Is the industry jumping the gun with Mobile Advertising?

With the internet side of Mobile Advertising catering mostly to Smarthphone users, many brands are wondering if Africa is really ready for this form of advertising. After all, a big chunk of the consumer market still owns cheap, ordinary phones with no or limited browser capabilities. Are we jumping gun with this?

It is true that the migration to Smartphones has started of slow because of the expenses related to it. But, it is increasingly picking up speed. How can we say this?

Mobile Carriers have realised the importance and advantages of Smartphones over feature phones and are actively encouraging their clients to upgrade. They too want to give their clients access to more advanced services and products. We are seeing cheaper options gradually entering the phone market, which means that within a few years, Smartphone users will outnumber feature phone users by far.

So, while every consumer in South Africa might not own a Smartphone yet, it is simply a matter of time. In fact, it is said that Smartphone usage overall is increasing by 20 – 25% per year.

We are also seeing more and more brands achieving success within the Mobile Advertising space – like MTN, Vodacom, KFC, Intarget etc. They have the advantage of starting early and using their time to perfect their mobile marketing. By the time their competitors join the fray, they are already experts in their field and setting the tone for things to come.

Another clever thing these successful brands do is starting with the non-Internet side of Mobile Advertising first. That would be text messages, MMS, USSD and mobile billing to name a few. If you start with something like SMS Marketing first, your customers will gradually get use to the idea of their phone as a business communication platform. This will make it easier for them to adapt to the Internet-based side of Mobile Advertising like mobile display and banner ads.

Are brands jumping the gun with Mobile Advertising in Africa? Not at all! By being proactive today, they will achieve much success in the years to come.

Herman Cremer
A seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in digital & mobile solutions and advertising.


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