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Help spread the mobile safety message

We’ve been evangelising mobile marketing in these pages for a few years now. Although we have produced thousands of words about the subject, covering many areas of specialisation, we have never lost site of the fact that mobile advertising works so well because consumers love mobile so much. The reason mobile browsers are the most popular way to trawl the web is because consumers love the mobile experience and they trust their mobile interactions. The mobile network operators, wireless application service providers (WASPs) and organisations like WASPA and others have worked tirelessly since the late 1990s to build a mobile ecosystem where trust is the glue that holds it all together. From a lawless place where every mobile service, ring tone and download was offered at any price – across varying customer service levels – South Africa’s mobile content and applications industry is today a model of responsible and successful self-regulation. The result has been that consumers are confident they can interact with mobile services and not get bitten in the process. Innovations like double-opt in, the industry block list and the WASPA Code of Conduct, for example, have ensured that there is a massive audience out there that mobile marketers can reach. Unfortunately, while all this progress is being made locally, out come a plethora of very shady mobile fraudsters, primarily based overseas, who are threatening to once again make consumers very nervous when interacting with mobile. As mobile marketers, we need to get out there and explain to our clients and consumers alike how they can protect themselves against these mobile rouges. Firstly, as in any transaction-based sector, consumers should regularly check their prepaid airtime balances or postpaid statements for anything that seems amiss. Finally; regularly scan your messaging inbox for messages saying you are subscribed to mobile services, monitor your contract cellphone statements or prepaid airtime balance, and proactively check your mobile subscription status with your cellular network. Communicating the above to as many mobile users as possible will help ensure that we all only ever receive the mobile content and applications we actually want. ENDS

Mobile straddles the line between e-commerce and entertainment

In a previous blog post earlier this year, we learnt just how massive mobile video is becoming. We’ve evangelised video many times before, pointing to this ever-increasing trend with such illuminating factoids as the fact that Millenials now watch much more YouTube videos on their mobile devices compared to traditional live television. China, like America before it, offers us a good view of how the future might look. There, that country’s over 700 million mobile users daily engage in mobile video snacking where they consume vast quantities of 15-second video clips that have become hugely-popular in the world’s fastest-growing economy. While all of this growth in mobile video is encouraging, mobile marketers are no doubt tempted to haul out that age old line made popular in countless old-school movies: “show me the money”. Well, now mobile marketers can indeed show their agency partners and brand clients alike the money as mobile video is becoming increasingly shoppable. What do we mean by this? Well, Forbes and others have been reporting for some time that overseas companies like Smartzer have developed technology that essentially monetizes mobile video. In another huge leap forward for mobile, smartphone users are able to click on products displayed in mobile videos and be instantly transported to an area where they can easily purchase said goods. This really is futuristic stuff except its available right now! Over the remainder of 2019, there’ll no doubt be plenty opportunities relating to the monetisation of mobile video that local brands will be able to start taking advantage of as mobile marketers continue to explore ways to (convincingly) straddle the line between e-commerce and entertainment.


Next week we will be entering the official halfway month of yet another year. June is a scary month. It represents that time of year where we should have achieved quite a number of those personal and business goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. It does also, however, offer a glimmer of hope in that the coming of June means we still have six months to achieve the lion’s share of our earlier goals. Plus we can set some new ones to reflect changed circumstances. When we speak about changed circumstances in mobile marketing, we could easily be speaking of GDPR, that European privacy regulation that threatened to change the way mobile marketers, our clients, employers and others do business. Similar in some respects to SA’s own POPI, GDPR seems to have little impact around the world. To illustrate, mobile markers worldwide cleaned up their databases and implemented all sorts of opt-in measures and the results – a year later – has been an almost 17 percent INCREASE in app permissions granted by mobile users. A worldwide study of mobile app permissions granted by about 700 million people around the globe found that there are now about 36 permissions granted per user per month. Opt-in rates, on average, are also still as high as 67 percent. So this says to us as mobile marketers that the consumer’s love affair with mobile continues and while it is good to tighten up privacy rules, regulations seem to do little on the ground. Recent research has also shown that consumers are becoming more selective about sharing their data. The average opt-in rate for the use of location-specific data fell from 9.3 per cent to 7.7 per cent. In conclusion, it seems that while consumers are becoming more selective about the channels they opt-into and the data they share; push notifications continue to prove their value by providing customers valuable information at the precise time and place they need it.

