Influencing consumer behaviour is the name of the game and social media is fast changing the playing field.
By Kanyinsola Ojeshina
‘’Joygirl, you can’t help the looks you get, all the guys can’t help but stop and see, you got that joygirl quality! ‘’
If you were around in the 1980’s, you can probably remember every scene from that advert. It was one of the best ones out at the time.
Back in the day, there were 4 major ways to reach people: billboards, posters/flyers, radio and TV.
could print out tons of posters and pass them around your neighbourhood or stick them to every available surface, you could get your ad put up on TV and be sure that come 6 O’clock, everyone would be tuned in to NTA to watch whatever was on screen or you could make a catchy jingle and get consumers to sing along to it on the radio.
Those were the days of the baby boomers and Generation Xers- the people born between the 1940’s to the 1980’s – when production companies only had to consider those four major channels for brand visibility.
Nobody was analysing data to see if viewers enjoyed them because viewers had no choice.
People would read posters, watch adverts on TV, listen to whatever was on the radio and like it because that’s what was on. Period.
A recent study from Inavero and Upwork shows that there are some major differences in the characteristics of baby boomers and Generation Xers when compared to the more recent millennial and Z generations.
The report showed that a majority of the former were generally more threatened by technology and typically stuck to the older ways of doing things.
Couple this with the fact that by a 2016 Bloomberg report, Nigerian youth make up over 50% of the nation’s population and we begin to get a sense of what has changed in the eyes of product manufacturers and service providers and why the nature of advertising had to change along with it.
Enter the world of Social Media.
Millennials and Generation Zers were introduced to social media from very tender ages and have watched it grow into the giant that it has become over the years.
Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google- everywhere you turn there is a medium of expression for individuals and brands to communicate their messages, and guess who is constantly plugged in? Millenials and Gen Z.
According to a recent PWC Global Consumer Insights Survey; almost 40% of consumers are moving away from traditional forms of entertainment; more than 50% of millennials and Gen Z consumers are constantly online; and social media ads are now ranked as the third most effective form of advertising across all generations as well as the most effective form of advertising to millennials and Gen Zers.
Going by these stats, if over 50% of the Nigerian populace are millennials and Gen Z, it is only logical for anybody marketing a product or service to begin to think about how best to get their attention on social media.
While there are several forms of marketing on social media today- one that stands out in Nigeria and across the world is the ‘Influencer’ strategy.
Every brand is now interested in signing the most popular artiste, comedian, actor or athlete- to name a few- with the sole aim of using those individuals to influence consumer behavior. What’s more? It works!
A Nielsen’s Global Survey of Trust in Advertising reported that consumers have a high level of trust for influencer recommendations and online opinions and, in line with this, several brands across the globe have realized that if they get a prominent figure to speak for their brand- that’s already half the job, done.
In fact, the influencer system has worked so well, that many people in the new generation are including ‘Social Media Influencer’ when asked their career choices.
So, advertising has morphed into this completely different thing- where social media is the real influencer and everything that brands do is centered around controlling consumer behavior in that space.
More people in advertising are doing away with the plain old vanilla response; ‘I work in advertising’ and identifying more as ‘Social Media Marketer’, ‘Digital Marketer’, ‘Social Media Strategist’ and several other variations.
With all these facts and figures, it is easy for many to assume that there are no better ways to advertise than by social media but we have to realize that advertising will take on many more faces yet.
In 2015, PWC predicted that online advertising will grow at an alarming rate compared to TV, radio and whatever else and will surpass them by 2021, but nobody can predict what the next ten years hold for advertising.
If I had to guess? I would say that the revolution will not be televised- but perhaps it could be streamed, downloaded, liked or subscribed to. Or perhaps it could be more.
Editorial Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.