Are African mobile consumers ready for Mobile Marketing?

Last updated: 07 November 2014

To get a sense of where African consumers were in their openness to mobile marketing, we commissioned IFOP, (Institut français d’opinion publique) to conduct a survey this Summer.

The survey polled consumers in South Africa and Nigeria, two strategically important countries for mobile marketers. Nigeria, with some 131 million subscribers, is the largest mobile market in Africa. South Africa is also an important market with 78 million subscribers. The GSM Association considers South Africa, alongside China, Brazil and Russia, a fast growing mobile market that is experiencing double digit growth. So what are the key insights from this survey?

  1. Permission is key: the majority (80%) report being annoyed when they receive messages from senders they have not given prior permission to. To learn more about the golden rules of permission based marketing, watch my video on this topic.
  2. Knowing your audience is vital: Only by segmenting customers can marketing pressure be overcome. On average, consumers in both countries were willing to receive one to three messages per week. However, some of them feel swamped, but could be won over with adapted marketing pressure.
  3. The marketing message needs to be relevant. Consumers expect messages to be in line with their interests and tastes (89% in South Africa and 86% for Nigeria). There is room for improvement here as around 70% of those polled (71% in South Africa & 65% in Nigeria) confirmed having received promotional messages of no personal interest.

In a nutshell, the study tells us that we have to get it RIGHT:   the right person, right time, and the right message!

Africa offers huge potential for mobile marketers. Over 80% of users will be happy to receive certain types of messages when permission, marketing pressure and relevancy are respected.


More importantly, the tools to improve the end-user mobile marketing experience are at hand. From the subscriber database or data analytics, marketing campaigns can be segmented based on consumer profiles, location and areas of interest.


We regularly help mobile operators and brands enrich their customer data assets, develop new valuable segments and generate recurring revenue by improving audience conversion & engagement to mobile marketing campaigns on all types of handsets (feature or smart phones).


We’ll be unveiling the research, and discussing it with brands and MNOs, at AfricaCom (Booth C12) this week, or drop us a line if you have any thoughts or comments on this.

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