The 2014 mobile marketing boom


“Mobile advertising is not a big component of total advertising in Africa but it’s really going to spur this year,” Yaron Assabi, founder of the Digital Solutions Group told CNBC Africa in an interview.

He further explained that predictions for the year indicate that mobile advertising will become a 19 billion US dollar industry in 2014 and that businesses should be directing between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of their marketing budgets towards it.

“I think mobile advertising is going to become really big,” he said.

Assabi believes that mobile is a powerful medium for marketing as companies can personalise advertisements for a specific mobile user based on their location, mobile app preferences and websites visited.  Especially for Africa where mobile usage is high and access to desktop computers are low.

“Mobile has the highest reach and it’s a very rich interface in terms of the ability to personalise and contextualise marketing. You know the location of the person as opposed to the traditional mediums like print or television” he explained.

 “It’s a very powerful medium. I think we’re seeing huge adoption worldwide and in Africa specifically because of the fact that people do not have computers.”

He added that unlike the rest of the world that experienced the boom of access to the internet through personal computers and desktops, Africa got left behind. Therefore, mobile technology has closed that gap and allowed Africans to access the internet through their mobile devices instead.

“It’s almost as if Africa’s leap frogging access to the internet through their mobile device because we didn’t have personal computers and desktops proliferation like the rest of the world,” said Assabi.

While smart phone penetration in Africa is still quite low, Assabi believes that with the introduction of more mobile applications (apps) and internet access features, this number will increase and also change businesses’ views on mobile marketing.

“Currently, smart phone penetration is quite low. It’s about 20 per cent in South Africa and other countries in Africa are at about 12 per cent to14 per cent but we’re seeing apps and access to the internet really change brands’ views about the mobile,” he explained.

Assabi added that business should begin entering the mobile space by firstly ensuring that their website are compatible with the mobile interface and can adapt to various mobile screens.

“When you design websites its best practice to ensure that your website is adaptive and responsive to the mobile interface and it can adapt to the various screens for mobile because most people access websites from their mobile,” he said.