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Mobile Internet access powers ahead

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Mobile has outstripped growth in desktop adoption and is now driving Internet access in South Africa, according to the Mobile Report for 2016 from the Mobile Marketing Association for South Africa (MMA SA).
Nicolle Harding, chair of research and measurement for MMA SA and country manager at Effective Measure South Africa, states: “Our research has found that smart phone adoption, and usage, broke away from regular desktop in mid-2014 and continued to accelerate to almost 20-million users in July 2015; and this is expected to grow, with smartphones as the dominant device to access the internet.”
According to the Mobile Report 2016, while the Internet is expected to reach 70% penetration in the next two to three years, by 2015 96% of working adults in South Africa were already using cellphones, where there are 19,2-million smartphone users (50% of this adult audience) and 2,7-million tablet users (7% – up from 2% in 2012).
“To put this into perspective, there is a widespread transition of online activities that were once only accessible via computer to mobile devices, including; online chatting (96%), dating (89%), accessing social media (between 70 and 85%, depending on the platform), content downloads (between 67 and 83%, depending on the content), gaming (78%) and banking (65%),” says Harding.
“The phenomenal growth in adoption that we are seeing in mobile devices presents equally pervasive opportunities for marketers, as mobile media and marketing is expected to experience a steady increase in growth in South Africa.”
Rick Joubert, Yonder Media CEO, says: “This report, when read in conjunction with further industry data available, once again begs the question; ‘why are local marketers still allocating relatively small shares of their ad budget to mobile screens?’ Although we are seeing strong growth in spend, the gap between consumer mobile screen time and usage, and marketing investment, has not closed as quickly as it has in many other markets.
“Certainly, we expect this trend to reverse during 2016, driven by increased availability of high quality audience targeting capabilities and ad tech. This growth will also likely be fuelled by a growing realisation that digital media should not be confined purely to the realms of engagement, interactivity and performance – and that targeted mass reach is now available on many platforms.”
Yaron Assabi, chair of MMA SA and CEO of Digital Solutions Group, agrees: “The questions is no longer ‘why mobile?’ but rather an acknowledgement that mobile will empower marketers to connect with consumers to drive awareness, advocacy and transactions on behalf of brands. In the next few years we expect that the mobile share of internet advertising will increase substantially.”
“The MMA SA Mobile Report paints a beautiful picture of how mobile is embraced by South Africans. This data assists us all – enablers, brands and organisations – to correctly leverage the ubiquity of mobile to ensure strategic and successful execution of mobile solutions and promotions,” comments Alan Haarhoff, chief marketing officer of AAT (Always Active Technologies).
Two key and known factors that will continue to impact how this shapes out, are data prices and quality of content. While data prices seem to be getting lower as market competition intensifies, the MMA remains committed to creating standards, best practices and definitions for current and future mobile trends; to facilitate more constructive dialogue on how to advance the mobile ecosystem and keep pace with consumer behaviour in South Africa.
Assabi adds: “We cannot discount the personal relationship that consumers have with their mobile devices. In fact, nothing gets marketers closer to consumers than mobile and, even more so in a mobile-first country like South Africa. To date, mobile has the highest penetration reach – making it by far the most powerful channel for customer engagement and customer insight. As such, a strategic and successful marketing campaign has to offer personalised marketing and communication.”
“Mobile is the future of all media and, mobile advertising will become mainstream in South Africa. We have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes in other markets and create a unique online media environment that capitalises on the mobile-first nature of our consumers – and with quality content. Marketers who can get this right will see positive returns on their investments (ROI) and increased value for every Rand spent within their media budgets,” concludes Assabi.
Sponsored by Always Active Technologies and Yonder Media and based on AMPS 2015AB, the report offers insights on marketing and behavioural markers that demonstrate a clear and significant shift in consumer behaviour from previously favoured mediums to mobile.