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David Pidgeon 

Vodafone's 'matured' digital strategy reappraises adspend

Vodafone's 'matured' digital strategy reappraises adspend

Vodafone's head of media and sponsorship has said advertisers operating in mature markets should "unlearn" their dependence on online media.

Speaking at the Future of TV Advertising Global, Lisa Walker said the UK was one of the most complex and mature markets in terms of digital adoption, but said: "We have to... unlearn digital reliance where there has arguably been over-investment."

Vodafone, which recently united its consumer marketing and digital division in a bid to boost innovation, and launched a brand refresh and new ad campaign to modernise the business, now operates a "matured digital strategy" according to Walker.

The latest campaign appears in cinemas, outdoor, TV and across Spotify and aims to reach 98% of adults in the UK more than 15 times with its message.

"Many advertisers, including Vodafone, have come to realise that a lot of the social platforms are high frequency but very, very low attention," she said.

"When you are launching a new brand or proposition you can't communicate it in one and half seconds."

Walker, who was previously a managing partner at WPP's Wavemaker and head of digital communications at HSBC, added there has been "a maturity" around how much Vodafone invests in social, and a strategic reappraisal of the different values of video media, from YouTube to broadcast TV.

Referring to VOXI, Vodafone's youth brand, Walker said it launched with online-only advertising due to its start-up budget, "but the brand only accelerated when we went on Love Island - and that's because it's not just a mass reach TV brand, it's social too. It's part of a wider conversation."

Walker's comments were made in the same week that Zenith forecast the UK ad market to grow by 4.9% in 2020, up from 3.2% in 2019.

Driving that growth will be a 6.9% jump in digital spending, and by 2022, the agency expects that 71% of UK adspend will be allocated to digital media.

Globally, online video and social will grow the fastest of any channels between 2019 and 2022, rising by an average of 16.6% and 13.8% a year, respectively.

Meanwhile, growth in TV adspend is expected to remain flat in the short-term, despite Walker stating, "there is a generic understanding that TV builds brands better than any other medium."

As part of Vodafone's shift in digital strategy, last year it took digital biddable media buying in-house, with Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat now handling offline media, strategy and digital in-sourcing after taking over from incumbent Wavemaker in September.

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