The amount of money spent in the advertising market in Armenia has remained almost unchanged in recent years. Experts estimate that there was an approximately 5–10% increase in 2017, compared to 2016.
According to Tanya Torosyan, director of the Media Group advertising agency, Armenia’s advertising market (without barters) comprises about $65–70 million. The lion’s share of this amount (65–68%) belongs to television, 20–22% is given to outdoor advertising, and 9–10% to online advertising. Print media’s and radio’s budgets are paltry.
What has changed in the television advertising market
“Television’s advertising budget hasn’t changed for three years now. Instead, there is an allocation of the budget: money from television goes to the internet. The outdoor advertising and radio budget increased by about 3–5%,” says Torosyan.
According to her, television has found a way to resist this challenge.
The Media International Service sales house (which, by GRP [Gross Rating Point], sells advertising for five TV companies in Armenia: Armenia TV, Shant TV, ArmNews, ATV, and Yerkir Media) last year began to encourage companies with small advertising budgets — to sell not only ratings, but also advertising minutes.
“Prior to that, it was acceptable to say that TV advertising is an expensive pleasure. Small advertisers avoided television and went mainly to radio or online platforms. The sales house created two different price lists for local and foreign advertisers,” says Torosyan.
And this situation, according to her, led to TV’s approximate 20–25% increase with the help of small advertisers in the total number of ratings sold (GRP) — in various portions at various TV companies.
Another important change in the sector is that many well-known international companies, Mars, Jacobs, and so on, went off the air, preferring outdoor advertising and online platforms: Google, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yandex, and so on.
The expert explains that many of these companies wanted to spend less money but get a more effective ad, since it’s possible to target audiences with narrow interests on international online platforms.
Problems of online advertising
“The fastest growing segment of advertising at this moment is the internet, but the problem connected to measuring Armenian websites continues to concern us. To have more effective advertising, advertisers invest in not Armenian, but foreign platforms. For this reason, a significant portion (70–80%) of the Armenian budget of online advertising leaves the country. They’re not satisfied with a target audience based on assumptions; they want to understand with mathematical accuracy who their consumer is (age, gender, character, profession, and so on),” explains the ad agency director.
Arsen Sultanyan, founder of the Caramel advertising agency that specializes in the online space, says that recently a foreign company for business purposes studied Armenia’s online advertising market and being convinced that it’s small, it decided not to launch a business here.
“Advertisers want to have a clear understanding of where they’re going to place their ad, who the target audience is, what preferences it has, and so on. But at this moment we have no information how many users from Armenia are on YouTube and what characteristics this audience has. The same goes for Google,” he says.
Sultanyan, unlike Torosyan, is more modest in his appraisal of the amount of money in Armenia’s online advertising market: not $6.5 to $7 million, but $2.5 million.
According to his estimates, this figure will increase by an additional $200–$300 thousand in 2018.
The local market’s advertisers, according to the expert, are mainly interested in placements on Facebook and Instagram, with Google and YouTube in second place.
“Advertisers already have an interest in audience quality. They’ve begun to pay attention not to viewing, but to the outcome. What’s important is the action taken after clicking on the button, how much time the viewer spent on the website, then what links it followed, did it search for something in search engines, and so on,” explains Sultanyan, adding that in many cases the advertiser is ready to pay for quality actions.
According to him, one of the tendencies common in the sector is embedded advertising, when embedded in the content is a video, interactive advertising content, tests, educational material connected to the brand, or a story about the brand.
The experts agree that Armenian news media sites are not yet established as a platform for advertising.
“Advertising on Armenian news sites will work well if there’s a correct approach. Editors are focused on their news activities and aren’t ready to pay a separate specialist. On the other hand, there are few experts who can correctly monetize a news website,” says Sultanyan.
Artificial movement in outdoor advertising market
According to Torosyan, there was movement in the outdoor advertising market last year: the reason was the Yerevan Outdoor Advertising Festival. Within the framework of the festival, foreign experts came and shared their experience and knowledge.
As a result, new creative solutions and approaches were applied in the outdoor advertising market.
Last year, the municipality decided that agencies won’t pay fees for empty billboards if social ads were placed there instead.
“The sector immediately responded to this decision and began to place social ads, but it’s unclear whether that’s good or bad because there’s the impression that all the billboards are full and the sector is growing. If we put aside the social ads, in reality the growth dynamic isn’t that great, about 3–5%,” he remarks.
And radio advertising…
“Advertisers aren’t that enthusiastic of platforms that aren’t measured. Radio isn’t measured. When you speak to a radio company, they say we’re in the top three,” says Torosyan.
Only companies with small budgets who, having no other options, place ads on radio. “Thanks to small companies, there was a small inflation in radio’s advertising budget. It is considered a helper advertising carrier, which financial-credit companies usually make us of.”