Mobile Advertising In Africa – “One Of The Highest Monetized Markets In The World”

There’s been a lot of recent talk about the mobile ecosystem growing in Africa, with recent reports pegging mobile subscribers on the continent at over a half a billion.  With such a massive market, what does the state of mobile advertising in Africa look like?  A new study shows us.

Mobile advertising firm InMobi, together with comScore, commissioned a landmark study entitled “A Global Consumer View of Mobile Advertising,” in which a large focus was placed on Africa.  InMobi claims to reach 50 million Africans through nearly three-billion ad impressions monthly, and of this figure the largest market is South Africa with one billion impressions and 20 million consumers monthly making it “one of the highest monetised markets in the world,” according to the company.

The study included a survey which interviewed 2,500 consumers in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria and discussed overall comfort with mobile ads, perceived benefits, willingness to have ads and interest in major brands across four categories including automotive, travel, consumer electronics and entertainment.  Here’s five key findings and their implications:

  1. Fact: 69% of Africans are very or somewhat comfortable with mobile advertising.   This is the highest in world with the US and Europe at only 61%.  Implication: African publishers have a tremendous opportunity to capitalise on this consumer interest in mobile.  Early movers will grab massive share ahead of competitors in this channel.
  2. Fact: In general, men are more accepting of mobile ads (76%) than women (63%), yet women in Africa rank well ahead of the US and EU at 53%.  Implication: Mobile is an empowering and personal place for women to connect to the world, to each other, and to publishers and advertisers.  Mobile offers a prime opportunity to connect with African women.
  3. Fact: Consumers view “helping me find new information” as the number one benefit (45%) of mobile advertising.  This was higher than the next most valuable attribute, “entertain me”.  Attributes related to free goods and cost savings ranked much further down the list.  Implication: Major brands should run large burst campaigns to support new product or new feature introductions.  Early adopters will be rewarded with a nearly 100% share of voice.
  4. Fact: In exchange for mobile ads on their phone, consumers prefer a relevant message (57%) over 10% savings on the phone bill (55%) or free content (49%).  Implication: Advertisers need to offer genuine value in the creative and the content of their mobile advertising.  Free content or discount campaigns will not suffice.
  5. Fact: The most appealing calls to action for consumers included click to call (30%), Viral or Social Media (24%) and then content, search, and purchase at 20%.  Implication: Creative agencies must reinvent their approach to digital considering mobile.  Content and search heavy approaches (like the fixed web) will fail to deliver return on investment. Mobile creatives must link to the consumer use of the device — mainly calls and social media.

“African consumers have clearly embraced mobile as the primary screen in their lives.  Publishers in Africa have a tremendous opportunity to improve the consumer experience by providing local content and grow their business simultaneously,” said Stephen Newton, VP and Managing Director, Africa at InMobi — and also former head of Google South Africa.