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#IABInsightSeries: Achieving your business objectives with digital paid media

The IAB SA is hosting its 26th insight event on Zoom this Thursday, 20 May featuring host Tshegofatso Phetlhe, creative director at VMLY&R. Speakers include: Marius Swanepoel, media strategy director at Jellyfish; Claudelle Naidoo, MD at MediaCom; Elenor Jensen, director of PWC SA; Khanyisa Melwa from Narrative South Africa; and Mark Prior, Digital and VOD Ad Delivery and Strategy at DStv Media Sales.
Khanyisa Melwa, Marius Swanepoel, Claudelle Naidoo, Mark Prior, and Elenor Jensen.
Khanyisa Melwa, Marius Swanepoel, Claudelle Naidoo, Mark Prior, and Elenor Jensen.

In this fourth episode of the year, the speakers and panel will be addressing the key tools, resources and case studies you need to maximise your marketing spend through digital.

In his keynote address, Swanepoel will be looking at having an integrated approach to the ever-changing landscape of marketing. Jensen and Naidoo will be focusing on the digital advertising shift, and Prior will be looking at advertising on TV, taking into consideration the new connected TV platforms. Moreover, this episode will focus on the opportunity to achieve your business objectives with paid digital media.

The event is specifically relevant to all marketers, publishers and agencies who want to unlock their business potential. This episode also includes insights from the IAB SA / PwC Online Adspend Report and the IAB SA / Narrative Digital Landscape Survey, both of which will be available to IAB SA members on 31 May 2021.

Here, some of the speakers share more about their talking points and the key insights they plan to elaborate on at the event this week…

 What is the key theme or message of your talk?

Swanepoel: The way we have been doing marketing for the past 10 years is changing, and changing fast. Among other things, privacy changes will affect how we reach
both our customers and objectives. The environment is becoming increasingly
difficult and complex; this means it is more important than ever to have an
integrated approach to marketing.

Jensen: The online advertising industry has shown healthy growth in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has been able to claim a bigger part of the industry.

Melwa: 2020 was a huge growth year for digital in South Africa. Not only in numbers, but more importantly in user behaviour. Lockdowns and social distancing meant that digital had to become part of our everyday lives. The online world entrenched itself into our lives and we believe these changes are here to stay.

Prior: Advertising on TV taking into consideration the new connected TV platforms.

 Talk us through some of the key insights that determined which changes, updates, constants will be happening in the digital advertising industry in 2021.


  • The rise of privacy: Globally, users have made it very clear that their privacy and behaviours are not a marketing right. As marketers, we will need to adjust our approach to how we target and consider more carefully what value exchange we are offering once we get a user to our website or app.
  • Modelled marketing: Due to the rise of privacy, our analytics and audience platforms are going to be increasingly reliant on modelled solutions. This means that our front-end leads and measurement is not going to be as refined as it was in the past. We need to supplement our traditional measurement with more holistic solutions.

Jensen: Total advertising revenue grew by 18% to R4.7bn. Although not to the same extent, this is what has also been seen in other territories: the UK showed 5% YoY growth and the US 2.2.% YoY growth.

Internet advertising revenue as a percentage of total size of the advertising market increased from 13% to 21% in South Africa. This showed that as consumers spent more time online during the pandemic, the advertising dollars followed the consumer. Whether this is sustainable remains to be seen, but it has definitely caused a very significant shift in a short time.

Melwa: The adoption, penetration and use of digital dramatically accelerated in South Africa in 2020. We see three core insights from the digital landscapes report for 2020:

  • Internet users are becoming younger and wealthier. The under-35 segment grew tremendously year-on -year, as well as people earning over R20,000 per month.
  • Internet connectivity is more readily accessible. We saw a 21% increase in people who have internet connectivity at home other than on their mobile device.
  • More day-to-day activities and entertainment are being carried out online. The likes of shopping online, online banking, studying online, online gaming, streaming TV and listening to podcasts all saw double digit growth year on year.


  • More and more users are migrating to connected TV platforms making addressable TV a reality.
  • Connected TV inventory is growing - in the USA, 78% of households accessible via Connected TV.
  • There has been a 122% increase in global programmatic ad spend in CTV over 2020.

 What one main call to action would you advise your fellow industry colleagues at this time to help companies who are looking to beat the benchmark in digital advertising and create great work (teams, processes etc) that exceeds business goals?

Swanepoel: Ensure your current measurement and benchmarks are set up in such a way
that the changes won’t leave you with gaps in your measurement and understanding. An example of this is new vs. returning users, a metric we have all relied heavily on in the past. Non-Google browsers have limited first party cookies (only keeping data for one to seven days) this means that one user can be labelled a new user every day they come to the site, completely throwing your metrics off. This means that new vs returning users is no longer a metric you can use, you need to find other metrics to measure instead.

Melwa: People’s behaviours online have adapted and evolved very quickly due to Covid-19 and advertisers need to stay ahead of the increased adoption of digital and behavioural changes online. Know how your customers are engaging online and how your brands can best meet their needs, as they have evolved very quickly.

Prior: Start buying digital TV.

Please share one key learning from 2020 that you have personally (or professionally) taken on board, that you believe will assist others to navigate the future of work as we (are getting to) know it?

Swanepoel: Boundary setting. Digital has always worked on an always-on basis. When need be, optimisations or actions can be taken 27/7. With working from home becoming the new normal, I have seen numerous colleagues and friends unable to shut down leading to burn out. Right now, it is more important than ever to have working hours and the resolve to stick to them. With becoming a father to a Covid baby, it meant that for the first year of my son’s life there was no nanny, day mother or creche. I had to work out the intricacies of being a 7-5 strategist while being a full-time father. He made it much easier for me to find the boundaries and hold my colleagues, client and self to these boundaries.

Jensen: Whilst not in the advertising industry, I believe now more than ever, we have to be flexible and willing to do things in different ways than what you were used to. I have also learned that it is critical for teams to connect properly, something which is difficult to do virtually.

Melwa: Always be willing to allocate resources and time to innovating and evolving. Never take the status quo as a given and always put your company on the edge of innovation. Test, test, test.

Prior: Video advertising knowledge in South Africa is not as deep as it should be and advertisers don’t all understand the standards that are available across the different platforms. Video is not just video.

The IAB SA has taken its Insight Series online to provide 60 minutes of insights, featuring fellow and future industry leaders, on subjects selected by IAB members and the industry at large to make better digital decisions. Episode 26 is sponsored by Jellyfish and brought to you in partnership with DStv Media Sales, Narratiive, Everlytic, Gumtree and Bizcommunity. The 2021 IAB Insight Series is also approved for 2 CPD points at CMSA-level under marketing, by the Marketing Association of South Africa. To register for the event on 20 May, click here. If you're unable to attend, note that post-event presentation videos are uploaded to the IAB member portal to access ongoing.

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