Picture: Matthew Guay/Unsplash
Picture: Matthew Guay/Unsplash

In the face of socio-cultural unrest, an unknown economic future and a global pandemic, the industry finds itself in a near impossible situation.

“Being agile” and “expecting the unexpected” have taken on new meanings in 2021. Opportunities lie in collaborating, learning and forging a view of fast-paced changes in an increasingly fragmented media and economic landscape, both locally and globally.

The Future of Media online conference series is held in partnership with Voda Media. Hosted by Siya Sangweni, our panel took a look at how the world is embracing a new way of digital communication and how businesses are adjusting to a huge shift in the market to stand out among the online crowd.

So, what is Voda Media, and what is it doing to shift away from the unpredictable to shape a predictable future for publishers, advertisers and brands?

IAB SA CEO Paula Hulley was asked to share insights about the June report on the current consumer digital landscape. She reminded the audience that in the digital world we have needed to build the plane while we fly it, without even knowing the destination we are heading to. She then stated key stats from the IAB SA 2020 adspend research report. It showed a huge shift to online and that the current consumer landscape is digital, she said. “The advertising spend from the buy side went up 18%, and even though the industry shrank a little, the portion of the digital pie grew 21%. Paid social [media] stayed constant, accounting for 20% of revenue, and searched content on Google stayed at 90% of digital spend.”

Global Partnerships SSA at Google head Benjamin Fahmueller said: “The most recent search trends show a lot more supplier/product searches, meaning consumers are making more informed decisions and doing more research when it comes to buying a product from a pricing and quality perspective. This is a great opportunity for brands to get into this space to be the search of choice. Searches for local getaways and domestic travel have increased more than 200% and, not related to product, online privacy searches have also increased.”

VodaMedia executive head Zunaid Parker said: “The advertising industry and all businesses have been in a state of flux and have needed to re-evaluate best practices, so where do you allocate revenue to get return? The evolution of advertising is the realisation that you cannot just go with only one construct and that a multiplatform strategy is imperative. We always want to co-exist and collaborate with industry.”

Hulley said she is impressed by brands that have created access for people to go online, whether it was for SME to grow their businesses or for students to learn online.

A brand that is doing this is Voda Media. Parker explained the rationale behind The Fuse and Saccess, two new platforms that are helping shape a more predictable future for publishers, advertisers and brands. “These platforms were developed with the influential capabilities of sports and the youth in mind. [The aim] is to give lift to great content to become more relevant to mainstream publishing. We needed to develop a platform that allows co-access for the nonconsumers of news in order for it to resonate with a particular segment. This will in turn enable publishers and content creators with consumer views.”

Fahmueller said: “The Fuse and Saccess speak for the user, the content creators, the advertisers and the publishers. They allow for introductions to users and advertisers, broaden an audience for publishers and open up revenue avenues for content creators. This offering brings a lot to the market and plays a big role in the media eco system.”

In summary, all the panellists agreed that with an increase in digital consumption comes great opportunities for brands to reach targeted audiences, that brands need to be versatile and open to collaboration and that with collaboration there is a world of opportunity to push content, build on engagement and assist with monetisation, which is an all-round win for publishers, users and brands.

Watch the full discussion below.

As the world is increasingly going digital, many businesses are seeking opportunities to stand out among the online crowd.

The Big Take-Out:

The evolution of advertising is the realisation that you cannot just go with only one construct; a multiplatform strategy is imperative

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