Digital adspend: comparison of the top 9 African countries

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Digital AdSpend as Percentage of GDP | July 2021-Banner

In my last eNsight titled “What is the role of agencies in the digital transformation of brands?“, I expressed disappointment at the low contribution of digital to total advertising in South Africa.

Mzansi‘s digital adspend will be 23% in 2021.

This contribution is low, when compared to the projected 2021 global average of 61%!

In addition, South Africa’s projected adspend does not compare favourably with its citizens’ digital consumption trends that put them among the leading nations.

RELATED ENSIGHT:

4 stats that show how South Africa’s digital adoption rates are growing ahead of global trends

The urge to explore the topic of digital adspend further got the better of me.

In this eNsight, I compare the digital adspends of the top 9 African countries by Facebook users – Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Algeria, Kenya, Tunisia, Ghana and Ethiopia.

99% of the relevant data used in this eNsight come from the individual Digital 2021 Reports of the top 9 countries.

Table of Contents

Comparison of total digital adspends of the top 9 African countries

In absolute numbers, this is how the top 9 countries stack up:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Total Digital Index | Facebook Users | Total Digital Advertising Spend | July 2021
Graph 1

However, the type of comparison in Graph 1 does not generate usable insights. It’s a bit like comparing apples with oranges, because it ignores the varying economic sizes of the top 9 countries. 

The ideal way is to compare the top 9 based on their digital adspends as a percentage of their GDP’s.

Here are the results:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Digital AdSpend as Percentage of GDP | July 2021--
Graph 2

Now, that’s better.

As Graph 2 shows, using the digital adspend/GDP formula to determine comparative performance of the top 9 countries makes more sense. This is because the size of each country’s economy is taken into account, which has a direct impact on the resulting size of the digital adspend.

RELATED ENSIGHT:

How top 9 African countries rank on the digital index

My key takeout

Using South Africa’s percentage of total adspend  that goes to digital (23%) as a proxy, the top 9 African countries are not spending enough of their national advertising budgets on digital.

In this context, Kenya is the best of the bad bunch.

No comment regarding Nigeria’s showing in Graph 2.

Comparison of digital advertising segments across the top 9 African countries

Graph 3 below displays the contributions by the main digital advertising segments across the top 9 countries.

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Digital Advertising Segments | July 2021--
Graph 3

Findings

The bulk of digital adspend across the top 9 countries goes to two segments – digital (Google) search and social media.

The distinct exceptions are Nigeria and Ghana, where digital search ads and social media ads dominate respectively. 

Any key insights from this eNsight?

There is some mirroring of digital adspend trends by some of the leading countries on the African continent.

While digital adspend is lower than should be the case, available budgets are spent on the most effective digital media, using South Africa as a proxy for primary channels used by consumers for researching brands.  

Graph 4

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