Africa spends too much on traditional marketing, says expert

African businesses still spend too much on traditional marketing channels despite the growth of social media and mobile, says Jeremy Woolf, Text100’s lead in social and digital media.

Woolf believes last year will go down as a historically significant one for social media, but says African businesses are still reliant on traditional marketing, “just because that’s the way they’ve always spent.”

“One of the challenges with Africa, I found, is a lack of research,” he told HumanIPO. “The large global research companies tend not to go very deep into the smaller markets.”

He argued that there was, however, potential for the continent to move away from these traditional methods.

“Mobile [in Africa] certainly is growing and I’ve seen research that supports this… the mobile coverage infrastructure is getting better, covering more remote locations,” said Woolf, who added that Africans are more likely to be in possession of a mobile phone as opposed to a personal computer.

Woolf believes people enjoy accessing Web-based content through mobile devices due to price and accessibility. “If people are having to make a decision between a rather expensive laptop [but], if their main use for that laptop is to email or to Web browse then increasingly, a mobile is at a much lower price point,” he said.

New opportunities are also provided by the growth of social media, for which 2012 will go down as a historic year, according to Woolf.

He highlights Facebook’s initial public offering, hitting a billion users and purchase of Instagram, along with Twitter’s financial gains and Pinterest’s growth as reasons for this.

Speaking to HumanIPO, Woolf explained: “Twitter is in the process of making as much money as it can. They’re doing that through making as many people as possible go to their platform as opposed to using other platforms that access Twitter’s API (Application Programming Interface).

“In a rather tongue-in-cheek way, I suggested that they’ve gone out of their way to annoy developers… It makes sense from a business perspective but it annoyed people.”

Woolf also provided some insight as to what new content and collaboration services Facebook and Twitter users can expect from the social media sites. He believes both sites will start making more use of videos.

With the launch of Facebook’s new search engine, Graph Search, he believes “they’re certainly looking for ways to make it easier to find people who share interests and experiences.” 

Posted in: Mobile

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