At the end of 2012, Africa had over 750 million active mobile subscribers. This number continues to grow year on year and Africa is also the fastest growing mobile consumer market in the world. It stands to reason that this is a very interesting market for mobile marketing services since the mobile phone is without a doubt the primary mode of getting online, as well as accessing a myriad of other mobile-based features and functionalities.
Indeed, Internet access in Africa is largely mobile-centric with the majority of consumers getting online via their mobile devices. In most cases, these Internet-capable mobile devices are what are known as “feature phones” – inexpensive entry-level mobile phones that have basic Internet access via GPRS or EDGE speeds and in rare cases 3G. However, the arrival of inexpensive smartphones in Africa over the past few years is leading to a rise in the adoption of mobile marketing as well as mobile apps across the board. Although many markets in Africa have less than 10% smartphone penetration, this is starting to change rapidly.
One of the caveats with mobile advertising in Africa has typically been the lack of sufficient local web sites that are able to carry locally targeted ads to an African consumer market. Although African consumption trends to-date tend to favour International mobile content with web sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter dominating user traffic, this is changing as more and more local content and services go online, and mobile. This is an opportunity that has not been lost on TwinPine, probably one of the only African owned, based, and operated mobile ad networks in business today.
TwinPine, which started operations in Nigeria a couple of years is rapidly expanding its Publisher and Advertiser network in and beyond Africa. It’s an interesting story in that most mobile ad networks tend to come to Africa from North America, Europe and Asia making TwinPine something of an anomaly. However, by focussing on premium African publishers and therefore marketing themselves as a niche premium African mobile ad network, they are already making waves across Africa.
I meet with Elo Umeh who is the CEO of TwinPine in Nairobi this past week when he was here for a trip to drum up business in Kenya. I was able to capture our discussion on video which I have posted below. It was a great chat where we got to talk about TwinPine in-depth and their plans for growing their mobile ad network throughout Africa in the coming year. Their ambitions are not small and I am looking forward to seeing them succeed on a grand scale. I hope you enjoy watching the video: