Mobile Powers S. African Digital Ad Spend Growth

David Murphy

IAB Gustav Goosen

Goosen: "Our IAB SA objective in collaboration with PwC, is to continuously improve on accuracy and frequency of reporting”

Digital ad spend in S. Africa grew by 36 per cent over the last 12 months to R3.4bn (£193.2m), with mobile driving this growth, posting a 182 per cent year-on-year increase in ad spend. The figures come from the IAB/PwC 2015 South Africa Internet Advertising Revenue Report, which also reveals a 60 per cent year-on-year increase in online ad spend, and a 22 per cent increase in search spend.

S. African advertisers spent R2.35bn in 2015 on paid search. Online advertising (display and video) generated R952m, which equates to 27 per cent of total spend. Excluding search, R181m was reported as being spent on mobile advertising.

The way businesses buy digital advertising is changing, with direct sales losing ground. Only 35 per cent of ads were sold this way in 2015. Demand-side platforms (DSPs) and ad exchanges are also becoming a veritable force. The use of programmatic in S. Africa is expected to expand further as the technology evolves.

In its third year, the report continues to map trends in the industry through diverse industry data. Gustav Goosen, IAB head of research council said: “We are delighted at these numbers and the real digital ad spend growth we’re now able to report much more accurately and confidently via the PwC commissioned study. We’ve aimed to stay abreast with the changes in our sector to ensure the data collated and reported by PwC is as true a reflection of actual digital ad spend by S. African advertising clients and agencies to S. African audiences across the internet.”

In order to ensure relevance, the IAB SA worked with PwC on adapting the data collection methodology away from a 100 per cent dependency on SA-based publisher submissions, instead placing much more emphasis on data submissions from the buy-side (clients and agencies). The report now has buy-in from the industry and is seen as an effective yardstick to measure and predict digital advertising spend.

But both the IAB and PwC also recognise that speed is as important as accuracy in reporting the numbers. “The next step is to expedite collation and reporting of the annual numbers; we can’t release 2015 numbers in late 2016 for a real time media category,” said Goosen. “We have to kick-off the 2016 collation earliest in 2017 and aim to report the numbers by end of Q1 in 2017. We call on all our IAB SA members, publishers, agencies and brands, to support us in this goal and ensure they’re ready to submit early 2017 when called upon to do so by PwC. Longer-term, our IAB SA objective in collaboration with PwC, is to continuously improve on accuracy and frequency of reporting.”