Figuring it out

Posted by Zweli Mokgata on 19 Apr, 2012 / News

Digital marketing’s share of SA’s total advertising bill could be more than five times higher than previously estimated, says a new study.

The Digital Media & Marketing Association (DMMA) reckons that the digital marketing industry contributes up to 11% of advertising spending (adspend). ACNielsen’s Adex expenditure measurement tool recently put the figure at 2% of the R30bn spent annually.

DMMA deputy chairman Jarred Cinman says a study was commissioned in 2011 to find an accurate value of digital marketing spend. This, he says, is more reflective of the sector’s contribution.

In a survey conducted by Analytix BI, the country’s top 100 advertisers submitted detailed data about their marketing media spend. The survey, which had a 90% response, found that these advertisers spent 10%-11% of their annual media budget on digital platforms.

“It’s a reasonably good figure,” Cinman says. “I don’t think there will ever be a perfect number, the reason being that digital media is a fragmented medium. People spend money in a lot of different ways on digital.”

He adds: “If you want to get your message across on TV, for instance, there is only one way to do it and that’s to buy airtime from a broadcaster and place your ad. In digital, you can build your own websites, advertise with international players like Google and Facebook (which are not measured by Adex) or buy traditional advertising media.”

As part of increasing its pool of information, Cinman says the DMMA wants to attract at least 45 new member agencies by the end of 2012 to bring the total to 200. About 45% of the organisation’s current members are online publishers.

DMMA research head Gustav Goosen says the 2% figure reported by Adex is the result of limited sources of information. “Not all publishers are submitting their adspend figures,” he says. “Only about 35 online publishers submit theirs. These publishers are also not following the same calculation methodology.

“Last year I was in charge of the DMMA’s monitoring portfolio and its sole function was to get publishers to submit adspend numbers. I bumped heads with a lot of publishers to submit figures. Some of them said it was too expensive an exercise to do,” he says.

Earlier this year the DMMA’s executive committee launched its Publishers Portfolio, headed by GM Geoff Cohen. The idea was that a publisher speaking to others would promote more submissions of data.

Willem van der Merwe, MD of Trigger Isobar SA, says the amount of advertising spent by digital could be even higher than the DMMA report suggests.

“In our experience, the digital contribution to overall bought media is 15%-30% and in some instances clients have shifted to almost 100%,” he says.

“My view is that Adex figures aren’t a good indication of digital spend. Things like mobile aren’t even measured. The only way you can get a clear view is by speaking directly to clients.”

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