As internet connectivity is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and more accessible across Africa, brands are now faced with little choice but to invest in digital media campaigns. You can’t, after all, reach these growing audiences if you aren’t active in this space. In order for digital media campaigns to achieve their objectives, they require the best possible chance to be effective, and this can’t happen without price transparency.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always a given. Despite many brands being eager to embrace and execute digital campaigns, they often struggle to do so. That’s because middlemen typically levy a substantial markup on their offerings, thus limiting the digital media buying budget available to promote the actual campaign. This does not, however, have to be that way going forward.
Before looking at what brands can do to ensure that they’re receiving full value on their digital campaigns, it’s worth understanding how this situation arose in the first place.
In part, the situation was allowed to precipitate because of expertise. When digital marketing first became viable, the leadership in most brands’ marketing teams were still strongly rooted in analogue forms of marketing. In that environment, it made sense to have people translate a brand’s creative vision for digital channels.
That’s especially true when considering that digital marketing was a lot more complex a few years ago than what it is today. Navigating that complexity and helping a brand achieve its objectives required highly specialised skills. Those skills, in turn, came at a premium.
Unfortunately, some of these middlemen took, and continue to take, advantage of that disconnect in understanding and complexity. Even as brands build more digital capacity in-house and most media owners have made marketing as simple as possible, many in the digital media buying space especially continue to charge high markups. As long as middlemen keep convincing marketers that they need to pay these markups, they’ll keep charging them.
As more and more people across the African continent come online (Nigeria alone is set to add another 35 million internet users by 2026), marketers risk spending far more budget to reach their target audiences.
It’s therefore critical that marketers understand there are alternatives. With the right approach, it’s possible to ensure their entire digital media buying budget is spent promoting their digital media campaigns.
Trading in markups for price transparency
The best way for brands to ensure this is to only work with credible media buying companies that practise price transparency. They should ideally look for a media buying partner that does not apply a markup to their promoted media. That way, brands can ensure they have peace of mind that they are purchasing media at the best possible price.
But transparent pricing isn’t the only thing that brands should look for in a media buying agency. It’s also important that they work with one that can give them an effective marketing presence on the digital platforms most relevant to their target markets. It’s additionally important that brands select a company that understands Africa is both vast and diverse. Ideally, it should have dedicated teams in key markets, giving the client access to locally relevant viewpoints and insights. The media buying agency should also have teams educated and skilled in the best practice of each platform.
By taking this approach, brands can ensure they’re getting maximum returns from their digital marketing efforts at the best possible value.
Building for Africa’s digital marketing revolution
There’s absolutely no doubt that Africa’s digital connectivity revolution is fostering a secondary, digital marketing revolution. According to Statista, digital advertising spend in Africa is currently valued at US$3.19 billion. Two years ago, it was valued at US$2.09 billion and by 2027, it’s expected to be worth US$4.53 billion. By any measure, that’s significant growth.
But if brands are to realise the full benefit of this growth, price transparency will be critical.