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African research dominated by mobile, social media

There is a cry for insight into African markets, yet there is very little data capability, and what data is available, is often out of date and not accurate. At least, that's the perception.
data/ © dolgachov via 123RF
“The result of this perception is that in Africa we are not going to get to a point very quickly where we can predict what is going to happen,” said Dawn Rowlands, Aegis Media Sub-Saharan Africa CEO. “When clients talk to us, they are looking for campaign performance. “They want to talk to consumers across all browsers, devices and inventory types,” she added.

Rowlands was presenting at the JCDecaux Africa Annual conversation 2018 Connected Brand Stories conference that took place recently in Bryanston.

However, she said, when they did an extensive search on what is available and what can be used and what can be used to potentially innovate across the region to help clients, they found very little email addresses, but a lot of mobile, social and CRM data.

“There is quite a bit of econometric modelling and media data and seeing the modelling happening at top level is a game changer for clients and has led clients to place 25% more, with a 100% growth in digital investment this year,” she said.

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She explained that in the four markets, South Africa Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, they used single source, 80 plus touchpoints to examine one environment and then compare them and track duplication between media. “Devices were used and so we could overly cookie data. This data set allows us to plan media based on engagement.

“That data is building quickly. By March next year you will see some interesting products from us,” she added.


Africa is changing more quickly than we think she said. “No one is starting with a legacy as they are all leap frogging and starting from the beginning. Maybe South Africa’s advertising industry will experience some legacy issues, but not the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, which will go directly into a new model of advertising.”

“Our aim is 200 million connected consumers in Sub Saharan Africa. If you think that the United States has 300 million personal IDs already, then, from an African perspective this is totally achievable,” she added.

While Out of Home (OOH) investments levels in South Africa are very low (5%), in Kenya and Nigeria, they are much higher - 25% and 40% respectively. “When it comes to Digital Out of Home (DOOH) South Africa is even further behind at 2% compared to 10% in Kenya and 40% in Nigeria. Yet people are spending more and more time out of home,” Rowlands said.

“If we can create an environment where we understand the people’s passion in these countries - and there is more to Africa then music and football - than we can create great content."

We underestimate the effect that global and environmental trends are having on Africa, she told the audience. Geopolitical factors often led to a volatile environment.

“When the elections in Ghana were postponed, our figures dropped by 40%. Geopolitical events/factor also have a massive effect on the economy.”

Societal factors include cause marketing which is far more extreme in these environments. Technology is a huge factor. “Most people look at Africa and only see that most people are on feature phones. The reality is that most of the market has worked out how to communicate using less tech enabled devices. Technology challenges are only challenges if we allow them to be,” she stressed.

“In addition, GDP growth and advertisement investment as well as ad spend shows that our business needs to change quite quickly. There is turmoil in our environment."

In the near future, she believed that media companies will be consolidating across the Sub-Saharan African region.
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About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.
I have used digital data collection for a project for the first time this year as it seemed logical, as the penetration was limited and across rural areas. I had comparisons for similar studies conducted 2 years previously conducted in the old fashioned face to face basis. The company uses data drawn from cell phones provided by service providers, and once someone responds they are invited to be on the panel. I am also on the panel to see how it works and get regular requests for participation in on-line surveys. I was surprised at the high level of subscribers for one particular response, as it did not correspond with previous studies and had me worried, to the extent that I intend to replicate the study in one province on a face to face basis to check that the data I am getting is reliable and not generated by "panel participation impetus". I am suspicious of the results and this disturbs me. If I can query something as important as this, how can I be sure of the rest. Does this not necessairly apply to all digitally collected data that is conducted by the large fieldwork agencies who work across Africa? Its the easiest method of data collection these days. But?
Posted on 6 Sep 2018 14:10