Recent research conducted by InMobi into its South African network revealed steady growth of 14% in advertising impressions for the first quarter of 2012. As the largest independent mobile advertising network, InMobi already enjoys a significant presence in sub-Saharan Africa, and with total advertising impressions recorded on its South African network for the first three months of 2012 growing to over 5,4 billion from the 4,7 billion recorded in the last quarter of 2011, the evidence would appear to point to the fact that mobile advertising is clearly growing as an effective marketing channel in this country.
Of particular interest in the South African context, however, is the apparent swing in consumer preference towards RIM (Blackberry) handsets. Advertising impressions recorded from Blackberry 8520 mobile phones grew substantially from 9,8% of all impressions recorded in the last quarter of 2011 to 32,6% of total impressions in the first three months of 2012.
According to Isis Nyong’o, Vice President and Managing Director of InMobi Africa, handsets running RIM operating software now account for 44% of all advertising impressions on the South African InMobi network, followed by Nokia with 16,7%. This represents a stellar shift in consumer mobile usage from the end of 2011, when Nokia dominated with 41% of all impressions and Blackberry RIM accounted for only 15%.
“This widespread conversion to Blackberry by South Africans has not been unexpected given the appeal of the Blackberry flat rate data structure,” explains Nyong’o,” but the speed with which consumers in this country appear to be migrating to Blackberry has come as something of a surprise.”
Nyong’o also points to the rapid growth in smartphone advertising impressions as highly relevant to the mobile strategies of South African marketing buyers and strategists. “The fact that smartphones now account for more than half (55%) of the total advertising impressions on the InMobi South Africa network,” she says, “means that mobile advertisers in this country have an excellent opportunity to maximise their sales and brand building efforts through the use of rich mobile media.”
According to Nyong’o, the growth in mobile advertising impressions in South Africa mirrors a similar trend across much of Africa. “In the first three months of 2012, there were over 34,4 billion advertising impressions on the InMobi networks across the continent, “she explains, “which is a significant increase of almost 4,5 billion or 15% on the last quarter of 2011 and is indicative of the rapidly increasing appeal of mobile media as a means of delivering and accessing marketing and advertising messaging,”
Between January and March 2012, impressions via smartphones grew by 19% across all InMobi Africa networks and accounted for 24% of the total number of impressions recorded. In terms of the numbers of impressions recorded via individual handsets across all InMobi Africa networks, the Blackberry 8520 overtook Nokia for the first time since the research began. However, this is largely due to the growth in Blackberry usage in South Africa, and Nokia remains the dominant cellphone brand overall, with 60% of all InMobi Africa network impressions recorded on this brand of handset.
InMobi is the largest independent mobile advertising network. With offices on five continents InMobi provides advertisers, publishers and developers with a uniquely global solution for advertising. The network is growing and now delivers the unprecedented ability to reach 485 Million consumers, in over 165 countries, through more than 93.4 Billion mobile ad impressions monthly. The recent acquisition of Sprout, a leading HTML5 authoring platform for mobile rich media, helps expand the InMobi offering to creative agencies and brands.
InMobi is venture-backed by investors including: SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. The company has offices in Bangalore, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.