Loadshedding – the rationing of electricity supply via the national grid at times of insufficient supply – is significantly changing how South African consumers behave, live and shop according to reports from Bloomberg and WARC. 

It is also affecting how brands and advertisers are choosing to spend their out of home budgets. 

We asked Simon Wall, CEO and founding shareholder of Tractor Outdoor, how out of home media owners are adapting to the “new normal” and how ad management platforms like DoohClick support and assist. 

© Nick Muzik

First of all, how are advertisers and media owners responding to and dealing with loadshedding?

Simon: Advertisers are mainly shifting towards power backed up digital sites, especially on roadside digital. Some media owners have started installing alternate power sources for their digital sites, however only a few roadside digital sites in the market are currently fully back-up power.


How is Tractor Outdoor helping advertisers in this respect?


Simon: Our Digilites offer clients an always-on digital solution as it has continuous power supply granted by the backup power in forecourts. We are seeing a strong uptake of Digilites campaigns. Tractor is also offering clients a money back guarantee. Smart technology has also been installed on all our screens to ensure that only real ad plays are recorded and reported on. We also believe in end-to-end transparency and our reporting standards adhere to this principle.


What sort of solutions / options are available?

Simon: One of the ways media owners are responding to the challenges presented by loadshedding is making up ad plays lost during loadshedding. However, this is impacting loop-based buys as it is increasing more screen sharing time for advertisers as media owners play catch up for lost ad plays. One solution that we have implemented at Tractor is our share of voice approach. This means that our clients are ensured of their share of screen time within a loop to ensure they receive maximum exposure and impact for their media investments.


What sort of changes to ad schedules are you seeing to meet changing customer behavior brought about by loadshedding?


Simon: Many advertisers are focusing on site selection close to retail points, especially as shopping frequency is increasing. As an example, we are seeing an increase in demand for our Digilites as it is close to point of purchase at forecourts. Furthermore, advertisers are increasingly harnessing the creative flexibility of DOOH and adapting their messaging for time-of-day relevance when people are more primed to shop for certain items, i.e., coffee advertisements in the morning and meal delivery services in the afternoon.


What does an ad management platform like DoohClick provide in terms of keeping track of what ads are served, scheduling and accurate reporting?


Simon: Sophisticated ad management platforms like DoohClick offers us the ability to schedule, track and report campaigns based on Share of Voice. What this means is that our clients not only get the number of plays committed to but that they can determine comparatively how much screen time they get within a loop. Another key aspect of using DoohClick as our ad management platform is its superior reporting mechanism, meaning that our clients can be confident that they are getting what they’ve paid for.


What DOOH advertisers need to know in a loadshedding world

According to analysis published by Bloomberg’s The Media Online and WARC, loadshedding and associated power surges are causing widespread damage to home appliances and loss of refrigerated food, forcing consumers to adopt different behaviours and practices to cope.  

  • Around 60% of consumers have purchased a gas cooking appliance, according to The Media Online
  • Significant numbers have also bought or hired alternative energy sources including generators (34%), inverters (25%) or solar power (24%). 
  • 72% buy fewer groceries more often to reduce the risk of food wastage.
  • 67% say the sort of meals they prepare has changed significantly due to loadshedding.
  • 48% say they are eating out more because they are unable to cook during loadshedding. 

How to drive success in the Out of Home Industry. Read our Tractor Outdoor case study.