By Leigh Andrews

Jarred Cinman, deputy chair of the association started by giving a brief history of the DMMA, which started in 2003 as the Online Publishers’ Association (OPA), and its intention of growing the online publishing industry. In 2008 they launched the Bookmark Awards, an important mechanism for recognising excellence in digital, which gets bigger and better each year. He also spoke of the way digital will be incorporated into the overall mix as well as the importance of education and transformation in the online publishing space.

Cinman then explained the DMMA’s focus for the year. He said the number of people in the industry is constantly growing and mentioned that the Bookmarks will launch a ranking system this year based on performance in the awards, in order to define who the major players are. He added that the DMMA will strengthen its relationship with the Loerie Awards this year, as well as various industry bodies such as the Advertising and Marketing Association of South Africa (AMASA) in order to make digital more mainstream. It is also pushing an education drive to bring more people into the industry through internships. On the publishing side, he spoke of the need for better measurement criteria, and said publisher-focused research should be made available in August this year. He also highlighted the need to talk about large-format ads and comment on relevant legislature, as it is important for the DMMA to represent the industry’s views to the relevant bodies. The DMMA will also be looking to develop industry standard metrics for the measurement of social media in particular and hopes to publish a manual on this by the end of the year. In addition, the organisation will be engaging more with the community through Facebook and LinkedIn, especially to market the education and transformation, measurement definitions, and awareness of submitting AdEx figures of reliable market spend for better accuracy. Driving recognition and awards will also be a focus in order to get the industry moving.

The first presentation of the day was on quantifying digital with Effective Measure. Business development manager Francois Vorster spoke of basic definitions such as page views and unique browsers. In March, mobile internet access was up 31% – Vorster said that if this continues, mobile internet consumptionwill be double what it is now by the end of the year. Effective Measure, which has been in the market for just over a year, pointed out a dip over Christmas and New Year, with weekend internet use being at about half that of weekday use. Over mobile though, internet usage is higher. There has been significant growth in mobile device technology and accessing internet from non-work locations. The cost of smartphones is also coming down quite drastically, so what was previously the domain of contract subscribers is now becoming available to the masses. He pointed out that pornographic material is still very popular and said that if you want to be found on Google, you have to be on its social platform, Google Plus. In closing, Vorster outlined how Effective Measure offers free research to DMMA members, such as how a domestic worker influences household purchase decisions.

Next, Martin Urry, a director at of Telmar , took us through its computer based advertising media information services system and explained that the company loads and uses certain data for clients’ media planning needs, and that it will be introducing a new ‘internet planner’ tool to get internet into the traditional media advertising mix. A question that the company is asked regularly is ‘how many people from my intended target market will be exposed to my ad?’ Urry said that they use existing data, such as that of the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) and the DMMA to determine this kind of reach. SAARF’s All Media Products Survey (AMPS) is an easy way to ‘measure’ the print advertising spectrum, with TV measured through the Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS) and radio through the Radio Audience Measurement Survey (RAMS). When the advertising is across different media, Telmar uses ‘multi-basing’ to forecast how many people will see an ad across all media, provided it is all weighted to the same (AMPS) population. DMMA’s data is being integrated so that internet advertising can also be incorporated into the total ad exposure equation to make comparisons between the different media types.

Anastacia Martin, head of the DMMA’s education and transformation portfolio, spoke of its importance in a time where digital and legacy media are undergoing fundamental changes, especially where corporates are taking in fresh young workers who don’t necessarily have a built up skill set as yet. It’s about creating a knowledge society and encouraging conversations while creating a generation of media and marketing thinkers to transform the industry, she explained, adding that a conscious decision was taken for the first phase of this initiative to focus on females from previously disadvantaged societies, while not ignoring the male component. The emphasis, she says, will be on driving talent, promoting digital media as a profession or career path, attracting young learners and promoting females in the work force. The initiative will also focus on guidance talks, parent information talks, a job shadowing week and creating learnership, internship and mentoring programmes where they can actively learn skills and raise awareness, excitement and understanding within the industry.

Cinman closed the event by discussing top trends to watch in 2012. Among these are ‘mobile is big (again)’, the internet of things and augmented reality. A most informative session.