Cyrille Nabutola, the MD of SpanImage, talks to Business Daily about the advent of digital advertising in the country
The advertising market has undergone a complete transformation in the recent past. What is driving the growth of digital advertising?
Mr Nabutola: One key factor is the way that media has evolved. In the 80s and early 90s Kenyans were dealing with one media (KBC) and in print it was Nation and Standard. These media were all dealing with the mass market to the extent that the more people you reached the better it was.
In marketing terms, it was about critical mass and that gave you advantage irrespective of whether you were reaching guys who couldn’t buy the contents of the newspaper.
But with liberalisation new entrants came into the market like KTN and Capital FM and increasingly we started seeing niche market players because everyone can’t compete at the level of the mass media. It’s against this background that digital advertising has come in.
BD) How do we expect digital advertising to evolve?
Digital advertising cannot be all about placing ads because this is boring and consumers will soon tire of it. The way to grow digital signage is to position it as a point or source of information where consumers can get relevant information.
For example, a supermarket can provide information about consumption trends for different goods or a hospital screen can offer health tips that people can absorb in waiting rooms.
BD) What are the advantages of digital advertising?
First is the element of motion that makes it interesting compared to still billboards. The speed with which ads can be produced and uploaded offers flexibility in meeting changing client needs.
The biggest advantage for advertisers however is the cost of producing the ads. It is possible to develop digital media ads for as little as Sh30,000.
Advertisers also have the option of having several ads on the same channel at a fraction of the costs for producing TV, radio and billboard ads. Managing the production costs will open the door for even small advertisers to come on board.
BD) How effective is this method of advertising?
On the basis of actual cost per impression alone, digital advertising is more cost effective. This is because rather than going mass where you reach so many people all of whom are not necessarily consumers, digital is targeted to ensure that whatever goes out there falls on fertile ground for maximum impact.
Imagine an advertisement for a Ferrari put in an ordinary newspaper that reaches North Eastern and Pokot, Nairobi, Bungoma and so on. Most of these people won’t ever be potential users of this product.
If you showed the same ad on digital signage at the first class lounge of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you’re sure that out of the 10 people sitting there six, seven, maybe even all are potential users of that product.
In Kenya, digital advertising has the potential to become a Sh2-3 billion a year industry.
BD) How does it work?
We can develop ads for clients or they can bring ready-made ads usually 15 or 30 second long. SpanImage charges between Sh60,000 and 80,000 a month for a 30-second spot for a zone of four screens.
A zone is a group of screens showing the same things at the same time. This entitles them to 144 impressions in a 12-hour period.
Clients we partner with like supermarkets and banks can choose to either lease the digital screens and share the revenues or alternatively they can buy and own the screens and let us provide the content.
BD) Will digital advetising replace still billboards?
Digital advertising can either replace or complement other forms of advertising. Because it is so focused and targeted at particular groups of consumers, digital advertising is ideal for niche marketing. At the same time it has the capability of reaching the mass market because of the sheer volume of screens that can be put up.
Source: BusinessDaily, Kenya