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Mobile marketing in South Africa

April 12, 2011

in Mobile Internet

South Africa has one of the largest mobile markets in the world. For businesses, it’s one of the most accessible and effective advertising platforms yet.

Mobile marketing is advertising on a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, and is an effective way of reaching potential customers through digital campaigns. It’s used to advertise and promote brands, products or services to a larger customer base than ever before.

Marketing on a mobile phone has become very popular in recent years, and SMS marketing is now a widely-used and efficient advertising medium. The latest statistics speak for themselves:

  • According to Admob, the world’s biggest mobile advertising marketplace, South Africa is ranked as the 5th largest mobile market in the world.
  • As of May 2009, South Africa has been serving more than 150 million mobile ad impressions each month.
  • Since 2008, Admob has seen a 21% increase in mobile traffic in Africa, with South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Tanzania being the largest contributors to this increase.
  • Meanwhile, the myGamma Global Marketing Advertising Index has ranked South Africa as the 3rd largest global mobile market. Its most recent figures revealed that SA serves more than 426 million ad impressions each year.

Mobile marketing provides a highly personal and cost-effective advertising platform, and many companies are recognising the benefits of implementing a mobile or SMS marketing campaign as part of their advertising strategy.

The objectives of mobile marketing campaigns are usually to increase brand awareness, boost revenue, and improve customer loyalty.

What makes mobile marketing so effective?

  • Campaigns are highly targeted according to age, gender, race, LSM, area of residence and so forth.
  • It’s a two-way dialogue between brand and consumer, building a personal relationship.
  • It integrates well with radio, print, billboard, online and TV campaigns.
  • It’s viral: Consumers can forward messages about products to each other.
  • It enables companies to create valuable databases for permission-based marketing.
  • It’s instantaneous, delivering messages straight to consumer and enabling an immediate response.
  • It results in a high click-through rate.
  • It’s interactive, engaging and elicits response.
  • It’s affordable.

Some of the ways of utilising the mobile phone as a marketing medium are:

  • Short Codes - Short codes have become a popular way to communicate with customers. The short codes are 5 or 6 digit numbers assigned by mobile operators for different mobile marketing campaigns. Consumers access information or content by responding to a short code number.
  • SMS marketing - Mobile SMS marketing utilises text messaging via cell phones as a medium to communicate their company’s message to a number of targeted consumers. Consumers respond to an SMS sent to their cell phone by a company utilising a bulk messaging service.
  • MMS Marketing - MMS mobile marketing is also often used to send customers a slideshow of images, text, audio and video. MMS (Multimedia Message Service) is content that is delivered via these mediums.
  • Social Networking - Social networking is also becoming a popular mobile marketing medium, and location-based services, such as The Grid in South Africa – which make use of the normal cell phone network to enable positioning – are becoming very popular.
  • Internet Marketing - Advertising on web pages that have been created specifically for mobile devices is another effective mobile marketing option. Websites are now being developed just for mobile phones. Major search engines such as Google have mobile advertising placements options. Only a small percentage of people in Africa have access to the World Wide Web, but with the introduction of Internet browsing capabilities on cell phones, more and more people in Africa have access to the Internet.

Previously, the ability to navigate the web and browse web pages was difficult due to the size of the screens of mobile phones. This has changed, however, due to the introduction of smart phones such as the iPhone, Blackberry and HTC Touch Pro. The growing market for these smart phones has made the web, gaming and social networks more accessible, to more people, than ever before.

There are 35 million cell phone subscribers in South Africa

Moreover, in 2008, there were roughly two million mobile Internet users in South Africa, with more than 200 000 primarily using their mobile phones to gain Internet access. South Africa is one of the countries on the forefront of the move to mobile marketing, and with the 2010 games almost upon us, it is even more important for companies in South Africa to utilise mobile advertising as an effective marketing medium.

Mobile search is also emerging as a mobile marketing opportunity as an increasing number of people use their mobiles to search for information online. Advertising can be directly aimed at whatever people are searching for when they opt to receive more information.

Mobile marketing is an effective digital marketing strategy for many small businesses because of its cost-effectiveness, convenience, immediacy and ability to reach large numbers of consumers. By measuring mobile campaigns, it is also possible to calculate ROI and track digital mobile campaigns.

The benefits of using mobile marketing are:

  • The ability to reach a large number of targeted consumers immediately, even when they are commuting or are away from their desks.
  • A high conversion and click-through rate.
  • Cost-effective and affordable campaigns.
  • The ability to calculate ROI effectively.
  • The ability to track campaigns successfully.
  • The opportunity to build direct relationships with customers.
  • It is relevant to consumers.
  • An affordable supplement to traditional online and offline advertising campaigns.

Make mobile advertising part of a rounded marketing strategy

Mobile is a great advertising platform for reaching and interacting with consumers directly, via coupons, promotions, special offers, competitions and incentives. Due to the cost-effectiveness and affordability of mobile campaigns, it is important to allocate a portion of one’s digital marketing budgets to a mobile marketing campaign.

Cell phones are just about everywhere and now is the perfect time to integrate mobile marketing into your online marketing strategy. Speak to the specialists at Purple Cow to find out more about mobile marketing for your product or brand.

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