Nigeria is fast becoming a key market for online advertising. The current economic situation has accelerated the trend, as brand managers are increasingly required to justify media spend in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). But while billboards have enjoyed great popularity amongst major advertisers, the market saturation has seen this marketing tool lose its power in recent years. At the same time, people are doing more on their smartphones: consuming content, entertaining themselves, paying bills and shopping.
“The 5 inch screen on your phone has become a key battleground for brands to catch your attention. Smartphone users spend more time online, and you can sell much better ads on smartphones, so this helps to boost the market,” said Vytas Paukstys, CEO of Eskimi DSP.
According to a mobile trend report released in August 2016, Nigeria ranks ahead of India and South Africa with 76 percent of its Internet traffic coming from mobile. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of smartphone users in Nigeria increased from 4 million to 15.5 million On the continent as a whole, mobile subscribers hit 557 million in June 2016, an increase of 180 million subscribers from 2011.
The report further reveals that Nigerian subscribers now buy data worth fifteen times more than they did in 2011. This is due to the data price wars embarked on by the mobile operators. In 2011, N1000 would get you 260MB but today, you can get 1.5gB (1500MB) for the same price.
With more people online via phone, coupled with the squeeze on budgets, brands are more likely to spend N1m online, than N10M on outdoor advertising. Billboards have longer contract terms, while many digital marketing companies are happy to offer a free trial, followed by shorter term contracts. Brands normally dip their toes into the online space through social media marketing (Facebook, BBM Instagram) or through Google Search. The wider audience, however, is in display advertising. Social media marketing is limited by the subscriber base (Twitter only has 6m users in Nigeria), whereas search marketing requires a person to initiate a search on Google or Bing (such as schools in Lagos). Display marketing gives more options and control to the advertiser, especially via Programmatic Advertising.
What is Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic aggregates many ad platforms such as Google Display Network, such that, from a single supplier (Demand Side Platform or DSP), one can advertise on thousands of sites and apps. It makes it possible to restrict ad displays to specific locations (like Eastern states), target online behaviour, or socio-economic class.
Additionally, programmatic usually uses a database where all information about users is stored – this is called a Data Management Platform.
Where does Eskimi come in?
Since its launch in 2009, Eskimi social network , has become recognised as a viable conduit for reaching the urban youth population. 70 percent of Eskimi’s 10m monthly average users are between the ages of 18 and 35, concentrated in urban areas.
“While working with Eskimi social platform, we saw that some of our brand partners, while engaging with our audience, lacked the platform to meet all their advertising needs,” said Vytas.
In this light, Eskimi DSP, an Africa-focused programmatic platform was created. This programmatic platform which was launched in Nigeria reaches beyond their initial audience to serve ads on about 20,000 sites and apps, viewed by Nigerian browsers. Eskimi DSP is thus able to give brands access to about 40m potential customers, through their phones. With that size of inventory, segmentation and targeting are crucial for the success of the campaign. As an advertiser, there is nothing as frustrating as seeing your ad six times on the web page. Their capping feature makes sure campaigns are deployed in an efficient manner, targeting the right customers at the right time, and limiting the number of times they appear. They are also able to target by age, gender, location, device type.
In developing this business line, the company took into consideration uniquely African characteristics: they are able to serve ads to feature phones; they represent 70 percent of the market. They also serve ads on proxy browsers such as UC Brower and Opera Mini, which are highly popular in Nigeria. To make easier to do business, Eskimi DSP accepts payments in local currency. While they are an international company with a strong local presence, which keeps product development efforts relevant to the market, Eskimi DSP remains globally aware.
Eskimi has also launched a Data Management Platform, which builds consumer profiles by merging demographic info (age, gender, location) with browsing habits, and proven interests. This allows a communication message to hone in on very specific niches, for maximum effect.
Eskimi’s approach to making audiences available to advertisers, sped up the move to become a Mobile-First marketing platform for Nigerian brands.