Advertising market in Africa: Interview with Isabelle Aimonetti, A.G Partners Africa
How important do you feel media expertise is within the branches in your African network?
The branches in the AG Partners network are all-round consulting agencies, that can intervene at every level to offer our clients effective communication strategies. Naturally, the media division is essential in all of this. In terms of organisation and skills, most of the time this division is built around a "Research" unit which uses Publicis Group tools, such as qualitative studies, quantitative touchpoints, and insights, etc. of a planning unit, and a purchase and monitoring department. In this way, on behalf of our clients, we are able to develop expertise both in traditional media and digital media.
For example, we recently implemented a very successful media strategy for The Laughing Cow, a brand of Bel Group, which has been a client of Publicis for a year now. The media buying and plans completed so far for this budget have satisfied this customer in the framework of its strategy in Africa. The Bel Group is renowned for its shrewd and demanding marketing approach, which is an opportunity for AG-partners to promote this media expertise dedicated to effectiveness.
How do you see the advertising sector evolving these next few years in Africa?
The sector is going to experience tremendous progress in the upcoming years. On the one hand, with the advent of digital TV, which will urge the traditional media to professionalise and equip themselves with audience methods that are effective, and in particular, more frequent than what exists today, with the ideal being a daily publication of results.
On the other hand, media will be increasingly viewed on devices other than the television, such as tablets and smartphones. And digital advertising will be the big winner under this trend. That is why for the last year we have been using e-learning to train our teams in programmatic advertising. To this end, we are working in close collaboration with Publicis Group and are benefiting from their expertise, support and negotiations.
For an agency like Publicis AG Partners, what role does media audience measurement play in your strategy ?
Without audience measurement, we could not envisage forming a media strategy. As such, it is essential. Given the data available, it is no longer conceivable for our customers to receive data that does not approach international standards (Audience, GRP, etc.). This marks an important development for a market where we have to be able to meet the requirements of our customers. In all cases, for international customers, it is unthinkable for GRP to be unavailable.
The current lack of automated daily TV audience measurement is a real handicap, and often these large international customers handle their African strategy separately, because the lack of audience measurement on the continent prevents them from aligning their African strategy along international standards. Some reporting-based audience measurement does exist, such as that conducted by Médiamétrie twice a year in certain countries, and which we use. These provide an preliminary solution in terms of media planning, however, they cannot adequately take advantage of the potential of advertising markets in Africa. These measures are effectively “averaged” out over a given period. For this reason, it is difficult to analyse viewer behaviour during exceptional events such as a football World Cup or the month of Ramadan. And we do indeed realise that contexts such as these do boost audiences and represent additional exposure opportunities for brands. Without daily audience measurement, it is currently impossible to quantify this gain as well as to have a differentiated approach in the construction of media plans.