It's the Year for Online advertisement in Africa?

Digital Content

The challenge this year for advertisers is to really connect with their consumers in credible spaces online and learn how to become part of their personal space with an authentic voice, not 'client or brand-speak', predicts Nazeer Suliman, Universal McCann South Africa GM in his broad predictions for 2008.

Q: Adspend generally, do you predict a slow down or a continued upward spiral for 2008?

I don't think we'll see a marked downward trend. Global and local trends show strong growth. However, the continued upward hike in interest rates, may well impact ad-spend further down the line - considering that early indications point to a slowdown in the economy.

Q: General trends/usage of print, radio, TV, outdoor, out of home - where is the money going to go. TV will always be king but who will the other winners be and who will suffer?

The current profile of spend by media type will continue into 2008. However, if anything, 2008 will be the year for online, when it finally comes into its own. We will see more communications companies gearing up with online/digital offerings and capabilities. Advertisers will grow more confident in "colonising" this space after more than a decade of slow experimentation and exploration. This will in most part be driven by an increase in online access and broader consumer appeal.

Q:Online and mobile - predictions for 2008 - increased usage or more of the same? Your views on social networking/ blogs / podcasts etc as media channels?

Mobile penetration will continue to grow as the three mobile network operators battle it out in the lower to middle end of the market. It's the only viable segment to fuel volume growth. Online access will continue to grow, in part to new product offerings and convergence (internet access bundled with existing technology products). Social networking will surge, claiming new addicts - it's better than crack! Successes like Facebook that combine networking with the ability to "blog", "message", "game" and upload personal paraphernalia will continue. The challenge for advertisers will be to carve a credible space in these areas by facilitating the "personal user drivers" that fuel the social networking phenomenon. This means that advertisers will have to get out of "broadcast"/ "intrusive" /"target" mode and learn how to genuinely "befriend" their prospective "mates" with credibility.

Q:What do clients / media agencies / media owners need to do to engage more with consumers / what more we can be done for communication to stand out?

Agencies will continue to demand flexibility from media owners in driving communication innovation. The standardised production lines of most media owners will come under continued strain as agencies continue to demand anything but the standard. New connection options will challenge traditional media owner power. Clients will continue to up-skill and reconfigure their marketing departments to meet the continued growth in market and consumer complexity and the challenges that this brings.