTA REID. There was a tipping point in 2017: not only did internet overtake traditional television to become the biggest global advertising medium, but mobile ad revenue overtook desktop for the first time, according to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecast September 2018. Locally, the January – June 2018 Establishment Survey showed that 69% of adults personally use a smart or feature phone; among SEM supergroup 5 this rises to 95%. With South Africans being six times more likely to access the internet via their mobile phones than via desktops, it is no surprise that Narratiive’s September 2018 report on South Africa Online showed that 69.8% of unique browsers are from mobile devices. While these statistics suggest mobile advertising should be burgeoning in South Africa, it faces some serious challenges: the same triad of brand safety, ad fraud and viewability that dogs digital advertising globally. “I think one of the biggest challenges is the universal lack of standard/agreed definitions around mobile ‘viewability’,” says Rick Joubert, CEO of Yonder Media. Mediamark’s head of digital, Mark Botha, concurs. “The major issue, at this stage, is that the standards and requirements differ across the industry. There doesn’t seem to be any clear and agreed benchmarks that everyone can adhere to,” he says. Botha believes there are “very few conversations where viewability doesn’t come up as a point of discussion”, but he suggests that for many advertisers, it ranks a very close third, behind brand safety and fraud. “How seriously it is being taken, and the measures that are being applied to manage it varies, depending on who you are talking to. Many of the major (international) agencies have firm viewability benchmarks that they are driving across the campaigns they run, and then others let the success of their campaigns rather do the talking, allowing click-throughs or engagement metrics to determine the success, rather than focusing on how viewable the campaign was,” he explains. One of the agency personnel taking a firm stance on viewability is Clare Trafankowska, head of digital: Absa at Carat Possibilities, who trenchantly asks the question: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to truly receive what you set out to purchase?” Certainly, no advertiser sets out to purchase non-viewable ads. While she feels clients and agencies should simply state they “no longer trade with/in this fraudulent economy”, her view is that “moving media owners to trading in VCPMs (viewable cost per thousand) is the first step in the right direction, as I believe it will force the industry to improve (albeit slowly) on the quantity of such inventory, as at this stage there would be a finite pool available”. This first step is crucial to restoring advertiser faith in the integrity of the digital industry. Ogilvy Cape Town’s head of digital strategy and head of data and analytics, Evan Milton, asserts that as a full service modern marketing agency, “we’re active in discussions with the major platforms and publishers about improving the return on marketing investment for our clients” and “also involved with the IAB and its initiatives around brand safety through the Agency Council, and in discussions with publishers and clients with the Publisher Council”. Botha acknowledges that “the client and publisher engagement by the IAB and Mobile Marketing Associaiton (MMA) is going a long way to bridge the gap” but suggests this “needs to go a lot faster” because as long as the benchmarks remain contentious, “it isn’t good for anybody”. Craig Nicholson, The SpaceStation Johannesburg’s regional sales director, agrees that the lack of a set guideline/industry standard on viewability is “creating friction between advertisers, publishers and ad-tech companies”. He concedes that it is a tricky issue, with “the nature of mobile consumption impacting on viewability. Audiences tend to have The Media | wagthedog.co.za P 11


THE MEDIA NOV_2018 - TMOL
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