In-App is where it’s at for Millennials

Brands and agencies alike both know that mobile use has skyrocketed over the past several years. We know that our clients simply must incorporate mobile-friendly video content, ads, websites and more into our campaigns. However, for some late adopter clients, there is some selling of mobile still to do. Let’s take a look at a few facts and stats that will help make your mobile evangelising job a little easier. Clients need to know such illuminating factoids as 85% of time spent on Twitter and other social platforms, for example, is currently being spent on mobile. Also, over half of Internet usage now takes place on mobile. In fact, that was already the case in 2017. I’d hazard a guess that the percentage for Africa is much higher due to the continent lacking desktop web access. If that doesn’t swing your client the mobile way, bring in the big guns: can you believe that Millennials (ie: future big spenders) now spend more time looking at their mobile screens than they do looking at their TV screens? In fact, they watch more YouTube than traditional, live television. So besides being glued to YouTube, what is everyone doing on their mobile devices? Well, 89% of the time, according to one source, mobile users are interacting with downloaded apps. Also, just 11% of users’ mobile time is spent on mobile websites. And herein lies the (well-hidden!) point of this blog post: to sell effectively, mobile marketers need to invest time and resources into developing in-app strategies for their clients. Obviously, we all need a mobile web presence, but it’s apps that are really getting noticed by Millennials – and that’s where they are spending their mobile wallets

As 2019 closes out, choose mobile

With the coming and going of the month of July every year, it seems as if we pass that annual corner where the end of the year comes visibly into view. From the optimism of January we experience that yearly transition to the dread of December. Of course, we are not suggesting there’s any real scariness to the closing of the year, simply the mild terror the executive experiences thinking of what plans were hatched versus what goals were eventually achieved. Fortunately, there’s mobile to help us excel in our marketing as the year closes out. Few marketing disciplines can achieve tangible results as quickly and as transparently as mobile. This is helped by the fact that 80% of mobile users keep their devices within a metre from them at all time. Let’s look at three other reasons why mobile is tops: – Mobile users feel they have become part of the brand as opposed to being some distant consumer bombarded with messages that are far from tailored. This is possible because of the interactive and engaging multimedia content that is mobile’s biggest edge over traditional advertising. Because mobile marketing messages are being received on very personal devices that have become extensions of us, mobile allows consumers to internalise brands and all their positive attributes. – Related to the above, interactive content allows mobile users to stay highly engaged with a brand. It is this unparalleled degree of engagement that can’t be matched by a print advert or a billboard that enables effective learning and later recall to take place. They key is also that mobile’s many different bearers and platforms mean that boredom is limited. A consumer might receive a Please Call Me message with a text tag, followed up with an MMS that’s later reinforced with a promotional banner ad. – One of mobile’s biggest benefits is its measurability. And not only can mobile marketing efforts be measured, they can be measured across a wide variety of useful indices. For scientific marketers interested in a stats-based approach, mobile marketing is a discipline that will appeal. Brands can choose any one of these metrics to determine if they’re making their mark: number of downloads, recurrent usage, time spent, click through rates, leads generated, social media sharing, cost per conversion and more. Ends


