Media and corporate advertising spend down Kshs. 31.8B on covid

Written By: Ronald Owili

Reelanalytics Senior Researcher Enock Mokaya (left) and Marketing Society of Kenya CEO Edward Oswe during the launch of the 2020 Advertising Spends Report. PHOTO | Courtesy

Media and corporate advertising spend dropped 21% to Kshs. 31.8 billion in 2020 as coronavirus pandemic battered Kenyan businesses in 2020.

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According to the 2020 Advertising Spends Report by Reelanalytics and Marketing Society of Kenya, the last year’s spend amounting to Kshs. 122.3 billion was lower than Kshs. 154.1 billion recorded in 2019 due to a significant reduction in brand marketing activities and paid for advertising.

Almost all sectors of the economy were adversely affected by COVID-19. The top most affected sectors were; communication, media and finance, sectors which recorded significant drop in advertising spends during the year,” said Reelanalytics senior researcher, Enock Mokaya.

Reelanalytics says in the report that media industry recorded the highest advertising activity last year, highly attributed to self-advertising news outlets which accounted for more than 12% of the total ad spend rate card value.

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Whereas the exact number of free airtime can only be accurately determined by individual media houses, there was in excess of 8.2 billion rate card value spends that can be directly attributed to self-advertising as well as unpaid for COVID-19 related advertising during the period under review,” Mokaya added.

Media was the biggest spender for the year 2020 with rate card advertising valued at KSh 17.7 billion followed by finance at Ksh 16.5 Billion, as communication came third at 16.3 billion.

Government crackdown and rules restricting advertisement hours by betting firms as well as reduced sporting activities last year due to COVID-19 also saw advertising expenditure shrink 68% to Kshs. 9.9 billion in 2020 from Kshs. 30.4 billion in 2019, which is the largest drop compared to other sectors.

Nonetheless, Kenya’s social industry recorded a 325% rise in ad spend, the highest growth in ad expenditure for all sectors last year largely driven by huge campaigns by the state and private firms on COVID-19 awareness campaigns.

As the new normalcy set in, advertising messaging by most players carried a COVID-19 sensitization component. It’s also important to note that there was a huge chunk of unpaid for ads especially those on COVID 19 as well as self-advertising,” according to Marketing Society of Kenya CEO Edward Oswe.

The social industry recorded Ksh. 11.89billion on advertising compared to Ksh 2.7 billion in 2019.

Other industries that recorded growth in expenditure were agriculture by 17% and personal care by 6%.

Ministry of Health Advertising spends also ballooned by 1038% in rate card value from 0.4% in 2019 to 6% in 2020 according to the report.

Other firms that recorded increased advertising expenditure in 2020 were GlaxoSmithKline by 128%, Standard Group by 41% and KCB Group by 18%.

Reelanalytics says Finance and beverage Industries increased their expenditure in outdoor advertising by an average of 2% in 2020.

In spite of ravaging effects of COVID-19, EABL dominated The Out of Home (OOH) space advancing their different brands across the country by utilizing different platforms for maximum reach, according to MSK CEO.

The pandemic also led to a shift in TV media consumption compared to radio as advertising activity was highest on TV, growing marginally by 1% year on year while radio consumption declined by 10% when compared to 2019.

Internet consumption trends through social media platforms changed in 2020 with WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter ranking top three compared to 2019 when the top three slot was controlled by WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube due to a growing desire by youthful population to get updates and follow developments around the pandemic from various parts of the world.

In as much as the use of social media has helped people to interact with friends and family during the pandemic, it has also helped many to boost their mood and a sense of wellbeing especially during this difficult period. Moreover, the use of these social media platform has also helped many to pass time by creating a feeling that they need to be “busy” at a time when they had so much time in their hands,” said Realanalytics senior researcher Enock Mokaya while launching the report.

Internet consumption on WhatsApp was the highest at 36% in 2020 compared to 32% the previous year.

Facebook internet use grew from 31% to 35% in 2o2o while Twitter came third retaining 10% use to take YouTube’s 2019 position after internet consumption dropped from 12% in 2019 to 7% last year.

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