Brands Shouldn’t Treat ‘Creative’ as an Afterthought, says Ad Dynamo CEO –

Digital Marketing

“Digital advertising world is all about skills available”, Sean Riley

As brands and agencies in Africa are maturing they need to move away from treating digital creative and deliverables as an afterthought.
Creatives in this regard refer to images, videos, audio, and other formats that get delivered to users. Creatives must be added to line items in order for them to serve ads.

Sean Riley, CEO Ad Dynamo by Aleph Group, gave this while discussing issues around raising army of digital marketing talents in Africa, particularly in Nigeria.
Talking about skill, he said a part of it is attitude, “for example in a market like UK it’s not unusual for a brand to spend 30 to 35% of total budget on amazing creative.
Facts & Figures about Digital Advertising in Nigeria

  • Total internet advertising revenue is projected to grow from US$73m in 2018 to US$133m in 2023.
  • Online ad market has seen an unprecedented growth between 2015 and 2018, By 2023, online advertising is forecast to generate US$133m on revenue
  • The market’s largest segment is Video Advertising with a market volume of US$87.61m in 2022.
  • 68% of total digital ad spending will be generated through mobile in 2026.
  • Just recently, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON no ARCON), the regulatory body responsible for advertising in Nigeria rolled out plans to regulate online advertising in the country in a bid to sanitise the industry and curb inflammatory advertising messages.

“In most African territories brands treat creative as an afterthought, and if they spend 1 or 2% of the total budget towards creative that’s a lot so we need brands to understand that better creative delivers better results, distinguishes your brand from competitors, helps you to stand out. And so as brands adopt that change in perception it will grow the creative part of the industry. When we talk about digital, everyone focuses on numbers and metrics and the hard mathematical numerical part of the role, but creativity is a critical role to the development of the market”.
While stressing that developing talents is strategic to Ad Dynamo, Sean said now the market is developing, the Continent should preserve its army of talented youths with digital skills.
“I think it would be very arrogant to say that Aleph is going to come and close a skills gap in any market. Aleph wants to be a part of skilling up more resources in the local market. But even without Aleph, and without our efforts on Digital Ad Experts, we’ve observed a rapid decline of the skills set.
“Digital advertising world is all about skills available. Anyone can load 100 dollars on any platform and spend it, but optimising that and building great creative, are all critical attributes to achieving performance.
“We’ve seen that skillset developed in Nigeria. And I think the easiest way of assessing that skillset is assessing the caliber of the people we are busy hiring.
“And the caliber of the people we are finding on the ground has been exceptional. If I think back 10 years ago to today, we think that the team in Nigeria is world class and can hold their own compared to any other market. I think we can put all frills on it, but we are a sales business and the one area we need to get better in Nigeria is (and this is not exclusive to Nigeria, it’s the way in very many of markets we operate in), but I still think it’s an environment to achieve good sales results with relationships”.


The Ad Dynamo CEO, continues: “This is an important part of it, but at the same time you have to get to the point where you are achieving results because you are delivering value. If you are showing compelling results and a compelling outcome it shouldn’t matter if we are best mates or not. That is still a transition that we are busy seeing but we are seeing that transition. We are also seeing brands and agencies maturing a lot. In my last visit we had a lot of big brands stating that one of their KPIs is to pay their suppliers within 7 days…”, he said.
When asked how the current trend of mass migration of talents from Africa, digital marketers inclusive, to Europe, America and other Continent, he insisted that “skills development is key; we are absolutely seeing that trend. I think that what reinforces that for us is that a lot of brands are recognising the gap. Whereas a few years ago brands would pretend there was no gap they now see their depth or how threatened by a fast changing world.

“I think all markets are going to have that challenge, not only Nigeria, of young talent wanting to cast their wings and go on an adventure abroad. I think after time a lot of them (young talents) come back.
“A great illustration for me is that if I were to pull out our top 30 clients from 10 years ago to today at least 30% of our top 10 clients didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Which shows us that the change happening in Nigeria is fast. I think that talking about skill, a part of it is not only skill but attitude, for example in a market like UK it’s not unusual for a brand to spend 30 to 35% of total budget on amazing creative”, the Ad Dynamo CEO said.

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