Custom content and mobile engagement will be the key drivers shaping Africa’s communication landscape in 2014. This is according to
There is an almost insatiable hunger for information (education, news, health, finance, etc) and a great desire for recreational content such as music, sports, gossip, lifestyle services and chat, with content being consumed in a variety of ways throughout the continent.
Given that there are approximately eight million laptop- or PC-users versus more than five times that number of cellphone users in South Africa, and mobile internet and USSD access is available to 90% of the user base in Africa, it seems pretty clear that the best way to supply the content or “feed the hunger” is through the mobile channel.
However, there is mobile and then there is mobile. Although more and more smartphones are making an appearance on the continent’s mobile phone landscape, they still account for less than 30% of cellphone users. Therefore an effective communication strategy in Africa needs to include content that is accessible via a wide variety of mobile devices.
Whilst of course remaining at the cutting edge of technology, in our role as marketers and communicators, we have to take an inclusive approach when scoping the technology and content mix for any communications strategy in Africa.
With the decrease in traditional media usage and growth in media consumption via digital channels, comes an ever-increasing need for media companies to monetise the digital media space, if they are to continue in their vital role as the creators and distributors of information and content.
Tim Legg, Group CEO and co-founder of OMG, recently addressed the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he spoke of the almost accepted truth that digital media houses don’t or can’t make money. He highlighted the fact that the three basic principles of media monetisation apply to digital media, too. Publishers’ options are: charge users to consume their content; charge advertisers to access their audience; monetise the audience through value added services.
Central to the sustainability of the digital publishing ecosystem is an effective ad-serving platform that can assist in generating revenue for publishers by providing real-time sales of advertising inventory, whilst effectively targeting audiences to ensure that advertisers achieve more bang for their buck, too. The key, though, is not just to sell impressions – rather the aim is engage digital media consumers through compelling content and creative ideas.
We believe that bespoke content delivered in an easily and universally accessible manner is essential for the maintenance of a healthy communications ecosystem in Africa. The system has to supply the needs of the consumer for quality content whilst meeting the needs of the publisher to generate revenue to sustain the balance. The combination of these elements is what will enable marketers to deliver effective communication and engagement strategies for their clients.