The latest Smartphone penetration stats from Africa

Smartphones becoming more common in Africa

In the latest report by eMarketer we learn the obvious: smartphone penetration in Africa and the Middle East is increasing massively. Unsurprisingly the Asia-Pacific region has the highest penetration of smartphone users worldwide. Considering this area includes China and India this isn’t exactly surprising.

The No. 2 region in terms of the number of mobile phone owners is the Middle East and Africa, where 525.8 million people of any age are expected to use a mobile phone at least monthly this year—significantly more than in North America or Western Europe.

Smartphone use in the region will nearly double this year to 112.2 million, up from 67 million last year, while penetration of smartphones among the population as a whole in MEA will increase from 5.1% to 8.3%, according to the report.

There is on issue to consider: despite massive growth only $50 million was spent on mobile advertising in the region. This puts MEA square last in terms of spend compared to Latin America which is next on the list with $150 million spent per year. The predictions are positive though:

Smartphone penetration in Africa

Some further key metrics:

  • Internet users: 260 million in 2013, up from 102 million in 2008.
  • Mobile phone users: 525.8 million users in 2013, up from 358.3 million in 2009.
  • Smartphone users: 21.3% of mobile phone users in 2013, up from just 1.5% in 2009.
  • Social network users: 209.8 million users in 2013, up from 45.5 million in 2008.
  • Total ad spending: $19.28 billion in 2013, up from $13.38 billion in 2008.
  • Digital ad spending: $1.35 billion in 2013, or just 1.1% of total digital ad spending worldwide.
  • Mobile ad spending: $50.4 million, or less than 1% of mobile ad spending globally.

Mobile is massive in Africa and if you had any doubt then download the rest of the report here. For mobile help OfferForge is your key contact so contact us today for the greatest mobile campaigns.

Rich media mobile ads are a great way to improve clicks

Mobile advertising has an interesting path in that it seems to parallel web advertising of around ten years ago. Take for example to move from static mobile ads banners to rich media mobile banners and their growing popularity.

A recent study by Opera Mindworks discusses how mobile clicks are vastly higher than desktop clicks, sometimes by a factor of around five! Rich media ads achieved a CTR of 1.53% when displayed in an app and 1.12% on the mobile web. In comparison, standard banner ads achieved CTRs of 0.39% and 0.32% respectively.

Currently, standard banner ads (300×50 and 320-50) make up more than half of the campaigns. In the past quarter advertisers have begun to adopt relatively new but highly effective ad types such as tap-to-expand and VAST interstitial (mobile video) units. These two types in particular are favorites of premium brand advertisers who are looking to share unique content and deepen engagement with consumers rather than “light touch” metrics such as brand awareness or low-end conversions.

The best performing ads — those which achieve click-through rates well above 1% — are in the Automotive, Entertainment, Mobile Content and Travel categories. Unsurprisingly, all of the top campaigns in these categories were rich media, though just half of them were in-app vs. mobile web.

Interestingly Apple still has the bulk of web traffic although Android is rapidly catching up.

mobile ads

For advice on how best to use mobile banners and rich media contact us to discuss your campaign. You will find that many of the affiliate programs on do have mobile specific banner sizes that you can use. If there are any of the affiliate marketing programs you want to run, but can’t find a banner that works for your mobile website, please contact us. We want you to have as much success as possible with your affiliate campaigns and make money online wherever it is possible.

Google takes 50% of all mobile advertising revenue

It’s scary to think but of the $8.8 billion spent per year on mobile advertising Google makes around half of this amount. What this means is that in total Google receives over one third of all revenues spent on digital advertising world wide. This is all according to a report by Emarketer and the estimation is that Google have tripled their mobile advertising in 2012 from 2011.

mobile internet advertising revenues worldwide

As shown in the table above, 2013 looks to be another bumper year with mobile almost doubling in value, a trend we’ve seen for the past two years. Other winners include the likes of Facebook that will be seeing a $2 billion revenue from mobile meaning a total of 12,5% of the marketing budget goes to Facebook.

mobile ad revenue share worldwide by company

It’s also interesting to expand the view to the online advertising industry as a whole. Google still dominates here with a staggering $33 billion a year. Facebook, the second place takes home a “mere” $5 billion of the total online revenue pie. Third and fourth are Yahoo and Microsoft respectively and together they add up to Facebook’s revenues.

net digital advertising revenues globally

It’s heartening to see such massive growth in the digital industry and even more accelerated growth in mobile. Services such as Twitter have grown their revenue over 100% year on year since 2011, an unparalleled increase in any industry. Most excitingly if you look at the table above the “Other” section makes over $61 billion, an absolutely massive opportunity for anyone.

