Bil­lion dol­lar mo­bile

Finweek English Edition - - TECH TRENDS - JESSICA HUB­BARD jessica@death­card­me­

IN SOUTH AFRICA and other emerg­ing mar­kets, mo­bile phones are the pri­mary gateway to the In­ter­net for the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion. Cou­pled with the in­creas­ing af­ford­abil­ity of smart­phones – plus cheap call and data rates – that’s pro­pel­ling the growth and pop­u­lar­ity of cell­phones.

As a re­sult the “mo­bile mar­ket” has be­come a top pri­or­ity for ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing gu­rus. The hosts of the re­cent Mo­bile Me­dia Mind­blast con­fer­ence – Vo­da­com, MXit and Google – fore­cast mo­bile mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing spend in SA would grow to R1bn by next year. Last year that spend was around R500m.

“With mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing, the pen­e­tra­tion in SA is ob­vi­ously a lot big­ger (than on­line ad­ver­tis­ing) be­cause more peo­ple have mo­biles that can ac­cess the In­ter­net,” says Tanja Lategan, com­mer­cial di­rec­tor at Pri­me­dia On­line. “So mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing is grow­ing a lot faster – es­pe­cially in Africa.”

Lategan says com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly in­clud­ing mo­bile web­sites to their mar­ket­ing strate­gies. “Over the past two years we’ve seen that, as com­pa­nies re­de­velop and de­sign new web­sites, they’re adding a mo­bile com­po­nent.”

Re­cent re­ports in­di­cated mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing spend world­wide is ex­pected to grow by more than 50%/year, from US$12,6bn this year to $41,8bn in 2015. Dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing is the dom­i­nant for­mat in the mix, fol­lowed by mo­bile search and in-ap­pli­ca­tion ad­ver­tis­ing. The re­main­ing spend con­sists of mes­sag­ing, stream­ing mu­sic, mo­bile TV and mo­bile video.

In SA, mo­bile mes­sag­ing ads are the most pop­u­lar medium, fol­lowed by dis­play and in-app for­mats. Ac­cord­ing to Mar­ket­ingWeb, 35m branded “Please Call Me” mes­sages are sent out daily and cur­rently 1,6bn im­pres­sions served an­nu­ally in SA.

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