This will be done across mobile screens and devices when Eskom switches the power off and, after a bout of up to four hours of load-shedding, back on again.

A first to market with this real-time technology, YDigital says that it has provided a strategic solution to its clients whose ATL budgets and reach are being compromised when the lights go off, thus mitigating the knock-on effects of lowered TV viewership by compensating in the digital space.

Advertisers can choose to trigger their campaigns only when the power is off or on, and paired with personalised contextual messaging, it provides the opportunity to truly resonate with their audience.

By detection, based on the end user location through advanced Geo-location technology, devices are impacted with brand creatives when that region is affected by load-shedding.

The solution is not a one-size fits all, according to the agency. This is as zones in one area differ from others. For example, Cape Town zones versus Johannesburg are not the same. As such, constant understanding of the Eskom feeds by the skilled team is key to the product's success.

"The impact of load-shedding on advertisers' and brands' media sync campaigns has been significant, prompting us to design an innovative campaign to solve the situation that performs with or without power," says Nick Hodge, managing director of YDigital.

Of course, load-shedding has been with consumers for some time, with the three months between July and September 2022 recording the highest collective period of load-shedding to date — more than any one year alone.

Furthermore, according to electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, we will not see the back of load-shedding any time soon.

With winter fast approaching, and the frequent breakdowns of power plants and planned maintenance impacting the capacity of the grid, consumers are going to need to live with load-shedding for the immediate future.

"By working with the load-shedding monitor, we can quickly understand where power outages are going to happen or when the lights will come on or go off. This enables us to deliver relevant and contextual creatives to targeted mobile devices thus gaining an incremental reach and elevating the brand’s impact and salience," adds Hodge.

For instance, this approach can be highly tactical as a fast-food brand could easily produce timeous creative that is turned on as soon as the power goes off in a specific area, encouraging consumers to visit their stores and buy their dinner.

"Alternatively, we can serve ads when the power returns and use real-time creative to engage audiences where they are so that they are served the same set of ads across physical TV sets and mobile devices — increasing engagement, reach and frequency," says Hodge.

Of course, consumers need to have data on their phones when their Wi-Fi goes down, and ISPs are seeing increases in data usage to offset the impact of load-shedding on their ability to access content uninterrupted.

While the mechanism being employed to serve these campaigns differs somewhat, YDigital says that it is no stranger to the media-sync product having first launched it in 2017 to the market.

"At that time, as more consumers multi-tasked while watching TV, reaching them when they were surfing their favourite website or interacting with mobile apps during an ad break, we saw that reach and conversions greatly increased. We’ve now added an extra layer to this experience that is relevant to South African brands and provides an elegant solution to overcoming load-shedding woes — and protects budgets," concludes Hodge.

The new load-shedding media-sync product is available to all agencies, digital marketers and brands from YDigital as of Monday, 1 May.

Individuals can email the team at [email protected] for enquiries.

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