DIGITAL MEDIA DRIVES GROWTH IN ADSPEND, BUT ONLINE CONSUMERS ARE CAUTIOUS
A turning point in French media was expected to occur in 2017, with the level of investment in digital media for the first time due to overtake adspend on television. This will make France something of a digital leader in the world – in 2016, only 10 markets had passed this tipping point, and France was one of only five due to cross this threshold in 2017.
But while advertisers are moving to be where French consumers are – and it’s clear that people are spending increasing amounts of their time on multiple digital devices and platforms
– digital adoption here is occurring in a distinctly French way.
To connect effectively with French consumers, and to avoid alienating them by attempting to be too personal or intrusive, brands should proceed with a certain degree of caution.
Mobile may be the device of the moment, but in France, people are spending,
on average, far more time in front of a traditional TV screen than they are spending online. When they are connected, they’re more likely to be on a PC, laptop or tablet than connected consumers in many other countries. Only 39 percent of people’s time online in France is on a smartphone or tablet – one of the lowest rates in the world. Germans spend 44 percent of their online time on a mobile or tablet; in Spain it’s 53 percent and in China it’s 74 percent. This di erence is because desktop and laptop ownership in France is much higher than the global average, probably because they were early adopters of this technology when it was cutting edge; in other markets, the desktop/laptop has been leapfrogged by consumers whose rst experience online has been on a smartphone.
It’s not just the way that French consumers connect that marks them out. In addition, 46 percent of French consumers say they “often feel followed by brands online”, a much higher proportion than in neighboring countries and higher the global average, of 34 percent. The Kantar TNS Connected Life study shows people are also wary of brands targeting them based on what’s known about them as individuals; only 21 percent of French consumers say tailored ads are a good idea, compared to 37 percent globally. This helps explain why more than one-third of French consumers online are using ad blockers – almost double the global average.
As media consumption habits have changed, so have perceptions of quality and reliability. This is a market where 70 percent of people online use Facebook, half are regular YouTubers, 19 percent use Instagram at least weekly, and the number of Snapchat users last year rose by 10 percent.
Yet it’s radio that is seen as the most reliable medium when it comes to getting news you can trust. This is the only medium that a majority of French consumers say provides consistently trustworthy reports; faith in newspapers and TV is declining, and when it comes to online news sources, there’s a paradox. While growing numbers of people say online news sites and social networks are their rst source of news, nearly three- quarters of French consumers say they don’t trust online news and even more say they’ve spotted stories purporting to be true but that they believe are not. For brands in France, reaching consumers e ectively means identifying the right combination of media, using them sensitively, and providing a message that people can believe in.