Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Glimpse into the World of Digital Advertising in Nigeria - Compiled by Keisha Diamond


Someone once said that "Advertisements sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth." 
The advertising industry in Nigeria is growing at an extremely fast pace. There are so many types of advertisement methods and opportunities that are being offered to business owners in Nigeria, however many companies cannot afford these services which play a tremendous role in booming their businesses.
Mr. Nnamdi Ugwu and Mr. Deji Dabiri of Swift Digital Motions touch base on the advertising industry and the challenges that most companies in Nigeria face when it comes to advertising their businesses.
Swift Digital Motions is a wholly owned Nigerian firm with their Head Office in Lagos, Nigeria. They offer state of the art indoor digital advertising display screens to provide low cost wireless digital signage solutions to business owners in Nigeria to advertise their brands, products and services in different locations across the country.

1. What do you think about the advertising industry in Nigeria? 

Deji: The advertising industry in Nigeria well developed, all things considered. It is constantly improving and there is presence of all forms of advertising in Nigeria at the moment.  Lot of our advertising agencies have received international recognition for the work they are doing. It is a thriving industry and is set to continue growing. As a large country, there will always be demand to reach consumers.
Nnamdi: The advertising industry in Nigeria is a huge industry that is developing to become one of the most respected in the world. The advance in both technologies and creatives in the industry is making it become one of the most enviable in the world. When you look at the adverts we had 10 years ago and compare it to what we have today you are compelled to be impressed with the development in the industry. We now have award winning agencies across Nigeria coming up with some of the most innovative mediums you can find in the world.

2. How important is advertising for business owners/companies and how does it add value to their brand, services and products? 
Deji: Advertising offers a link to your customers. Almost as long as there has been media, there has been advertising. Any way to get awareness of your products and services is a good thing for any business. It can help you lead an impression. If a consumer likes your advert, they are more likely to patronise your products, services and stick with that particular brand.
Previously, without advertising, there was almost no chance of success but the influence of advertising on the success of a business now is not as pronounced as it was before. However, it is still incredibly important because there is incredible competition in a lot of areas and advertising is still as relevant as it was ever been. 
Nnamdi: Most business owners consider advertising an expense but I have always seen it as an investment. The big brands such as the Telecoms giant have got it right in the sense that they understand the return on investment gained from advertising. There is still a large amount of work we have to do in order to sell our value proposition to potential clients. We have to invest in market research and proper surveys that will prove to small and medium scale companies on the need to advertise. Many of our clients have come to us saying that they saw up to 50% increase in enquiries from their businesses after they decided to advertise on our platform.

3. What are the challenges that the Nigerian advertising industry face? 
Deji: One of the challenges the advertising industry is facing is the rapidly changing and shifting consumer habits. Traditionally (pretty much pre-internet age), advertising revolved around television, newspaper and radio. If you have a good product, a respectable budget, advertising on these platforms will get your product attention. This was because a lot of people watched television, read a newspaper and listened to the radio or some combination of all those activities.
At the moment, people’s attention spans are taken by so many things. Phone, tablets, applications, games consoles, websites and the rest. All of a sudden there are so many places people are spending their time and to capture attention, you no longer need a good product, you need something that is either exceptional or meets a definite need of the public. Consumer attention span is also reducing and there is a jostling for space between different media.
Nnamdi: In my opinion the major challenge the industry face has to be the high cost of rent. In many cities the cost of placing a billboard in a viable location raises the cost of advertising so significantly that to offset these cost the practitioners have to charge exorbitantly and this means only a few major brands can afford the cost of advertising. This in my opinion makes the advertising landscape dull due to the monotony of potential clients. It will be great to see a local tailor being able to advertise his/her designs on an LED board the third mainland bridge. At SD Motions we are trying to bring the cost

4. What do you see as a big trend in the Nigerian advertising industry? 
Deji: The big trend I see is the digitising of media and advertising, especially online. It’s harder and harder to link advertising directly to sales in the offline world. SO many factors are at play. This doesn’t mean offline advertising is no longer effective, just that there is a greater need for accurate data to help drive decisions. There is a bigger measure of control in the online space. And you have a more accurate measure of who is interacting, engaging with and viewing your adverts. Companies also want to have a presence in as many areas as possible. You will never see the death of offline advertising, but companies with smaller budgets are likely to choose online over offline now because of the increase in options.
Digital advertising is also a lot more customisable and can fit a wider range of budgets. People will choose a sustained presence online as opposed to one or two billboards or radio adverts 
Nnamdi: There is a steady push by what I would call second tier business (not the major FMCG companies) to gain market relevance. I foresee a situation where these brands would begin to search for less expensive non-traditional modes of advertising. These brands are helping grow digital and online targeted cost effective advertising and I see this trend growing over the next few years.

5. Do you think there is a special strategy companies should follow when advertising their businesses? 
 Deji: Well advertising should always be in-line with your strategic goals for the company. If you are trying to increase sales, make sure advertising directs people to where they can purchase or gives them information to make purchasing easier. If you are trying to increase general awareness, make sure information is something consumers or people don’t always know.
Have a direct line with your consumers, find out what attracts them to your products and services and use that to inform your advertising decisions.
Another increasingly important aspect of advertising strategy is feedback. Make sure that there is a way to measure the reach of your adverts and have an idea of who your adverts are impacting.
Nnamdi: There is always a need for audience participation for effective advertising. You must find a way to get the potential customer excited about using you product or service. The current ‘share a coke’ campaign being carried out by the Coca-Cola Company has risen to become a global phenomenon. There is a need for content generators to constantly try to create a need for participation at the end of every advert. Secondly you must have tailored advertising, advertising for a particular audience at a particular time, this is extremely important to help make advertising cost effective and this is where SD Motions comes into play. We are able to give the

6. Tell us more about Digital Advertising 
Deji: Digital advertising involves using any digital media to display adverts. Mobile phones, social networks, applications, screens, gams consoles and projections, the list is covers any digital device that can be used to display adverts and reach consumers
Digital Out-Of-Home advertising is using digital screens to display content. This content would normally be on billboards, posters and roll up banners. Screens can range in size from tables to displays that are 10’s of metres in length and breadth.
It’s a relatively new form of advertising and the industry is growing globally. Multiple images, graphics and videos can be shown on the screens and there is access to a very wide range of content for display on the screens. The screens are more engaging than static posters and are more likely to get a consumers attention.
 
7. What sets SD Motions apart from other advertising companies? ​
Deji: Well even though we will offer similar services to some companies, it’s our feedback that really differentiates us from our competition. Our screens are fitted with a camera and OptimEyes technology, a type of facial detection software. What that allows us to do is count views. Whenever a face looks at the screen, the software counts it and analyses the face and breaks it down into gender and age demographics. We are able to give clients an idea of who is looking at their content and adverts on our screens. We are trying to combine the physical presence of offline advertising with some of the feedback of online advertising. 
Nnamdi: I believe there are three major value addition propositions that SD Motions brings to the table. First is cost, our business model allows us to be the lowest priced digital billboard out there. Like I said earlier one of our goals is to make digital bill boards accessible to every Nigerian who is willing to advertise and never letting cost be a barrier. Secondly we offer a great deal of flexibility to our clients, all our service are ‘tailor made’ to suit the specific needs of a customer. They get to pick frequency, duration; locations etc. and we are able to work with all of that. Thirdly and what I think may be our greatest value is what I like to call our ‘audience awareness feedback’, with this program and software we can actually tell advertisers the exact number of people looking at their  ads, the gender and other demographics of the audience. This is a strategic tool that advertisers can use in defining future campaigns and gain positive traction.

8. Do you see a future for Digital Ads in Nigeria? 
 Deji: Yes I do. It’s a growing industry that is nowhere near maximising its potential. It can only get bigger, better and more dynamic. Digital is not just online advertising and we are championing the growth of digital signage and digital advertising. In the UK, digital out of home is currently growing faster than internet and mobile advertising and is a $1bn industry. Digital advertising is here to stay. The benefits are apparent to everyone
Nnamdi: The space for digital Ads will continue to grow at the same pace at which the worlds thirst for digitalization continues to grow. I can speak for SD Motions at this point, we are working to develop new technology to provide value for our clients, and within the next few years we will have digital billboards that will show content depending on the person in front of the screen. A man in his late thirties will cause a Heineken advert to pop up on the screen while an 8 year old child walking by will inspire a Ribena ad ti show. All these are in the works and that is really the future at SD Motions.

9. What advise can you give Business owners who are interested in advertising their products and services? 
Deji: Well before you advertise you have to have something you want to say. It’s good to have clear, concise message and clear goals before you start. Your aim should be to inform and not overwhelm the client with too much information. Short, sharp, straight to the point adverts (like those hosted on our platform) are more likely to leave an impact because you’re not asking consumers for too much. 
Nnamdi: I just have to keep reiterating the fact that advertising and awareness creation is an investment and not a business cost. My advice is to continue investigating the right channels that will be suitable for your business. A blog might have a greater ROI than a newspaper ad or vice versa. However we at SD Motions are always willing to be of service to anyone interested in advertising, feel free to visit our website www.sdmotions.com for more information.

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