Growth of Africa’s app economy provides new advertiser opportunities

By our News Team | 2022

Market for mobile apps is on the increase as smartphone penetration continues to grow rapidly, summit hears.

South Africa’s app economy is seeing impressive growth, largely fuelled by the massive penetration of mobile smartphones in the country. 

Given that South Africa has one of the largest mobile markets globally, with most households and individuals having access to a mobile phone, there is huge potential for mobile marketing in the country, believes Arunabh Madhur, Regional Vice President and Head of Business in EMEA for the SHAREit group.

Mobile Apps

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

The company is a peer-to-peer file sharing, content streaming and gaming platform.

Madhur shared his experiences, learnings and key insights at the inaugural App Growth & Marketing Insights Summit, organised by SHAREit in Johannesburg and Cape Town recently. The event brought together thought leaders in the mobile marketing industry.

“The high rate of mobile connections in South Africa is helping to drive digital inclusion,” agreed Chanel Hardman, Country Director for South Africa at the SHAREit Group. However, digital literacy and education will be critically important to ensure no one is left behind in the digital world. 

According to the GMSA Mobile Connectivity Index, South Africa does not score too far behind more developed markets when it comes to mobile digital infrastructure. 

However, while the country scores highly in terms of network coverage, it falls short when it comes to network performance, including speed and latency. 

Growing internet and mobile penetration has resulted in a large spike in total app installations in the last two years by the country’s relatively young and tech-savvy population. In the past year alone, app installations increased by 41%. 

Brands developing own apps or are partnering

Summit attendees heard that brands are recognising the opportunities presented by these apps to reach consumers and are either developing their own bespoke apps, or partnering with so-called ‘super apps’. Amongst the most downloaded local apps are those from financial services providers and banks, online retailers, food delivery services and gaming.

However, to utilise apps successfully requires that brands have a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve, including the cost of each acquisition, click, installation and registration, said Conrad Geldenhuys, Marketing Manager at Ayoba while speaking at the summit.

Ayoba is an all-in-one app that offers free instant messaging, voice and video calling, games, music, news and entertainment. 

In his presentation, Riyad Khalil, Senior Account Executive for the Middle East and Africa at Adjust, a mobile attribution and analytics company, noted that the user journey has become more complex than ever, and brands should therefore be using a mobile measurement partner (MMP) to provide a unified overview of the brand’s performance.

“Once marketers have access to privacy-compliant relevant data, they’re able to better understand user behaviours while in your app, which in turn allows for more appropriate messaging,” he said.

Kirsten van Rooyen, Head of Digital at Simply Black, an African media agency, told attendees that the rest of Africa’s app economy is seeing a similar boom to South Africa, with a growing number of apps shaping lives on the continent. 

Van Rooyen’s advice to app developers and marketers is to think differently to solve simple problems with easy-to-use solutions. “Effective usage should be the measure of success,” she said, adding that no one can solve Africa’s challenges better than Africans.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.