As South Africa’s online industry looks set for another year of healthy growth during 2011, the year is likely to be all about the continued maturing of the country’s online industry as marketers and publishers refine their digital strategies and extend their use of existing technologies. This according to Richard Mullins, director at international digital marketing company Acceleration.
Mullins, who opened the Johannesburg branch of Acceleration in 2000, has identified five online trends to watch, mainly focused on marketers and advertisers but which should ultimately impact on the browsing experience of the typical South African websurfer. Here they are.
Expect behavioural targeting to become a much bigger player during 2011 as marketers look for ways to target the right potential customers with the right message.
With behavioural targeting, marketers are able to use information collected about users’ web-browsing behaviour, such as the pages they have visited or the searches they have conducted, to choose advertisements to display to them. This allows advertisers to vastly improve conversion by focusing the right messages on customers whose behaviour indicates that they are actually interested in the products on sale. As a result, return on investment is dramatically improved.
The reason that behavioural targeting will start to become bigger in South Africa in 2011 is that the technology to segment and target users by behaviour has finally matured to a point where it is sophisticated enough to produce significant results, yet easy enough to use.
King content is back
The web is awash with content, but most of it isn’t very good. Among marketers, there is a hunger for good, professionally produced and differentiated content. We can expect to see content providers look to collaborate more closely with marketers to monetise their content through strategies such as syndication and custom publishing.
Powering up web analytics
During 2011, expect to see marketers start using web analytics tools in increasingly sophisticated ways as they look to drive better results from their online marketing investments. They will track their campaigns in an increasingly integrated manner as they seek to understand how the various online elements (email, display, search and so on) interact not only with each other but also with offline campaigns and channels.
In addition, companies will begin to understand and manage their campaign data as a precious corporate resource. The more data they have about their customers and their campaigns, the better they will be positioned to drive results from their web analytics environments.
Tentative moves in mobile
For years, the industry has hyped up the potential growth of the mobile channel, but mobile has not really exploded yet. This year will most probably not be the year that mobile search and display advertising really take off, but the groundwork will be put in place for some strong growth during 2012 and 2013.
Some important developments taking place in the mobile market include constant improvement of the technologies for delivering ads and measuring campaign performance. It will be a good year to experiment with the technology with a view to understanding what it can do for you.
Explosive growth for video
Acceleration believe that rich-media advertising is starting to take off in South Africa, where video will finally become a major part of the advertising landscape during 2011.
In their experience, video campaigns drive far higher levels of customer engagement and conversion than traditional display campaigns. With bandwidth prices constantly falling in South Africa, publishers can now deliver video-based ads without the fear of website visitors being annoyed with high bandwidth cost implications.