by Eric Edelstein on 21/09/12 at 6:54 am
In an ever increasing world of mobile devices, tablets and touchphones, together with the social networking epidemic, it’s clear the prerequisite for optimal social communication is mobility. And nothing was more evident at the recent Mobile Entertainment Africa Conference in Cape Town where leading brands and services congregated to shine a light on our mobile future.
The obvious take out was the rate of mobile growth compounded with the trajectory of social media growth, and its attendant ad spend, especially in emerging market territories. Whilst not a new story at all, it is exciting to see the symbiotic relationship between these two bedfellows go from strength to strength. Can this rate of growth be sustained and what type of interaction and ROI are brands and consumers looking for from their MoSo experience?
Social network ad revenues worldwide are expected to grow 55.6% this year, more than double the estimated worldwide online ad spend which will grow by 21.3%. And emerging markets, namely the Middle East & Africa regions,will see the highest regional growth rate together with the fastest growing number of social network users, although admittedly off a low base. (Source: eMarketer.com). In fact South Africa is also on the list of the ten countries with the highest Facebook mobile penetration world wide, as 84% of its Facebook users log in using a mobile device.It’s no wonder Facebook, in their quest to drive revenue and make good on their intention to become a more mobile-friendly company, recently announced a partnership with The Myriad Group, which develops services for feature phones, to extend its service on mobile devices in the Middle East, Indonesia and Malaysia. The company says that the deal adds 70 million mobile subscribers to Facebook’s base – a much-needed new target audience to grow its ad revenue. (Source: Techcrunch)
If Facebook’s future is depenedent on subscriber growth and revenue generated from that growth, then it needs to turn its attention to the growth markets outside of the US, and focus on mobile devices, even on non-smartphone devices. For instance Myriad’s collaboration with Facebook is a text-based social mobile messaging service that effectively helps Facebook get used by the millions of mobile users out there that do not have smartphones or fast data connections. Myriad estimates that there are some 3 billion users of low-end devices worldwide today – a large market that Facebook needs to tackle if it wants to keep growing.
After China and India, Africa is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world, with the African continent having one of the fastest growth rates of Facebook subscribers, although its real saturation rate is still one of the lowest, and many users still access the Internet from their enhanced mobile phones. Africa’s poor infrastructure and lack of basic landline phone service created a demand for cheap mobile phones that spurred a GSM revolution a decade ago. Now, the GSM wave is quickly maturing into the mobile smartphone market, which is opening up the Internet to African consumers, and providing business opportunities to visionary entrepreneurs and mobile social service companies.
Perhaps one of the largest barriers to entry for brands and indeed agencies in emerging markets is the prohibitive pricing of developing purpose built social mobile apps. There’s the strategy around this, together with the actual development, and then the marketing of the app, which also needs activation adspend to ensure uptake and success. And of course there’s the frequently asked question of sustainability. What happens to them at the end of the campaign? We’ve seen so many apps simply fall into disuse and irrelevance (which always begs the question: where do unused apps go to die?). Compounded, this makes a pretty hard business case for ROI. Especially when it must necessarily have a mobile component to be relevant to an emerging market audience.
Enter the off-the-shelf social marketing app platformers from companies such as Wildfire, Buddy Media, Offerpop, and locally, evly. Specialising in a suite of social media marketing apps and leveraging off the ubiquity of Facebook, Twitter (and soon Google +), the plug-and-play social marketing space has become fiercely competitive(approximate value of dealflow in this sector in the past 6 months has been to the value of over $2.5bn), and is becoming increasingly relevant to the emerging market MoSo space where barriers to entry are limited development and marketing spend.
Most of these companies provide easy off-the-shelf and bespoke, white-labeled socialmedia marketing solutions that address real concerns such as price, usability and time to market. Admittedly they are not purpose-built applications for mobile, but are rather optimised for mobile in a way that mobi sites can safely deliver on the important drivers: engagement, interaction / entertainment and virality.
A case in point is an off-the-shelf app developed by evly and used by local agency Leftfield who wanted to launch a campaign for Nigeria’s largest milk brand, Peak Milk, owned by Nigerian dairy giant FrieslandCampina, to engage their Facebook community and drive brand awareness, loyalty and engagement. evly’s app enabled a picture to be uploaded by the user enjoying the product,who was rewarded with the promise of a spot prize to incentivise voting. Here over 90% of the submissions were mobile.
This is just a small, local example of an exponentially growing pattern, where social and mobile converge to support the brand and the consumer in driving entertainment, engagement and loyalty. By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will have joined the consuming classes, driving annual consumption in emerging markets to $30 trillion (Source: McKinsey). These very consumers will be increasingly mobile and increasingly social, and they will be marketed to by brands and agencies that will necessarily utilise easy to use, affordable social media and marketing technology optimised for MoSo consumers.
Eric Edelstein has 10 years experience in Internet start-up’s. Previously, he co-founded the incuBeta group, which launched global search marketing company Clicks2Customers.com, affiliate marketing network TrafficSynergy.com, and website builder Yola.com. Eric is currently CEO of CrowdTech Holdings, which owns a number of Internet brands, including crowdsourcing eCommerce Tshirt business springleap.com, and the soon to be released crowdsourcing Social Network, evly.com. View more articles by Eric Edelstein.
Tags: Mobile Apps
- New Research Fellowships To Boost Understanding Of How Emerging Markets Work
- Rewards And Loyalty Conference in SA Coming Up.
- Heavy Chef May 2011: Motribe is coming to Joburg!
- Upcoming September Heavy Chef Session: Johannesburg With Angus Robinson And Jon Hoehler On M-commerce
- PayU Opens Up New Markets For South African Online Businesses