Rolling out online video advertising in South Africa

Brett Morris, Group CEO and Group executive creative director of FCB South Africa, says while online video content is on the rise, and clients have started to buy media online, this is being done with a “traditional mind-set”.

Clients, in most cases, are “taking the same piece of content that was created for TV and placing it in an online environment. In some cases they are expanding a single idea and producing a few pieces of bespoke online content on the back of a television production”.

He says the problem is it is still difficult to get “significant reach with only online exposure”.

“There is definitely a need for a more focused approach to online content and this will grow exponentially as internet access and speeds improve,” Morris says. “Agencies will need to be geared to produce a lot more ‘fast content’ on a much more consistent basis rather than one or two campaigns a year. It won’t be long before we are doing this on a monthly, weekly or even a daily basis.”

Morris says this approach will require an entirely different production model, “which means production houses, agencies and clients need to recalibrate their view of the production process. This needs to be held in balance so that we are still able to produce emotive, compelling content with good production values”.

John Beale, Managing Director of MEC Nota Bene in Cape Town, says TV advertising is based on share of voice, “something that can be measured, tracked and has reams of data through Nielsen and Millward Brown.”

“Video advertising is more of an afterthought, and lumped in with the digital adspend budget. That’s not right, and we’re trying to change that mind-set to thinking about holistic views / eyeballs on the video content pieces.”

Nevertheless, says Beale, online video advertising is showing huge growth in South Africa, notably on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as across networks that allow videos to be streamed to handsets based on their data connectivity, without any loading time. “It’s most notably effective to 18-35, B2C in South Africa at the moment, and I don’t think it’s gender specific,” says Beale.

But he says, the growth is time specific. “We’ve seen long form content do better at night or at lunch time as people have more time to lean in and consume, vs morning being a time for rushing-snackable content. Context in the human psyche for video content must be taken into account,” he says.

Like Morris, Beale says simply replicating TV ads is not the way to go. “Online video content needs to be storyboarded and coded in such a way that those watching are enticed through the right cover frame, are kept interested, and prompted at the right points to engage,” he says. “Disney just purchased the world’s largest video content production house that helps brands produce video content – it’s not about a TV ad online gathering views, it’s about the different layers of that story that people want to watch / see.”

Wag the Dog Publishers, owners of The Media Online and The Media magazine, recently bought a sharein online video production company Snippet Video. Snippet’s Rhodes Tanner says online video advertising offers brands, big and small, a “highly targeted, cost effective and measurable platform through which they can engage with both new and existing customers”.

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