Mobile Penetration into Africa


Mobile Penetration into Africa

Across the globe there are on-going conflicting claims surrounding the effectiveness of mobile Internet advertising. Mindshare, a global media agency network conducted a survey consisting of 42 000 consumers across 42 countries to draw the conclusion that people still prefer accessing the Internet on their personal computers or desktops, rather than their phones. More than 90% of respondents use a laptop or desktop on a regular basis, compared with 56% who use a smartphone and just 33% who own a tablet. The survey concludes that consumers are more likely to undertake a variety of online activities at home, and advertising created specifically for the bigger screens of laptops and desktops has a larger audience and is more effective than advertising targeted for the smaller mobile phone screen.

However there is an exception to this rule; Africa. The availability of fixed line Internet connections in Africa is poor, often less accessible than a lot of First-World markets, resulting in the lack of desktops, laptops and tablets. The solution, mobile. The infrastructure in network coverage is growing rapidly allowing more people to connect a lot quicker at a lower cost. The cost of owning a mobile phone has reduced dramatically – this is mainly due to the 80% drop between 2001-2011 in the average revenue per user for telecom companies. A new report on the African telecommunications market highlights that mobile penetration in Africa hit 80% in the first quarter of this year and is still growing at 4.2% annually – a rate faster than anywhere else in the world. There is no surprise that mobile is the most pervasive mass media in Africa.

So where does that put us in the mobile Internet advertising and traditional based Internet advertising debate?

As we know, they are both forms of digital marketing that reach users on different devices. The Mobile Marketing Association SA (MMASA) chair Candice Goodman says mobile Internet advertising allows for a deeper conversation with the target audience. “Traditional Internet advertising only really lets you target a specific banner size and region, while mobile advertising (which includes non-Internet-related means such as SMS, USSD, MMS and tags on a please call me) allows you to target the banner, region, operating system, handset, handset feature and much more – ensuring less wastage for the advertiser and hopefully better return on investment, due to the advert being shown to a more engaged audience.”

Mobile advertising is an effective marketing tool that is being underutilised, especially in Africa. We have the power to reach these users and allow them to use our products, access social media and connect with each other at a lower cost than traditional desktop focused campaigns. The growth figures in mobile usage and mobile advertising speak for themselves. Businesses need to start taking mobile more seriously, both as an acquisition tool and brand building exercise, and if more businesses adopted this movement, they’d get way more bang for their buck. It’s time to adopt a mobile marketing strategy.


Source: Business Insider 12 December 2013
Source: Financial Mail 23 January 2014