In what has been a tumultuous year for South African business, one piece of good news is this: the long-awaited replacement survey for the All Media and Products Study (AMPS) – Maps – has finally been released and is available to subscribers.
I myself have promised that the data will be released ‘any month now’ for a few years, so I was very cautious to announce it. But as a part of the Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) Research Committee, which is responsible for scrutinising the data, I can tell you – it is live, and it looks good.
Maps replaces the AMPS dataset, which was the industry standard from 1975 to 2016. AMPS was a world class product and set the bar for what marketers expected from other datasets that followed. In the words of one of its founders, Wally Langschmidt, it was “comprehensive, unbiased, reliable, regular and technically excellent”.
AMPS was a single source dataset that that covered all media (ie. all TV stations, radio stations, print media, cinema, outdoor and online) and many products – 2000 brands in 200 brand categories to be precise. It ensured a stable currency for the buying and selling of advertising in the media, and marketers got used to tapping into it for any insights needed. The beauty of the product was in its comprehensiveness and simplicity.
For reasons far too political and detailed to get into in this article, this all ended in 2015 with the shuttering of the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) – the body that produced the research, and the last AMPS dataset release.
Modernised consumer insights
The good news for those who relied on AMPS is that the body that rose out of SAARF’s ashes – the MRF – has replaced AMPS with Maps. It will contain data on all media as well as brands again, and in time will be able to be trended. In its inaugural form, Maps will be limited in sample but will build over the next year to a sizeable of more than 20,000 respondents.
It has been quite a year for the data. The pilot fieldwork on Maps began in December 2019 and was completed successfully by mid-February. After commencing the actual fieldwork in March, it became clear that COVID-19 would make it impossible to continue with face-to-face interviewing, which put a halt to the process.
Lomanja Malaba, project director at Plus 94 Research, which was tasked with the field work, stated it thus in an article in The Mediaonline on 9 September 2020:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented changes in behaviour and purchase patterns. The lasting impact of research undertaken at this time is that the results obtained will present a chance for brands to address new opportunities and strategies. In terms of fieldwork, we have had higher chances of reaching respondents during the lockdown than at any other time.”
Maps is a modernised, updated and enhanced survey focused on consumer insights. Built on the legacy of AMPS, it includes product and brand research designed for marketers and media planners which is independent from any commercial interests, is transparent and neutral.
The survey has been designed around the products, brands and intermedia needs of marketers and their agencies, providing single source insights on consumer, media and brand interaction.
The MAPS survey is currently available only to subscribers, and as yet there is no general release date, but subscribers do have the opportunity look at the data. Access is restricted to those who signed on as subscribers to the data release.
Some of the sections that the data includes are: Demographics, Cell Phones & Devices, Clothing & Shoes, Financial, Grocery and Toiletry, Leisure, Motor Vehicles, All Media, Shopping Malls, Transport and Travelling, and a wide range of products and brands.