Juliet Ehimuan

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Advertising in the Digital Age: An Interview

December 15, 2022

Introduction to Tech

I loved the sciences as much as the arts when I was growing up, but technology had an edge as computing was the new wave at the time. I was excited by the possibilities it had to offer and I found that I had a passion for it.

I studied Computer Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife as a first degree, went on to acquire a Postgraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, and I have been involved in the tech sector ever since.

Technology and its huge potential for transforming lives has always been of great interest to me. Upon graduation, my first job was at Shell working on software solutions in the Telecoms department.

Since then my career has basically centered around various facets of technology ranging from software automation and business transformation projects at Microsoft UK to large technology projects like the national SIM card registration project at Chams, to technology consulting and entrepreneurship.

For the last eight years, I have been leading the Google team in Nigeria and our business strategy across West Africa.


Google and Advertising

Technology has completely transformed the advertising process, and Google has been a driving force of that paradigm shift.

In the past, an advertiser would place an ad on TV, radio, print and have it broadcast. It was difficult to know who saw the ad and the impact.

Everyone understood that advertising was essential but there was a lot of uncertainty about its impact and results; and what parts of an advertising mix were actually effective.

With Google’s ad platforms and other digital ad platforms, it is different.

An ad can be tailored to specific individuals based on a range of criteria including demographics, location, and interests.

Whether you are on Google Search, YouTube, using your phone, tablet, or on a computer, Google ad technologies can provide you with targeted ads tailored and customized for you.

With different tools available, impact can be measured, and effectiveness can be determined. This completely transforms the ability of advertisers can access the value of products and the relevance of ads to users.

Google has basically democratized advertising. It is no longer limited to those who can afford to advertise on newspapers TV stations, radio, or billboards.

Every mobile phone, every computer, is now an ad platform. Organisations can connect with users in moments that matter to them and target them with information relevant to their interests.

When users are searching for information they can be shown ads directly relevant to their enquiry.

For example someone looking to go to a particular restaurant in VI will find information not just about the restaurant they are searching for but few others in the area that may even be better.


The Rise of Digital

Some advantages of digital advertising over traditional advertising are the ability to keenly target consumers, work with more flexible budgets, plus track and measure effectiveness. These are very important for entrepreneurs who often have budget constraints.

With digital advertising, more customisation is possible – different users can see different ads based on targeting attributes like their demographic information, location and even the tech platform they are using.

Also, there was a time when the only successful advertisers and brands were those with a budget large enough to buy air-time, radio time, and print media space.

Smaller brands had to rely on word of mouth, and even the most successful bricks-and-mortar businesses were only known within a limited radius.

Today, with a modest advertising budget and a real product offering solutions to customers in need of the service, a business may be of any size, may choose to be purely virtual, and still sell to customers all around the world.


The YouTube Edge

It is paramount for entrepreneurs and small business owners to a YouTube strategy. Copy and imagery can only take you so far. Videos add an extra edge of visibility and intimacy between the buyer and the brand.

People ultimately buy from people they can trust, so seeing the product in use by way of tutorials or how-to videos, or watching the expert speak on a subject engenders trust which leads to sales.

A large part of advertising is understanding the right advertising channels for your offering and how to optimise the channels.


Winning with Google

First, I would recommend Google My Business which helps any business owner to create a free online profile that appears when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search of Maps.

More information on this can be found at https://www.google.com/business/.

Secondly, beyond Google Search, Google has extensive partnerships collectively called the Google Display Network (GDN).

It is the largest and most visited website group on the internet able to reach 90% of Internet users, and comprising more than 2 million publisher sites – any website, app, or video that is set-up to be monetized with Google Ads is a part of the Google Display Network.

Ads can be run on the GDN taking advantage of various targeting options –  audience targeting, keyword targeting, website targeting, app targeting, and more.

Finally, from my observation, people don’t even exhaust what Google Search can do.

Google extensions such as a visible, direct-call contact phone number, location proximity, or sending text messages directly to your company phone straight from the Google page are all features that boost conversion and create income for the SME.

Also, understanding keywords, metatags and phrasing all help smaller businesses in creating content about their offering that makes it both relevant and appealing to a potential consumer. There are also strong remarketing capabilities available.


Advertising in the Digital Age

I believe every single business, regardless of the offering, must have a digital presence and I believe that advertising practitioners must incorporate digital marketing as an integral part of their marketing strategy.

In order to stay relevant, advertising practitioners must master the science behind digital marketing, and keep up to date on trends as the digital world evolves.

The reality is that almost everyone is now online. In the past, most people would need to physically go to a location to view a product or service.

Increasingly those transactions are taking place online. Even personal interactions are increasingly happening online via email and social media platforms.

Clients must go where their customers are. Once upon a time clients would relax mostly by watching TV. Now they are spending a lot of time on digital platforms, watching YouTube videos or browsing the Internet.

For a business to stay relevant, it is important to meet your customers where they are.

They are on Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It is vital to engage with your users and prospective clients on those platforms.

This article was originally published in The Spark > Read Here


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