50% of mobile search equate to some form of conversion

Google and Nielsen have recently released the results of their “Mobile Search Moments” report where they looked at why and when people use smartphones and what sort of results one gets from those searches. High level: when consumers search for things on their mobiles more than half usually intend to buy it.

Participants in the study were asked to log their mobile searches over a two week period in Q4 2012, which resulted in more than 6,000 mobile searches being recorded, and then follow-ups were conducted by Nielsen to see what actions resulted from these searches.

There are many interesting findings from the report but perhaps the biggest takeaway is that more than half of the searches that resulted in a conversion – whether this was going into a store, calling a business or making a purchase – happened in just 1 hour, showing that mobile is possibly the most critical channel for search marketers and business owners.

Of the searches conducted by participants, three out of four triggered actions, which ranged from additional research (36%) to a website visit (25%) to a store visit (17%) to a purchase (17%) to a phone call (7%).

mobile search drives valuable outcomes for business

And, on average each mobile search triggered at least two of the above actions, although product and shopping searches were more likely to have higher numbers of outcomes.

Conversions also happened quickly after a search, with 55% occurring within just one hour of the original search.

mobile search drives online and offline actions
one mobile search leads to almost two actions on average

Many people would assume that mobile searches are done on the go, like on a bus or train when a desktop is not readily available, but it seems the exact opposite is true.

findings about mobile search

Almost 8 out of 10 mobile searches happen at work or home when a desktop could be easily accessed. According to the report, the reason for this is that consumers find mobile search quick and easy. In fact, 81% said that they were driven to mobile search because of the speed and convenience of it.

It’s not surprising that Google is pushing mobile advertising but, whether they are skewing the results slightly for their benefit or not, the truth is that mobile does provide certain conversion benefits over desktop search. For the rest of the results from the study download or view the presentation here.

To what extent will this impact the affiliate marketing space?

Any publisher who is running affiliate marketing campaigns will be affected. As the volume of search moves more and more to mobile device, so does the importance of websites that work on smartphones. Responsive design is no longer a nice extra, but a necessity.

Publishers that don’t respond to these changes in user behavior will just simply be left behind. Getting left behind will hurt your pocket directly. The lead generation efforts you put in or your attempts to make sales online will drop steadily as consumers move to mobile. The sooner you adapt to the mobile world, the better. Affiliate marketing has a huge role to play in generating income for publishers, but publishers also need to adapt to their consumers.

A look at the mobile ad ecosystem

The mobile ad ecosystem should come under the microscope. We’ve been told that we are living in the “post-pc” age and we also know that there are more mobile devices (phones and tablets) sold each year than there are desktops and laptops.

It stands to reason that mobile advertising is growing at a rapid rate. Unfortunately due to the rapid growth of the platform the technology and ecosystem are vastly different due to a wide variety of networks, operators and handsets.

Business Intelligence has put together a great report on the mobile ad network landscape and put together a basic explanation in the form of a great infographic below:

the mobile ad eco system
Click to enlarge


The different players in the ecosystem are explain as follows:

Mobile ad networks: Mobile ad networks aggregate advertising inventory and match it with advertisers, much as online ad networks do. Networks soak up ad inventory, analyze its potential, and sell it by matching it to advertisers’ needs. Where networks differentiate is in value-added services, such as aggregating buying power to strike better deals, or improve targeting.

Mobile ad exchanges: Exchanges automate many parts of the mobile ad process, and can connect publishers with multiple ad networks. Ad exchanges are primarily supply-facing at the moment, and have relatively few interactions with mobile ad agencies (even less so with brands).