It looked like the week for mobile marketing was starting off on a bit of a sour note a few days ago with news that millions of mobile Instagram users and others had their details hacked, but then out came the excellent news that malicious and disruptive mobile ads have decreased globally year-on-year. Awesome. In more detail, advertising security company Confiant says in about 1 out of 100 cases, mobile user sessions might be adversely impacted by a disruptive and unwelcome advert. The firm studied the most common issues for publishers and their platforms before concluding that malicious ads are more common during weekends and holidays. Apparently, the worst performing platforms are about 67 times more likely to deliver a nasty ad which to us says advertisers need to put the proper research and planning into the platforms and publishers with which they do business. Do not be tempted to contract with the unknown and unproven. So what do mobile users find amongst the most disruptive ads? One of the worst categories of offender is the malicious ad that players within a banner. With smartphone users getting used to super-high resolutions and generally great quality mobile campaign executions, even low-quality ads are now perceived as malicious and disruptive to the general mobile experience. Thankfully, malware and other ad quality issues are not intractable problems for the overall mobile industry, both locally and abroad. With the right systems in place and commitment from the industry, we can all tackle these issues.


Marketers have gotten used to collaborating with all sorts over the years. First, the ad ‘men’ were asked to work with the PR ‘guy’ and now mobile marketers are being asked by clients to secure collaborations with so-called ‘Influencers’… The rise of the social media influencer has been one of the biggest advertising and marketing stories in recent years. It has given huge numbers of people who excel on social media an opportunity for a decent income that is increasingly becoming their only income. However, showcasing products and services for money or freebies is not without its charlatans. Mobile marketers need to safeguard their budgets and protect client reputations when they engage with Influencers, or otherwise. Here are the first three questions every mobile marketer needs to ask of a potential social media partner: Content is king and numbers matter – In the world of mobile, content is king and in the realm of the Influencer, Follower count is really all we want to see. The mobile marketing must decide what numbers matter in their clients’ industries, but really, don’t send us emails angling for freebies with three, four or even five-figure Follower counts. Six figures is where it’s at. Also, take a good scroll through those Followers – we don’t want to be seeing plenty oddball accounts with lots of retweets and no actual bespoke posts. Pay attention to the details – With the awesome degree of measurability that social offers today, it’s easy to get blindsided by a flashy Influencer presentation that would make an old-style pie graph look like it was carved with a chisel. Ask your brand’s would-be Influencer to pack away the iPad and show you, in real-time, their Analytics page. Most social platforms have them now. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all boast super simply numbers pages that will enable the mobile marketer to see in a flash if a particular Influencer is worth the trouble. Look for the ‘engagement’ and ‘impressions’ tabs. Spread it out – Ensure potential Influencer partners understand that you want to see regular engagement over the whole month. If they have tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of Followers, ask them if they have the capacity to regularly punt your client’s product over the whole month, not just during the start of the relationship, and near invoicing time! ENDS


Not only is mobile marketing state-of-the-art, but more mobile marketers are using the most up-to-date technology out there to deliver for their clients and their client’s brands. To illustrate, apparently a whopping 70% of mobile marketers regularly make use of location data to advance campaign objectives. Compare this to several years ago when it was a battle just to get marketing industry colleagues to dip their toes into the possibilities of mobile with such basic bearers and technology as SMS and Please Call Me text tag ads. Today, it seems more of us are completing the circle by using location data to refine mobile executions. Today, the vast majority of marketers in developed countries are employing a mobile-first strategy to reach current and potential clients. About 60 percent say they’ve changed their brand strategy to create a more inclusive, personalised in-store environment for mobile shoppers. So what can we expect from mobile marketers going forward? If developments in first-world mobile markets are anything to go by, we’re soon going to see augmented reality (AR) technology that works with smartphones employed as a matter of course in the world of local marketing. We’re going to also see greater convergence of the real and virtual worlds in other, practical ways. “Click and collect” is going to continue to gather steam in 2019. Mobile marketers are calling this focus on convergence “bricks and clicks” strategies. That’s pretty cool. Finally, location data will help marketers sharpen their understanding of bricks and clicks strategies and tie both together in a neat package where everything from store openings to real-time retail offers are perfectly-designed with the best available location data.