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Want to reach customers? Go mobile, Google tells marketers – The Star, Kenya

Want to reach customers? Go mobile, Google tells marketers – The Star, Kenya

Businesses must work fast to catch up with the fleeting consumer whose attention is now on mobile platforms.With compelling content, advertisers and businesses can tap into the millions of mobile phone users and consumers who are engaged through their gadgets, Google Kenya country manager Charles Murito said on Monday during a technology round table in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This, as a total internet advertising market size, is expected to exceed $1 billion (Sh100.7 billion) by 2020 in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. As e-commerce continues to grow on the continent, more shoppers are easier to reach through their smartphones. Murito said on average, mobile users look at their phones for up to 45 seconds at any one moment. “A marketer can make use of such micro-moments to run short advertorial content that can be consumed through smartphones.”

lack of data

In 2017, 81 per cent of the information Kenyans searched for on the internet was done using smartphones. This was a seven per cent growth from 74 per cent in 2016. Kenyans were second to Nigerians who used their mobile gadgets for internet searches 86 per cent of the time in 2017, up from 76 per cent in 2016. South Africa came third in the use of mobile internet, with 67 per cent using their mobile gadgets for online searches, up from 61 per cent the year before.

Murito said videos have become popular with internet users of all age groups, with YouTube garnering one billion hours of viewing, and 400 hours of new content uploaded to the site every minute globally. Nicky Van der Meulen, the group general manager at Hitch Digital, decried the lack of data from within Africa on its use of the internet. This is worsened by a lack of strategy on how to reach markets within the continent.

“We need to understand what works for which market, because Africa is not just one big country.” Meulen said research-based commercial content can be targeted to reach the right consumers, at their preferred points.

“Consumers are easily turned off by wrong advertising content, or when content comes at the wrong time or when it is targeted to wrong platforms,” she said. Cost of data is still high in Africa, and consumers do not want to consume content which will waste their time or internet without giving them value for time and money.

Meulen said advertisers should research on how to position their content to receive maximum returns. “For instance, advertorial content could be targeted to mobile users, or to run where there is only Wi-Fi, or in areas where the network speed is best for maximum results.”


African businesses have been urged to follow consumers where they are, which is on their mobile phones. It is becoming tougher for advertisers too, as consumers are more likely to research a product or brand on the internet as well as seek reviews from online communities before going out to buy.

The new battleground for brands is in helping customers save their time by finding the right information quickly since consumers are becoming more demanding, curious and impatient. “They will search more on where to buy a product, with 140 per cent recorded on mobile searches,” Murito said.

Searches on same day shipping services increase two times on mobile, and travel searches 150 per cent on mobile as internet users sought to know which places are open ‘today’ and ‘tonight’ while searches where the outlet is ‘open now’ increasing three times for mobile users in Kenya.

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