Since the launch of the first medium in Nigeria in 1859, the advertising industry in Nigeria has grown into a thriving self-sustaining ecosystem valued at US$425 million in 2017 and predictable exponential growth in the years to come. of the dominance of Internet revenues. As many other industries gradually recover and strive to rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this economic powerhouse is expected to remain on a post-covid upward trajectory.
Amid months of grounded planes, closed churches and empty streets, several countries and global economies have felt the shock waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. From real estate to finance and health care – especially health care – almost every sector of the economy has been affected in one way or another. One industry, however, has remained steadfast, resilient, withstanding all knocks and knocks and continuing to thrive despite opposition: advertising.
That’s not to say commercial advertising hasn’t seen its fair share of economic downturns, even plunging considerably in the pandemic year. In fact, many brands have reordered their priorities entirely, opting to engage in COVID-19 awareness campaigns on social media. Others have begun to leverage collaborations with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as the government to consolidate efforts and flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19, and provide relief programs to vulnerable target groups in the within the company – although, in hindsight, this may have been a strategic move to ensure the brands are projected positively at all times.
In any case, the advertising industry around the world is rapidly recovering to pre-pandemic levels and even experiencing exponential growth – a vast contrast to the diminishing returns it began to experience a few years ago. – and the reason is not far-fetched. Several factors are responsible for this drastic turn of events. First, it goes without saying that advertising feeds on consumer behavior. And if there’s one thing we can be sure about in the post-pandemic era, it’s that consumer behavior has changed dramatically. What thriving and innovative advertising businesses have been doing during the pandemic has been changing with the times and seasons consumers were in. This meant moving from regular television and radio advertising to digital advertising. This change was to align with consumers spending more time at home in front of screens. Commuting time has been allocated to excessive viewing of online videos and as a result, digital has reigned supreme.
Today, COVID-19 has definitely accelerated the process of transforming legacy marketing structures and practices for the digital economy. In Nigeria in particular, the pandemic served as an exponential accelerator for connected TV and e-commerce marketing – which, although already in place, were struggling to gain traction. By focusing more on social media and direct selling, retailers have been able to sell their products to a wider audience due to the shift in consumer behavior towards e-commerce channels, thus promoting the growth of the industry e-commerce in Nigeria.
This was not the case in the last decade. Just a few years ago, advertisers in Nigeria spent much of their time, effort and resources trying to encourage consumers to buy something they hadn’t seen or tried. Brands in all industries have struggled to use the power of their online presence to engage potential customers and move them down the marketing funnel via video ads, blogs, email newsletters or other types of digital lead generation activities. Even before the pandemic, converting this online presence into actual sales was a difficult task.
However, COVID-19 has radically changed the rules of the game.
With the pandemic keeping everyone at home, the time spent convincing has been reduced and many more consumers have become more inclined to buy things and use the services they need online. As a result, several mega-corporations across Nigeria have taken advantage, leaving advertisers with no choice but to keep pace, spending an estimated $350 million on advertising and marketing. Although there is no dominant sector, such as telecommunications giant MTN and beverage colossus, Nigerian breweries topped the rankings for the highest spenders of the year.
The influencer niche is an area that has been fully entrenched in the world of advertising. If there’s one thing that’s taken the internet by storm in 2020, it’s influencers. With the rise of social media, apps like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook (Now Meta) have become entertainment hotspots for millennials and Gen Z, more and more people have risen to influencer status , which makes the position crucial for the Nigerian advertising industry. In fact, a survey conducted by the Nigeria Influencer Marketing Report (NIMReport) revealed that more than 30% of advertisers now value influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
Although we are no longer at the heart of the pandemic, there is no doubt that the pandemic has brought about a lasting change in Nigeria’s advertising ecosphere. We may have coined the term “post-covid era”, but in reality, the pandemic has ushered us into a new era, a new season from which we may never return. This means the bar has been permanently raised for advertising agencies and businesses across Nigeria as consumers now hold them to higher standards. What they demand today are tactful and conscious marketing strategies. They no longer ask you if you have what they want, but rather expect you to have what they want.
To navigate this new terrain, advertising in Nigeria will need to be more data- and technology-driven, with advertisers striving to incorporate some form of artificial intelligence or machine learning into the mix. With the right data, ad agencies will be fully equipped to create the right consumer experiences in one or more of the four Cs of marketing dimensions: commerce, community, content, and convenience. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach in these four areas, consumers need a more personalized experience.
Experts such as PWC have predicted that the Nigerian entertainment market is expected to reach $10.8 billion (4.4 trillion naira) in 2023, after reaching $4.5 billion in 2018. With the interconnectedness of advertising and entertainment and the recent tactic of portraying advertising as entertainment, it is imperative that relevant stakeholders properly harness the immense benefits available to the advertising industry. This can be done in several ways, collaboration being paramount. Partnerships between marketing and communications industry groups will broaden the advertising landscape of the Nigerian market and bring world-class advertising opportunities and wider reach to target audiences, clients and agencies. The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Independent Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MIPAN), Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and other leaders in industry should consolidate their expertise in cooperation on growth-oriented activities that will skyrocket the advertising industry in the years to come.
The pandemic has undoubtedly elevated the status of advertising and marketing, with both taking their rightful place as drivers of digital transformation, a key leader in the customer experience journey, and the voice of the consumer – which are all of utmost importance for C-suite frameworks. This means that advertising now has the opportunity to play a vital role in high-level dialogue and decision-making processes, guiding the company’s broader goals and innovation agenda.
For brands willing to be creative and experimental with their advertising strategies, the post-COVID-19 reality is a unique time to aim for greater market share.
Seyi Tinubu is a Nigerian entrepreneur. Seyi is the Chief Executive Officer of Loatsad Promomedia and a member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria