Roadside billboards are used for out-of-home advertising. Picture: THE TIMES
Roadside billboards are used for out-of-home advertising. Picture: THE TIMES

The average SA consumer believes media has become fragmented and adverts are more intrusive than ever before. 

This is according to Monique Claassen, client service director, media & digital at Kantar Millward Brown, who shared insights from the company’s latest AdReaction research findings during Mediamark’s quarterly expert-speaker breakfast.

“Compared to three years ago, adverts are appearing in more places. Local consumers are aware of this: 88% agree that they’re seeing more advertising today, while 79% agree that adverts have become more intrusive, though 61% believe ads tell better stories now,” she says.

The rule of five (integration, idea, creative, placement, customisation) is now more relevant, she adds, as brands continue to adopt a multichannel approach to ensure campaign success.

“Research suggests that 55% of advertising campaigns are run across at least two platforms. We’ve realised that up to 67% of radio media campaigns are being followed up online,” says Werner Lindemann, managing director at Mediamark.

Get it together

Integration is central to overall marketing return on investment. With multiple levels of campaign integration to consider, only one in four of the campaigns at present measured by Kantar Millward Brown are missing the mark – 46% of all multichannel campaigns are considered to be fully integrated and well-customised, compared with 26% not being integrated at all.

There is a gap between how well marketers think they integrate strategies and what consumers see, says Claassen, adding that fit could certainly be better across all channels. Take for example the fact that 89% of marketers believe their strategies are integrated across desktop, mobile and TV. In the consumers’ eyes campaign fit is somewhat different – when asked how well ads seen from most brands fit together across different ad formats, 74% believed that campaigns are fully integrated across all channels and only 64% believed that campaigns are fully integrated between online and offline.

When questioned about why they believe a gap exists between campaign integration and strategy integration, local marketing and advertising practitioners point out that advertisers don’t always deliver a common brief to their agencies. And even when a common brief is provided, agencies tend to come back with very different ideas.

“The challenge to implementing fully integrated campaigns is a process issue, with everything other than TV channels still an afterthought,” says Lindemann. “Unfortunately, digital media teams are traditionally in separate silos while advertisers deliberately tend to segment their audiences or messages by media channel. These issues can easily be averted if marketers and their agencies recognise the trend and avoid making the same mistakes. To improve campaign performance, it’s usually a good idea to include multiple brand integration cues.”

The big take-out

As brands continue to adopt a multichannel approach to ensure campaign success, integration, idea, creative, placement and customisation are more relevant now than ever before.

TV still tops

Interestingly, digital and offline have an equal share of connected SA eyeballs. Looking at various formats, the majority of consumers (61%) still watch a large amount of TV and spend limited time on digital video, according to Kantar Millward Brown’s research. In this respect, traditional advertising still has a big role to play.

The research further reveals that people think online video customisation should be mainly about making TV ads shorter, or at least cutting to the chase. South Africans seem particularly impatient. In SA, TV (79%) and in-store (71%) comfortably generate the highest campaign reach, while out-of-home and radio tend to deliver high-frequency levels.

“What we’ve found is that using TV first can double overall brand impact over not including TV in a campaign,” says Claasen. “In some instances, non-TV media can perform alone, but these types of campaigns do much better with TV priming (TV flighted first).”

Generally all media can achieve brand objectives, she adds. “TV is best for awareness, but other media such as Facebook can be more cost effective. However, online formats are far less popular, since the gap between digital and traditional formats is especially wide in SA.”

The solution, says Lindemann, is to ensure that formats are customised and that every element of a campaign is given the attention it deserves. “Advertisers who are serious about integration need to treat mobile digital as an integrated campaign element in its own right, rather than just adapting a TV ad for online. The main reason is that 80% of web pages browsed in SA are on a mobile phone.”

The AdReaction research revealed that when asked about their attitude towards various advertising formats, consumers rated out-of-home, magazine, radio and TV advertising higher than online advertising.

According to the same AdReaction research, the largest variation in performance among digital campaigns in the alcohol sector is in the creative aspect. Even with strong integration and an inspiring campaign idea, five out of 12 creative executions can still fail to engage. The bottom line here is that every creative element of a campaign counts.