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Marketing & Media Trends

#BizTrends2019: Vertical video, Amazon muscle and integration in 2019

Working as closely with marketers and agencies across South Africa and further afield through the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), keeping ahead of global trends is always on my bucket list. I'd love to predict precisely what's going to become a 'thing' for marketing houses and agencies, but I'll go with emerging trends I've noted this year - and possibly put money on my predictions.
Johanna McDowell, CEO of the IAS.
Johanna McDowell, CEO of the IAS.

Vertical video

With 93% of all online videos being consumed on smart phones, the era of vertical video is here. Instead of consumers having to change their smartphones settings or jiggle them to see the content better, some digital content agencies are now shooting video on a portrait or vertical platform. This means a better, fuller screen, with clearer titles and text. Some of the digital agency practitioners have already re-skilled their teams for this whole new way of shooting video footage.


Many media agencies are now doing creative and digital and vice versa; while creative agencies are bringing media in-house. Full integration is the order of the day, which I predict will lead to greater competition for the client’s rands.

Demise of the ‘big two’

The duopoly that is Google and Facebook is rapidly coming to an end with the advance of Amazon. Now the fastest growing digital medium in the world, advertisers are seeing Amazon as a good media choice as consumers are already predisposed to buying or attracted to other products while online... and they have their credit cards and digital payment options hot and handy.

Brands on purpose

While sales remain vital, brands are now expected to play a bigger role on the planet, and show consumers exactly how they are better ‘corporate citizens’ to seal the deal. Business ‘on purpose’ will see brands cleaning up, reducing waste and looking for alternatives to plastic and other environmental horrors. CMOs will continue to demand more and more purposeful innovation from their agencies, and marketers will need to convince cynics that brands are effecting real change.

Fading bonuses

Bonus systems for agencies seem to be in a decline. Our most current research for Agency Scope UK 2018 reveals that very few - if any - marketers still have bonus systems in place for their agencies. I believe that this may be because it is almost impossible for these bonuses to be efficiently constructed or proved by either party; and foresee that the same trend is happening in South Africa, based on the IAS study in 2017 and from anecdotal data.

About Johanna McDowell

MD of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), and partner in Scopen Africa, with a background that includes being on both the agency and the client side of the fence, Johanna McDowell is well-placed to offer commentary on marketing and advertising in the South African and international contexts. She built her career in marketing and advertising since 1974, holding directorship in both SA and British advertising agencies. She was MD of Grey Phillips Advertising in 1988.

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