Brands shouldn’t treat ‘creation’ as an afterthought, says Ad Dynamo CEO –


As brands and agencies in Africa mature, they need to stop treating digital creation and deliverables as an afterthought.

In this regard, creatives refer to images, videos, audio files and other formats that are delivered to users. Creatives must be added to line items for them to serve ads.

Sean Riley, CEO of Ad Dynamo of Aleph Group, gave this while discussing the issues of raising an army of digital marketing talent in Africa, especially Nigeria.

Speaking of competence, he said part of it was attitude, “for example, in a market like the UK, it’s not unusual for a brand to spend 30-35% of their total budget to incredible creations.

Facts and Figures on Digital Advertising in Nigeria

  • Total Internet advertising revenue is expected to grow from US$73 million in 2018 to US$133 million in 2023.
  • The online advertising market experienced unprecedented growth between 2015 and 2018. By 2023, online advertising is expected to generate $133 million in revenue
  • The largest market segment is video advertising with a market volume of US$87.61 million in 2022.
  • 68% of total digital ad spend will be generated via mobile in 2026.
  • Just recently, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON no ARCON), the regulatory body responsible for advertising in Nigeria, rolled out plans to regulate online advertising in the country with the aim of cleaning up the industry and to curb inflammatory advertising messages.

“In most African territories, brands treat creation as an afterthought, and if they spend 1-2% of the total budget on creation, that’s a lot, so we need brands to understand that a better creative gets better results, sets your brand apart from competitors, helps you stand out.So as brands embrace this shift in perception, the creative part of the industry will increase.When we talk about digital, everything the world is focused on numbers and metrics and the hard mathematical numerical part of the role, but creativity is an essential role for market development”.

While emphasizing that talent development is strategic for Ad Dynamo, Sean said that now that the market is growing, the continent should preserve its army of talented young people with digital skills.

“I think it would be very arrogant to say that Aleph is going to come and fill a skills gap in any market. Aleph wants to participate in training more resources in the local market. But even without Aleph, and without our efforts on digital advertising experts, we have seen a rapid decline in skills.

“The world of digital advertising is all about the skills available. Anyone can load $100 on any platform and spend it, but optimizing that and creating a great creative is all essential attributes to achieve performance.

“We have seen this skill set develop in Nigeria. And I think the easiest way to assess those skills is to assess the caliber of the people we’re hiring.

“And the caliber of people we find on the ground has been exceptional. If I think back 10 years ago to today, we believe the Nigeria team is world class and can hold their own against any other market. I think we can put all the frills on it but we are a sales business and the only area we need to improve in Nigeria is (and that’s not exclusive to Nigeria, that’s how we operate on many markets), but I still think it’s an environment to get good sales results with relationships.

The CEO of Ad Dynamo, continues: “It’s an important part, but at the same time you have to get to the point where you get results because you bring value. If you show compelling results and a compelling result , whether we’re best friends or not. It’s always a transition that we’re busy seeing, but we’re seeing that transition. You’re also seeing a lot of brands and agencies maturing. On my last visit, from many big brands have said that one of their KPIs is to pay their suppliers within 7 days…” he said.

When asked how the current trend of massive migration of talent from Africa, including digital marketers, to Europe, America and other continents, he insisted that “ skills development is key; we are absolutely seeing this trend. I think what reinforces that for us is that a lot of brands recognize the gap. Where a few years ago brands pretended there was no gap, now they see their depth or how threatened they are by a rapidly changing world.

“I think all markets are going to have this challenge, not just Nigeria, young talents wanting to spread their wings and go on an adventure overseas. I think over time a lot of them (young talents) come back.

“A good illustration for me is that if I were to remove our top 30 customers from 10 years ago to today, at least 30% of our top 10 customers didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Which shows us that the change that is happening in Nigeria is fast. I think talking about skills it’s not just about skills but also about attitude, for example in a market like the UK it’s not unusual for a brand to spend 30-35% of its total budget for amazing creatives,” the Ad Dynamo CEO said.


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