By Artwell Nwaila
Viewers were glued on to the television all the time, so much so that the best-selling recording artists of the late Sixties were not the Beatles or the Beach Boys but a boy band created for TV - The Monkeys. The biggest influence of the Sixties was not drugs but TV. It was the perfect cost-effective strategy. To make things even better, there were no BlackBerrys, Xboxes or television remote controls to distract the audience or avoid every ad that came their way. Times have changed and consumers now have three times more money and access to the internet while everyone wants our attention, but the logic is still stuck in the Sixties.
Since 2003, consumers have spent more money so that they don't have to see television advertising by using avoidance technologies like cable TV. The rise in popularity of products like iTunes, where one can download a full series or movie anywhere at any time, does not help the situation either. Yet television continues to dominate when it comes to ad spend and understandably so, as there is an appetite for TV. But is it growing as much as online? According to the research done by IBM, television is losing ground
to the internet when it comes to leisure time. According to the survey, 19% stated spending six hours or more per day on personal internet usage, versus 9% of respondents who reported the same levels of TV viewing. 66% reported viewing between one to four hours of TV per day, versus 60% who reported the same levels of personal internet usage".
Internet is furthermore amplified by the introduction of mobile surfing. No longer can one say the internet is only for the wealthy. Africa Telecom News released some interesting facts which showed that Africa has become the fastest growing mobile market in the world, with mobile penetration in the region ranging from 100% to 30%. Pre-paid accounts for 90% of total subscriptions and Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt are the fastest growing markets.
TV is not the only traditional media that's getting a run for its money. Another study published on emarketer.com
predicts that online ad spending may surpass print for the first time in 2012. The study goes on to say that online advertising is expected to generate $39.5-billion in sales this year — a 23.3% increase from 2011 — compared to a sum of $33.8-billion on print.
It's a wonder why online remains the medium with the least ad spend, at least in South Africa. The answer is not super academic and waiting to be found, it's simple. It is because marketers don't understand the space yet. Digital has been around since 1995, one would have thought that by now it would get its fair cut in ad spend. Yet big companies spend most of their money communicating on TV when they know very well that their market is on the internet and mobile. The book, How to Think Digital
explains this problem best: “The problem is that television was not only the big invention of the 1960s. The concept of marketing was invented then too (when the word was first coined). Because they were invented at the same time, the effects of television and marketing became one in the same.” Maybe it's time we coined a new term for online marketing?