Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

Media waste has always been a serious concern for the advertising industry, but it is becoming even more so in the digital age. As a result SA digital agencies are being forced to innovate flexible, cost-effective strategies that focus more on the audience and less on buying hectares of ad space in the hope that some of it will be seen by the target audience.

In the past, advertisers and agencies alike accepted media waste as part of the cost of sale.

This should not be the case. Even with digital space continuing to grow in importance for advertisers globally – offering a myriad fresh avenues through which to reach consumers, it’s essential that we identify where the waste is coming from and put an end to it.

Traditionally, the focus has been on the medium as opposed to the target audience. However, today’s market dictates that advertisers understand precisely who is in the audience and, importantly, who isn’t. Advertisers must realise that they are no longer in the business of buying ad space, but should rather aim to buy audiences.

Understanding the market is no longer as simple as drawing a pie chart and dividing it up in a few target categories. Instead, audiences have become more fragmented and more intricate, pushing advertisers to spend more time and resources on knowing precisely where they should focus their strategies. In much the same way that television networks are offering focused choices to an increasingly segmented market, advertising strategies must include strategic decisions about where to focus which message. This results in eliminating media waste and ensuring increased return on investment.

The rise of social media and search tools like Google and Yahoo has allowed for a certain degree of accurate targeting so that advertising spend can be more efficient. Yet despite this improvement, media waste is a continued drain on campaign budgets. The best way to combat this is to abandon the same techniques, platforms, and tools, put a stop to the general complacency, and open our eyes to the fact that new developments take place daily.

As digital tools evolve, so too should advertisers and agencies. Extensive data activation platforms have been designed to enable real-time decision making, valuation, optimisation, and campaign transparency. Moreover, with the power of big data and programmatic advertising, advertisers can reach specific audiences, meet marketing and sales goals, and eliminate wastage.

Adopting new technologies to transparently and efficiently manage and track how budgets are used offers the necessary insight into how money is being spent and on whom it is being spent.

The big take-out: Media waste is an issue in the digital age and to avoid it, advertisers and agencies should focus on targeting the right audience with the right message, using new technologies to provide them with valuable data.  

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