Euromaidan and Ukrainian digital: how the situation in the country effects on the work of agencies
Representatives of Ukrainian digital agencies talk about how mass protests have affected their work.
Oleksiy Novikov (Creative Director of Escape): Events in Ukraine strongly impact the Internet audience. Respectively, shocks will not be able to bypass the digital market. The launch of planned and already prepared activities is postponed until better times. I suspect many seasonal things will not be launched because spring is on the nose. There are now virtually no other topics than what is happening in the country for all of us- advertisers, customers, and consumers.
Alexander Kaidannik (CEO & Co-owner COXO Digital): Today, we see a slightly contradictory picture: with a significant increase in audience activity and increased traffic, advertising activity has decreased in some places very much. Traffic to information sites has increased tenfold. Ukrainian Twitter has almost doubled in the last two months, significantly added users in communication services (messengers such as WhatsApp, Viber, Zello), and soared in popularity in the Internet television hromadske.tv. Facebook has even been called the basis of revolutionary events, which is not true, although the role of social networks in what is happening can not be underestimated. On the other hand, advertisers are a bit “suspended”, as most digital activities are highly entertaining, which may seem inappropriate to say the least, given the general stress and flow of sharp, often tragic information.
Victor Shkurba (CCO in ISD Group): I think the impact of the events is generally positive. Less annoying and stupid advertising on the Web. Online media have jumped to a new level, constantly 3-4 broadcasts from the scene. Real public television has appeared: hromadske.tv – constantly shown, invited, discussed, without artificially retouched production of major channels. Probably for the first time in 9 years, I started watching the news.
Yuriy Gladky (SEO Grape Ukraine): Euromaidan and subsequent events revealed the power of social networks as a media organizer. At the same time, we have seen how such events can affect the cost of a click and how the struggle for likes and dislikes occurs. You can still see the formats of information throwing and confrontation of information in online media, social networks, creating fake sites, communities, boycotts of social profiles, pro-government media, products, and many user content initiatives.
Oksana Zavoyko (Managing Partner of Prodigi Agency): In Ukraine, the so-called mouthpiece of freedom has always been two publications – “Ukrainian Truth” and “Correspondent”. The latter belongs to the UMH holding. It was recently bought out, after which it became difficult to count on the integrity of its publications. It has become clear that what people say on Facebook is more important than what the media writes about. Videos of the beating of students (from which, I recall, it all began) spread through social networks – Facebook and Twitter.
Then the history of the media’s influence on the revolution continued with the advent of Public Television, followed by several more – Espresso, Spilno, etc. Now people trust the information spread on social networks much more than the media. The same changes in January affected VKontakte. At first, everything there was kept at an apolitical level, but later videos began to get there.
Changes in cases, projects, and strategies
Oleksiy Novikov: We didn’t have to redo anything, but I know those who will have to!
Oleksandr Kaidannik: Some of our clients have suspended their activities for a while, for some we have reworked content strategies, changing the rhetoric a bit. In this case, we study the problem and find the best solution: rework the creative, change content strategies and rhetoric, or pause.
Viktor Shkurba: The tone calmed down a bit and we had to postpone the launch of several projects.
Yuriy Gladky: Since December 2013, we have postponed the launch of two major projects, in others, we have changed the tone of messages on community pages on social networks. Today, many campaigns are planned with a viral effect. Still, since the Euromaidan events, it is difficult (unreasonable, expensive, pointless) to break through the revolutionary noise that lives on the Internet and is especially noticeable on Facebook. Many people now do not accept any activation from brands at all. Some immediately react negatively to any content in a positive tone or those that are “not about revolutionary events.”
Oksana Zavoyko: The Internet has had a massive impact on what is happening in Ukraine today. This, of course, directly affected the communication of brands, because at a difficult time for the country to say “Like and win a prize” became completely inappropriate. Many customers have now stopped their advertising activities. Some campaigns we had to change, and some were postponed, when it’s over.
What will change in the digital industry
Oleksiy Novikov: It seems that someone has learned to coordinate the actions of tens of thousands of people via the Internet – even better than in 2004. But Twitter will not take off in Ukraine again, although all the preconditions for this were there. I hope that all these events will force Ukrainian “thought leaders” to move to a qualitatively new level of awareness of the importance of the Internet: first, they just scored on it, then pretended to understand everything, but it turned out formally and ticked, and now have to learn this channel responsibly.
Oleksandr Kaidannik: I am sure that there will be many exciting things in the future: changes are taking place in the country at all levels, and changes are always new opportunities. As for the digital sphere, it seems to me that the main trends will not change. On the contrary, what is happening has confirmed the importance and enormous potential of digital tools. In addition, the Internet will not catch up with TV, just as there will be no significant inflation in online media: everyone who wanted to raise prices raised them at the end of last year; mobile, banner advertising, and context will show the traditional growth. We hope that 3G will finally appear in Ukraine this year.
Viktor Shkurba: It is too early to think about changes and the future, it is difficult to predict. As soon as we solve internal problems, there will be a default, and here depends on many factors on how we will survive this digital environment.
Yuriy Gladky: I believe that we will learn new runes of development in a life free from corruption and criminal regime and in digital when people will be able to return to their favorite business with their heads.
Attitude to mass protests
Oleksiy Novikov: Everyone in our team treats it differently. Everyone understands what is happening in their way, and we always have something to argue with each other.
Victor Shkurba: We have different attitudes – the range of colors: from indifference to active support. Most, of course, are worried and empathetic.
Oleksandr Kaidannik: COXO Digital is an advertising agency. Our task at this time (however, as in any other) is to solve our customers’ communication and marketing problems, which is what we do. If we were an information agency engaged in analytics and modeling or, for example, political technology, then yes, but our current competencies are on a completely different plane.
Yuriy Gladky: Everyone chooses the way and opportunities to help Maidan, and I, as a leader, have an understanding attitude to their position. The advertising business is a common cause of people and teams. We will do our job.