One thing is clear, OOH in Africa is evolving rapidly. As it develops, it no longer just covers roadside (billboards, wraps), retail/store media, moving transit (buses, taxis), stadium media, static transit media (ranks, airports) and activations but has also moved into digital (DOOH) and mobile. The ways in which data is considered, gathered and analysed is changing with the times.
At the recent Pan African Media Research Organisation (Pamro) conference in Dar es Salaam in August, Lyn Jones, group marketing manager of Continental Outdoor Media, posed the question of how to establish a uniform, harmonised and standardised currency for OOH in Africa. Much of the South African OOH research studies from the past have been fragmented, inconsistent and disjointed. This has been aggravated by poor samples, lack of continuity and very expensive isolated surveys that get shelved or are forgotten after one year.
“One of the major inhibitors of OOH advertising adoption has been the lack of tools to measure audience and campaign effectiveness compared with other types of advertising,” said Jones.
Yet, despite this, senior delegates of the highest calibre from all over the world descended upon Tanzania at Pamro. “Something is happening here,” says Terry Murphy, marketing and marketing services executive at Primedia Outdoor, “there’s a lot more going on in Africa than you might think.”
Classic billboards take the cake
Some of the latest data reveals that DOOH is growing exponentially around the world and is currently on trial in Sub Saharan Africa to evaluate cost-effectiveness. In Jones’ view, this area will see significant growth and account for 30% of OOH revenues by 2018 in Africa. Yet, classical OOH mediums will still offer advertisers opportunities to make a strong impact.
Jones reiterated that traditional roadside billboards are still the most popular form of outdoor advertising, ahead of traditional billboards at shopping centres, street furniture and transit advertising. She said, “Outdoor generally comprises of between 20 and 25% of ad-spend, ahead of print but behind radio and TV.”
The PwC Continental Outdoor study 2014 showed that urbanisation is still the key growth driver for OOH infrastructural growth. In her talk, Jones cited some statistics which showed urban outdoor advertising reach over a seven day period in some African countries. The results were: Zambia 63%, Angola 67%, Botswana 85%, Zimbabwe 77%, South Africa 74%, Tanzania 68%, Malawi 66% and Mauritius 72%.
“We’ve also done research that indicates that overall reach increases when campaigns are rotated,” says Jones. However, unrotated campaigns build more frequency, so there is a trade off between reach and frequency.
A Millward Brown Study in 2012 (commissioned by Continental to demonstrate the impact of rotation on a number of OOH campaigns in Dar es Salaam and measure the Citilites in terms of reach and frequency billed) evaluated four campaigns over 12 weeks. The results for media penetration on weekdays were 88% reading newspapers, 51% reading magazines, 22% using internet for something other than e-mail, 18% using internet on mobile phone, 93% travelling or walking about and 91% listening to the radio.
SES are like LSMs but better
Companies like GeoPoll and Cuende generated tremendous interest among the delegates at Pamro as they’re introducing game-changing methodologies to the global out of home industries.
GeoPoll has a network of 200 million users across Africa and Asia and they’re geared to help marketers plan their activity by mining their massive database in markets that have essentially skipped the desktop and migrated straight to mobile technology. “They deliver the perfect trifecta, quick turnaround, competitive pricing and solid quantitative outputs based on mobile panels,” explains Murphy.
GeoPoll is one of the largest providers of overnight audience measurement data in Africa, covering 360 million people with daily TV, radio and print rating.
The new Quantum research software from Cuende will certainly, as it gets underway, lead to significant and broad-based changes.
“The increasing sophistication of measurement tools will be key to sustained growth in OOH,” Jones said.
Murphy views Cuende’s satellite network- based big data as something futuristic out of Orwell’s 1984 and Spielberg’s Minority Report. “When we talk big data I mean big – they store more data than Facebook, more than 100 petabytes worth. They record 2.5 million KM2 of the earth’s area every single day and will very soon bring metrics to the OOH industry that will transform it into one of the most accurately measured media types around,” she said enthusiastically.
Also at Pamro, chief innovation partner at TNS South Africa Neil Higgs, outlined their ongoing philanthropic efforts to develop a 20 country socio-economic status measure (which includes South Africa) in a practical manner. He described the potential value of having a standardised SES segmentation model at our disposal in the near future.
The beauty of the model is its simplicity. The household measure is based on six discriminating variables. A household can score between zero to 100 (the scores for the different variables are added up). The current variables (a work in progress) are access to electricity, a TV, a post office, source of water, type of dwelling and the roofing material of the dwelling. The individual weight is added to scores in education levels and access to computers, cellphones and the internet.
“It’s amazing to think that through the pro-bono work of TNS and the open-source mentality of Pamro together with the introduction of a harmonised establishment survey questionnaire we might soon have consistent market research at our fingertips across 20 different African markets!” says Murphy.
Solving the puzzles
Murphy asks, “Who would put up their hand to fund a $2.5 million TAM project in one of the markets? The general lack of JICs does not help either.” Best practice principals, that work in developed societies, don’t necessarily work in the rest of Africa.
The complications around the rural components in certain regions, logistical nightmares and culture-specific media behaviour, that could never be anticipated by outsiders, means that the cost of doing traditional fieldwork is prohibitive, to say the least.
“This is perhaps one of the reasons why Neil Higgs from TNS has such a title as ‘Chief Innovation Partner’ – you need unconventional thinking to solve the various puzzles specific to each of the 54 diverse countries on our continent, while creating a thread of consistency that holds water in every one of the different markets,” says Murphy. She also believes that mobile phones are universal and seems to be (potentially) the answer to our needs – efficient and inexpensive compared to any other methodology.
“Africa is leapfrogging the rest of the world in its uptake of technology. The first step is to adapt the Pamro harmonised survey by research houses as the African Establishment survey. We need to tackle Africa in region in bite-sized chunks,” says Jones. She admits that getting OOH media owners to buy into JIC was easy but getting them to commit and pay was another challenge.
How can we learn from what we have done in South Africa and spread this to the rest of Africa? What’s clear, says Jones, is that marketers and agencies are desperate for a currency that delivers reach, frequency, GRPs, duplication factors, impacts, CPM etc. It also has to be comparable to other media; provide audience figures per day per site, or even accurate and reliable traffic counts, and allow for the building and evaluation of networks. It seems that Cuende may provide much of the answer.
“At Pamro, I was struck by the willingness of the delegates to share challenges and obstacles they’ve encountered with a no-frills forthrightness (even with the competition at the next table) which was heartening in an industry where we’re often extremely guarded when it comes to what we’re up to,” says Murphy.
Certainly, the future success of OOH in Africa will take collaboration from media owners, agencies, markets and research companies. Our research needs to springboard to become measurable, comparable, uniform, accountable, affordable and believable across all countries.
Jones reckons, “If we learn from the rest of the world, we can do it. All good things take time. If we don’t start now, we never will!”
The main advantages of SES
- PA-SES has been shown to work across Africa – this is the key
- There is a household and an individual version
- Validated and reliability coefficients all well above accepted minima
- Will be improved with input from PAMRO members
- Simple. Can also be used on mobile. Four key questions only for household version and six for individual version
- LSMs take too many variables and are SA specific
- There was a 2007 African LSM but it is well out of date
- It will be supported by TNS South Africa
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