The many promises of mobile marketing in Africa

Africa is a unique landscape when it comes to mobile marketing. Boasting a population of 1.2 billion across 54 different countries, the cradle of humankind writes her own rules when it comes to mobile advertising.
Sub-Saharan Africa is considered the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, with the number of mobile internet users expected to reach 450 million by 2025 and 65% smartphone adoption rate by the same year. These numbers hold many promises for Mobile Marketing in the region.

An expanding market
The pace of mobile adoption in Africa keeps breaking new grounds. According to a study GSMA,
• By 2025, it’s expected that 50% of the population will be subscribed to mobile services
• An estimated 600 million smartphone connections will be made by 2023
• 35 million 5G connections will be made by 2025 (representing over 3% of total mobile connections)
Moreover, MAAS published in their “It’s Time for Africa!” report that mobile data traffic will be multiplied by four by 2025 and mobile’s contribution to GDP will reach $184 billion in 2024.

A growing digital appetite
African population is the youngest in the world with 40% of inhabitants being under 15 years old. This new generation is adopting digital at a faster pace, fueling the growth of mobile-first mindset across the continent.
To accommodate this digital native generation and their new habits, industries are making a faster shift towards the digitalization and across industries, habits and changing and evolving. In food, media, education, fashion, travel, fintech and entertainment, players such as Jumia, Yango, Boomplay ate dominating their fields and growing at incredible pace.
The pandemic has also highly influenced consumption habits and contributed to the rise in use of digital platforms. To adapt to the shift, telecoms operators are accelerating and expanding the capacity of their networks.

An ever-faster internet speed
While 5G connectivity is not fully rolled out yet, there is a noticeable effort on expanding the capacity of 4G networks in sub-saharan Africa. Currently more than half of the region’s population can access a 4G connection. With this strong pivot to 4G networks, the growth in 3G is slowing down swiftly and 2G is almost a thing of the past.

Many promises and some challenges
However these promises are not without challenges. Africa is a complex continent. When crafting a marketing strategy for Africa, it’s impossible to consider it as one single region. With 54 countries and hundreds of languages, cultural differences pose a huge challenge for mobile marketers.
Not two African countries are the same when it comes to the way consumers speak, behave, buy and use internet. Socio-economic, cultural and political intricacies are to be understood and ad campaigns need to be tailored accordingly which can proved complicated without the necessary knowledge or experience in African regions.
Local players are the answer
Working with local talents to understand the uniqueness of every market is a sure-fire way to get your mobile marketing campaigns right. You can’t go wrong if you work hand in hand with people on the ground, like we do at YellowDot. It multiplies your chance to engage in the right way with your audience, to get to the heart of your target, to add the right context and emotion to your messages and in turn, get the right outcome.


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