LONDON: Advertising via traditional media is the most effective way to reach Africa's increasingly affluent and brand-conscious population, a new report has advised.

Based on analysis of consumer behaviour in four African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – research firm GfK found almost half (49%) of those polled find TV ads to be the most trustworthy source of information about products.

A full 43% trust TV programmes, 38% trust radio ads, 36% trust radio programmes, and nearly a third (32%) trust newspaper ads, GfK said.

Its survey did not provide details about the sample size or demographics of respondents, but GfK asserted that these responses are in marked contrast to much lower levels of trust in the UK, where just 8% of respondents trust radio ads and only 21% trust TV ads.

While African respondents appear to show much higher levels of trust in advertising, GfK cautioned that their outlook is far from uniform at a national level.

For example, it found a quarter of Nigerians trust mobile advertising, but this falls to 10% in the other three markets surveyed, and also only a fifth (19%) of respondents from Ghana say they trust newspaper ads.

Compared to the UK, consumers in the four African nations also have very different attitudes about word-of-mouth and overall attitudes towards brands.

Advice from family or friends is the top information source for more than half (58%) of British consumers, but this drops to just over a quarter (28%) in Africa, GfK said.

African consumers are also far more likely to agree "I only buy products or services from a trusted brand" (51% versus 21%) and "It is better to buy well-known brands because you can rely on their quality" (51% versus 26%).

Although both African and British consumers rank quality, price and trust as the most important purchase influencers, a brand's strong heritage and prestige is much more important for Africans – especially for Nigerians.

In a final piece of advice to brands seeking opportunities in Africa, GfK director Joe Staton said: "Showcasing heritage and celebrating prestige combined with distinctive advertising messages will appeal to consumers across these increasingly demanding and discerning markets."

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc