Digibate 2012: mobile trends in Africa

Posted by Ash Beddow
Ash Beddow
I am a student journalist currently specializing in New Media at Rhodes Universi
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on Sunday, 13 May 2012
in Digital Blogs

The African mobile trend was a hot topic discussed during the Thought Leadership Digibate held in Johannesburg  on the 4th of May. According to the Digibate, Africa has one of the fastest growing economies in the world with mobile being the fastest growing market.

Africa is booming in terms of a technological point of view with consumers demanding to get products and services almost instantly through a click of a button. As a mobile first continent, Africans are able to access more information and preform more tasks than prior the mobile era.  

Smartphones at a mid range price are the fastest growing market in Africa. Consumers are not only attracted to the features but what the device can conveniently do for them.

With the mobile boom in Africa, advertisers need to catch on to the trend or risk being left behind.  In Africa consumers are constantly on their phone which creates a huge opportunity for marketers to reach them easily and cheaply.

The advertising trends are orientated around the key issues of access, adoption and costs which are generally quite cheap. The mobile ad spend continues to grow but is only a fraction of the online spend.

The mobile advertising space is a challenging as formatting is quite poor on the platform.  This is problematic as advertisers need to tackle areas of adaptability and developing to consumer demand.

According to the Digibate, Africans are blurred between mediums with individuals watching TV while using their mobile devices. Although the mobile sector is growing rapidly, TV is still said to be ‘King’ in South Africa particularly which raises another challenge for marketers as how do they engage in the variety of platforms.

What does this mean for mobile advertising

Advertisers in Africa need to catch on to the mobile trends. As marketers integrate into the different platforms they need to gain a better understanding of what consumers are embracing and adapting to.

Along with mobile market, social media is also a factor in terms of marketers adaptability.  Currently Facebook has around 900 million users growing from last year’s 800 million users.

The mobile advertising space is an area which marketers need to invest in. Phones are no longer a device that is used to communicate but as a mechanism for compensation. It is projected that by 2014 there will be 360 million users of mobile money services on the continent. It is quite clear that early movers in this sector will grab a massive share ahead of competitors on this platform.

For more information on the projected future of mobile in Africa listen to the following podcast. It includes BizCommunity's Though leadership Digibate on Mobile trends featuring Toby Shapshak.

Big Wig Podcast Africa & Mobile by Ashleigh Beddow 1
I am a student journalist currently specializing in New Media at Rhodes University. A part time beach bum with hopes to become a Media maverick.

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