Mobile media consumption is continuing to grow exponentially in Nigeria and, indeed, across much of the African continent. That’s according to research conducted by InMobi - the largest independent mobile advertising network - which revealed growth of 37% in mobile advertising impressions on its Nigeria mobile network for the first three months of 2012. With more than 8 billion advertising impressions for the first quarter, Nigeria is InMobi’s largest mobile advertising network in Africa and, according to Isis Nyong’o, Vice President and Managing Director of InMobi Africa, the consistent month-on-month growth in mobile advertising impressions is evidence of the rising importance of mobile technology as a marketing medium in the country. “The stellar increase in impressions from 5,8 billion in the last quarter of 2011 to over 8 billion in the first three months of 2012 is clear proof of the rising popularity of the medium amongst Nigerian consumers,” Nyong’o points out, “and shows that marketing professionals and brand managers across the country are increasingly embracing mobile media as viable and effective advertising channels.” Possibly more significantly, the latest figures come on the back of an unprecedented 376% growth in Nigerian mobile advertising impressions from 2010 to 2011, and demonstrate that the growth in popularity of mobile as a consumer medium is continuing on its fast-paced growth path. Research conducted by InMobi also offered interesting insights into mobile media consumption trends amongst Nigerian consumers. Smartphone technology is showing clear signs of growing popularity with approximately 10% of all mobile advertising impressions recorded on the Nigerian InMobi network from these devices. This represents quarter-on-quarter growth of 42% in smartphone use, pointing to the rapid adoption of this technology by growing numbers of Nigerians. From a usage perspective, the research confirmed that Nigeria, like many other emerging markets, remains highly mobile centric, with the average mobile web user surveyed spending up to 5.5 hours engaged with media every day – up to two hours of which involves their mobile telephones. “Interestingly, mobile usage appears to be competing directly with traditional media or a share of the attention of consumers,” says Nyong’o, “with 15% of those surveyed saying that they multi-task on their mobile devices while watching television.” The research also revealed that, for many consumers, mobile devices are the vastly preferred channel for the purposes of communication, entertainment, obtaining information and, even, online shopping. In fact, 67% of those surveyed cited their mobile phone as their primary or exclusive means of online access. 63% of those surveyed also pointed to mobile technology as the primary influencer of their purchasing behaviour. Ease of use (47%) and privacy (31%) are the two primary reasons mentioned for this preference for mobile online technology. While consumer behaviour via mobile services has evolved to include buying digital and physical goods, and paying for services, the research points to the likelihood that future growth in mobile use in Nigeria is most likely to be driven by increased use of the channel for social media (60%), information seeking (43%), email (26%) and entertainment (23%). That said, some 87% of consumers surveyed said that they expected to spend money on a mobile activity or purchase of some sort within the next 12 months. If this is the case, it represents an increase of 22% from the current mobile spending statistics. At a product specific level, Nokia continues to dominate the Nigerian mobile market, accounting for 77% of all impressions on the InMobi network. While this is slightly down on the 79% of the previous quarter, it remains significantly higher than any of its closest rivals, with Samsung phones delivering 9% of total impressions followed by LG phones at 5%. The Nokia C1-01 remains the most extensively used mobile device in terms of mobile advertising access, accounting for 15,3% of all impressions recorded on Nokia handsets. While RIM (Blackberry) phones only accounted for 2% of the total mobile advertising impressions on the InMobi network, it is perhaps significant that this is the fastest growing brand in terms of impressions, having enjoyed 0.4% growth on the previous quarter. According to Nyong’o, the growth in mobile advertising impressions in Nigeria mirrors a similar growth trend that is taking place across much of Africa. “In the first three months of 2012, there have been 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 across the continent.” 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, the Blackberry 8520 overtook Nokia for the first time since InMobi has been conducting its research. However, Nokia remains the dominant cellphone brand overall, with 60% of all InMobi network impressions recorded on this brand of handsets.