Why video content is not king in Nigeria

Marketers are still scratching their heads, trying to decipher why video marketing is not the knight in glittering armour, as projections would often suggest. 

Video content (Adobe blogs)

“If you are not leveraging video in your content marketing in 2017,” a senior marketing manager once said to me, “you are not ready for the new era of marketing.

And he wasn’t wrong. His opinion was not only apt; it also checked the boxes with several projections and trends shaping the digital landscape at the time, and even now. Only a week earlier, HubSpot had predicted that more than 80% of global web traffic will be driven by video in 2019.

YouTube also added its own piece of icing to the cake. According to the video streaming site, mobile video consumption grows 100% every year, with about 90% of customers claiming product videos help their purchasing decisions.

Now, away from all that boring piece of data.

In Nigeria, video content is not king yet. That might be shocking to know. But, just like you, marketers are still scratching their heads, trying to decipher why video marketing is not the knight in glittering armour, as projections would often suggest.

What you will soon realise is that Nigerians may not be engaging with video marketing contents as much. With a population of nearly 200 million people and over 162m mobile subscribers, video marketing has seen an unstable burst of progress punctuated by equal spurts.

What the Numbers Say

According to a recent report by YouTube, which shows the top video ads on its leaderboard, the top 10 Nigerians ads for the year 2018 recorded combined 17m views. The chart was led by Union Bank of Nigeria – Enabling Success which recorded 2.7M views. which saw 2.6m views.

This is closely followed by MTN’s Traditional Wedding Day with 2.6m views, Jumia Black Friday 2018 (2.3M), Stanbic IBTC – Enabling you to be you (2.1M), and UBA’s 919 Dance video which reached 1.6M views.

Elsewhere on the global scene, Amazon Super Bowl LII Commercial alone recorded 50.1m views. YouTube Music’s Open the world of music ad saw 39.5m views, OPPO F7 – Real Support Makes Real Hero (31.7m), Nike – Dream Crazy (27.3m), Turkish Airlines: Safety Video with The LEGO Movie Characters (25.2m).

And 10th placed Rescue Blue the Dinosaur – LEGO Jurassic World – Pick Your Path ad saw 10.8m views, a far cry when compared with Union Bank of Nigeria – Enabling Success which led the Nigerian chart. 

What Nigerians care about

But much of what drives video consumption in Nigeria is music and entertainment. On Tuesday, December 18, Davido’s hit jam “Fall” crossed the 100M views threshold to become the most viewed video by a Nigerian artist.

Earlier in November, Wizkid’s street anthem “Soco” and Davido’s “Assurance” both occupied the top spot of Nigeria’s most viewed videos on YouTube in 2018, with about 27M views apiece. Yemi Alade’s “Bum Bum” and Falz’ The Bahd Guy’s “This is Nigeria” followed with 16M and 15M views in that order.

In 2017, Mark Angel Comedy became the first ever Nigerian YouTube channel to hit the 1Million subscribers’ mark. As at the time of writing, the channel has grown its fan base to 3,787,387 subscribers. That is more than the population of Bayelsa state and Abuja combined.

So, what do Nigerians do online?

Early this year, the Nigerian Communications Commission said Nigeria’s internet users grew to 111.6m in December from 108.45m recorded the previous month. In its 2019 global state of digital report, Hootsuite, a social media marketing platform, found that on the average, these users (Nigerians) spend 194minutes online or 3 hours and 14 minutes – either connecting with friends or just consuming contents.

And more importantly, WhatsApp commands the lion share of users with 85% and trailed directly by Facebook (78%), Instagram (57%), FB Messenger (54%) and YouTube (53%). Not surprising, entertainment, music and sports dominated consumers’ interest across these platforms. Search queries like 2018 movies, Comedy, Chelsea, Yoruba movies, Arsenal, Music, Wizkid topped the chart.

To cut a long story short…

The reasons for the slow progress recorded by video marketing in Nigeria could be multi-layered, and might required further evidence to be established.

But what we can’t deny is that the cost of broadband data, which remains largely expensive in Nigeria, might be one of these factors. The average Nigerian spends about N1,000 or USD 3 to get a gigabyte of internet data – which is usually insufficient to sustain him for the month.

And barely a year after a #DataMustFall protest erupted in South Africa, Nigerians in 2018 initiated a similar remonstration by signing a petition to reject the high cost of data in the country. With the minimum wage still N18,000 (as Nigerians await the implementation of a new wage), streaming videos, with all its implication on data usage, is a luxury many users cannot afford.

Despite the emergence of Free WiFi platforms such as Don Jazzy’s Flobyt, Red Cheetah by SWIFT Networks and the recent Google Stations roll-out, their reach and limited presence means many users still find it hard benefiting from these free data offerings.

What these imply is that, even though Nigerians can’t do without having their ribs cracked by Mark Angel’s hilarious skits or catch up on the latest music videos released by their favourite artists, many users still adopt a minimalist approach to their digital consumption patterns.

No doubt, video remains the future of digital storytelling. Including a video to contents – whether short or long – amplifies your engagement. But until we see a significant shift in the infrastructure and cost challenges facing broadband service providers and the end users, Nigerian consumers might struggle for a while embracing video marketing as they should.

For now, content marketers will have to raise their creativity bar some notches higher to score big in the video marketing game. 

Gilbert, a Media & Communications Professional at Osmosismedia writes from Lagos. Follow him @lasagasy


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke