Zambia’s mobile ad market

March 22, 2017

Mobile advertising in Zambia has been growing steadily and is now fast approaching the 20% mark of the general display ad segment, while mobile video accounted for over 10% of general display ads. Zambia’€™s major mobile network operators are expanding their mobile-based advertising services to capture the growing trend among companies to advertise their brands and products through cell phones. One of the researchers in the Zambian mobile ad market told your blogger that usually, the first quarter of a new year can be a bit quieter due to a well-known drop following a strong Christmas season in quarter four. However, his study found that digital ads were still going strong for this month of March, growing 34% due to mobile and video growth.Of the $2.8m in mobile ad expenditure, 68% are being attributed to mobile display and 32% to mobile search. Total expenditure includes general display, search and mobile video ads and have been based on participant data, industry estimates for Google mobile display and search revenue, as well as Twitter and Facebook mobile display revenues. Fast moving consumer goods are continuing to dominate video ads, with automobile and retail in second and third spot. They takes a staggering 44% share of spend in video display ads.Several mobile network operators are aiming to benefit from mobile advertisements.One of them expect an exponential growth of 100-150 percent in 2017 revenues from the mobile advertisement service as more companies were using mobile advertising to promote their products. An insider in one of the network operator informed me they have handled over 1,000 clients since January. According to her, last year, around 25 percent of those brands had actively placed repeat orders for her tele operator’s services. And this year, she expect the number of active brands to double.The mobile advertising market in Zambia is expected to be worth US$6 million and that telecom companies are seeking to absorb 50 – 60 percent of market’€™s worth. In another telecom company, a bloke working there told me that the company’€™s digital services, which also includes broadband, delivered 20 – 28 percent of the approximately revenues the network operator made last year.

And less than 10 percent of the revenue from digital services came from mobile advertising meaning the room for growth is enormous.His employer, under its digital advertising unit, provides four types of advertising services, including banner advertisements in mobile applications.Statistics he shared show that roughly $9m will be spent on mobile advertising this year, a far cry from the $45 trillion advertising budget. However, mobile advertising spending growth is quite high, reaching 64 percent a year. The past three years witnessed a significant shift in cell phone usage, adding that cell phones had become an extension of Zambian’€™s lifestyle. And Zambian brands have taken note of this, and are now finding new ways to engage with their market in more personalised ways.It was great to note that the main clients for the service were companies in the fast moving consumer good and banking sectors.These sectors combined drove more than 49 percent of all Zambian mobile advertising revenues.Mobile network operators are actively utilising the mobile operator’€™s Internet service. Generally, all mobile network operators are eyeing the digital advertising market.One mobile network operator launched mobile advertising services as well last year, and sought to earn $200,000 – $1m from the service.It is providing direct marketing services, which feature location-based advertising supported by text, images and videos.The services enables Zambian brands to actively interact with their audience via games and videos. However, mobile network operators still have a long way to educate the Zambian market on digital advertising, given the newness of the field.One of them confirmed to me they have to tell their clients that spamming does not work and hence and that the teleoperator refrains from providing such services.

Contador Harrison