What users are doing with mobile devices in Africa: Insights from Google, Native and Motribe

By: Mongezi Mtati

The first panel this morning had Nic Haralambous (Motribe),  Jason Xenopoulos (Native) and Brett St. Clait (Google) who took an in depth look at the growth and usage of mobile devices in Africa. Their focus from the user, as opposed to a business perspective.

Take-outs from the panel

Nic Haralambous (Motribe)

  • People do not necessarily want to connect on mobile as they do in real life.

Nic cites that most people who use Motribe do so to experiment with, and grow personalities that other platforms don’t allow.

  • The success of mobile platforms lies in increasing users and rapidly increasing activity.
  • Questions to ask when starting a mobile campaign:
  1. Do you want users to register?
  2. Do you want them to buy? @nicharry #T4A #t4amobi

Most companies do not set clear objectives when taking off with campaigns that have a mobile element.

Jason Xenopoulos (Native)

  • The power of brands has shifted from being owned by business, to now being owned by the consumer.

Jason emphasized how the social web has allowed consumers to express their views and own brands online.

  • Mobile can be used as a powerful marketing tool, if looked at from a user perspective.
  • Unless you are adding value, you are interrupting the consumer.
  • Data on its own is useless, it’s insight that can be extracted from data that matters.

Brett St. Clair (Google)

  • Entertainment drives innovation in mobile.
  • More people book their hotel accommodation using their mobile phones, at times 30-50 kilometres from the venues. This localizes search and makes it more contextual.
  • Google search spikes tend to correlate with radio and TV ads.

In closing, the speakers agree that data can unlock the potential of brands in mobile, but very few brands are using the data Africa.