Natives: Other companies are emerging that don’t neatly fit the established categories. They resemble ad networks in that they connect advertisers with publishers’ inventory, but they express disdain for the traditional mobile advertising model.These companies are trying to find a native approach to mobile advertising that will break through consumers’ apparent disdain for mobile ads. We call them “the natives.”

Mobile advertising still has a long way to go with such a wide variety of non unified platforms. You can access the rest of the report through a two week trial at Business Insider.

What the new Facebook phone means for ad data?

With the announcement last week of the upcoming Facebook phone and the ability to turn your Android device into a Facebook phone and make your device “people first”; (details here) the conversation about the phone took an inevitable turn to a discussion about mobile advertising and how this was Facebook’s attempt to muscle in on the mobile ad market.


Facebook Home won’t come with ads when it launches April 12 … don’t get too comfortable though. When asked about advertising, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted saying “there are no ads in this yet. I’m sure at some point there will be.”

Where exactly will Facebook Home run ads? On the Cover Feed, according to early reports. The Cover Feed, to jump start your memory, is the full blown picture and status feed that takes up the entire screen once you’ve installed Facebook Home. So if photos are a core feature on Facebook Home, you can expect that likewise full ads will probably be swipe-able and take up the entire home screen. Of course there are many ways to be creative with advertising on Cover Feed, which Facebook is likely quite aware of already.

This is scary and exciting at the same time.

Robin Grant, global managing director of We Are Social, said cover feeds “could offer an opportunity for News Feed advertising at a premium over Facebook’s existing offering.”

Additionally, he said that “Facebook Home could be the holy grail of mobile advertising. Aside from mobile operators, no other company is able to keep track of a consumer’s location at all times—which, privacy settings permitting, Facebook could now do with Home. And the new in-build chat heads and notifications features provide a potential mechanism to allow location-based ads to appear in a relatively unobtrusive way—something mobile operators [can’t offer]. If Facebook can use this to deliver location relevant and timely commercial messages to consumers, it will effectively give Facebook a license to print money, their long sought-after equivalent of Google’s AdWords.”

For us this seems like a step in the right direction for mobile advertising. Current networks such as Google’s Admob allow you to target a specific game, say for example, Angry Birds and you can make assumptions on the type of person playing that game however you can’t really know who is using a device. With Facebook eventually pushing advertising on their mobile platform they’ll know where you are, what you do and how often and this actually means better adverts rather than the traditional “spray and pray” assumptions. If anything, this is going to help the industry grow.

Tablet advertising to soon rule the roost

Initially tablets were purely for consumption but a recent study suggests that more and more, tablets are being used more actively, to research and buy all kinds of stuff – formerly the arena of the personal computer. This opens up the door to both advertisers and publishers to seriously look at tablet advertising and the opportunities it holds.

By the end 2013 tablets will account for 20 percent of Google’s paid search ad clicks in the U.S. Last year the average cost per click of ads served up on tablets rose 25 percent however there is still a gap of around 30 percent between the cost of tablet ads and desktop ads. By the close of 2013, the cost per click of advertising served up on tablets should equal that of desktops.

The mounting evidence is that for a growing number of people, the tablet has replaced the PC as a primary gadget for all kinds of computing tasks. That seems obvious to those of us who just bought a tablet, or have watched the fortunes of PC giants like HP and Dell flag.

But the big shift is that advertisers are seeing the evidence too, and are increasing the share of their search advertising budgets earmarked for mobile gadgets accordingly – almost doubling from 10 percent to 18.4 percent in 2012 alone. By the end of this year, mobile devices will account for one-third of search advertising budgets.

This begs two questions: Firstly if the tablet is becoming the PC as far as advertisers are concerned, what is the smartphone? Secondly, should advertisers be using the same ads for desktop as they do for tablets?

In our opinion, smartphone’s are still lagging behind and adverts are still fairly basic banners. With regards to the desktop vs. tablet debate it’s critical to consider the different types of inputs on the different devices. It’s pointless creating an advert that needs mouse input for a tablet so keep that in mind before investing in expensive creative that is not appropriate.