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Can you provide us with a landscape update of Digital OOH in the African markets and what growth do you predict in this space?

Greg Benatar

Group Sales & Marketing Director

Alliance Media

Greg Benatar

Greg Benatar

24 July . 4 min read . Opinion

Globally there have been exciting developments and innovations in OOH over the last 5-10 years, both in the digital and static space. Between Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) and Programmatic, DOOH is projected to be the fastest growing channel globally by 2026 with estimated ad sales totalling $15B.

The African continent has a well-developed OOH market, and this digital growth is therefore also happening, although not as fast as the rest of the world.

The reasons for this are multiple.

OOH media rates on the African continent are far lower than they are in South Africa, and most definitely Europe, the US and Asia who have led the DOOH revolution. This has meant that investment returns on digital infrastructure in Africa are poor.

Coupled with the fact that investment into infrastructure is in hard currency and media rental income is in local currency, with the consistent annual depreciating local currencies in Africa over the past decade, ROI for potential DOOH investors is not attractive especially with multiple other risk factors considered.

Erratic power supply on the African continent is a further barrier to entry and alternative energy sources of diesel are not viable considering the above low media rates. Whilst solar power would provide a good solution, the solar infrastructure is known as valuable and its ‘plug and play’ attributes make it prone to theft.

Digital Panels that have popped up across the continent have often been installed by non-media owners, who have seen the DOOH revolution globally and thought this would be an easy venture. These entrepreneurs have quickly realised that becoming a media owner in advanced media markets in not easy and with poor returns, many of the screens are no longer switched on and a graveyard of old, cheap LED technology can be seen littering the roadsides of many African cities. Some larger international players have even removed digital inventory.

Having said this, Alliance Media’s 25+ year history in the African Outdoor Media market has given deep insights and they have invested in Digital Out of Home across the continent.

Being known for innovation and with a strong local and international client base, Alliance Media has been able to position DOOH as a premium offering as key sites where constant power is available have been upgraded to digital.

Alliance Media’s DOOH sites in Africa are therefore all Iconic in location rather than simply replacing standard static sites. Due to Alliance Media’s wide presence across Africa, these sites can now be found in most of Africa’s capital cities.

(Credit: Alliance Media DOOH in Ghana)

(Credit: Alliance Media Metro DOOH in Mauritius)

Alliance Media’s strong brand across Africa has meant that they are seen as the ‘go-to’ OOH supplier for both DOOH and Static OOH across the continent and many multi-country DOOH campaigns are booked with Alliance Media.

Whilst these digital sites are innovative, marketers in Africa know that with budgets that are far less than their South African counterparts, they can only afford traditional billboards to deliver not only on upper funnel metrics, but performance driven objectives that will build appropriate reach and high levels of frequency.

Thankfully the DOOH revolution has happened alongside key advances in the Static or Traditional OOH market. Improved accountability through audience measurement and contextual place-based media and incorporating call to action messaging within creative (such as QR codes), Static OOH has increasingly become a part of the lower funnel.

Marketers have realised that whilst static OOH is still great for building brand awareness, it can also drive conversions and lead to real world actions whether it be store visits, web-search inquiries, or purchases.

Static placements do strengthen upper funnel media strategies and build brand awareness on a local level whilst also penetrating a wider reach to secondary regions.

Static sites are 100% SOV and can be used to amplify brand impact through high frequency placements.

African Marketers have therefore been well measured in their approach to DOOH, using it in conjunction with Static OOH and strictly to deliver certain KPI’s.

As a result, programmatic OOH on the continent has been slow to show results.

Each country in Africa has its own set of marketing circumstances and as result, clients look for guidance from trusted media owners that have deep local knowledge and a depth of relevant holding. Alliance Media has therefore been able to introduce DOOH into Africa’s major cities through this local knowledge and having strong local teams on the ground in each market.

Even with the welcomed decrease in costs of technology, the Digitisation of the African Continent from a DOOH perspective will however be slow due to the demand side economics.

Greg has a degree in Economics and has over 25 years’ experience in OOH on the African Continent. Alliance Media has won best Out of Home company in multiple African markets for over 15 consecutive years.