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Mobile Application Marketing; Leveraging Kenya’s Love for Smartphones

At 83% Kenya is officially the leading consumer of internet in the world. According to Jumia’s Kenya Mobile White Paper 2018, this high internet penetration can be attributed to the fact that over 4.3 million Kenyans own a smartphone and the number is growing by 200,000 smartphones monthly.

But this does not come as a surprise to most of us. In fact I know a running joke that more Kenyans have access to mobile phones and the internet than clean water and latrines.

Mobile applications in Kenya
Mobile applications in Kenya

So how do you as a marketer, use this data to better understand and engage with your target audience?

Making The Transition From Old Mobile Marketing Strategies

Previously, Kenyan marketers have capitalized on mobile display ads, push notifications and Bulk SMSs to push their message to the target audience. While such strategies might have yielded results, the mobile landscape has changed. For example, here are a few downsides of mobile ads;

  1.   People don’t like them

Since you  perceive your phone as more personal compared to your laptops, receiving a display ad or an unsolicited SMS on your smartphone can feel intrusive and even disrespectful.

2. Ads are not optimized for Smartphones 

While you are conditioned to expect ads on the right margin of your laptop like on Facebook and Google, smartphone screens are too small to feature ads on the margin meaning you have to deal with ads popping up in unexpected places

3. The Fat Finger Problem

I’m sure you have experienced this at least once. You want to click on something close to the ad but you end up clicking on the ad because the screen is too small for display ads in the first place. Keeping in mind that such ads work on a pay-per-click model, every time you click the ad by mistake a cost is incurred by the marketer.

Mobile Applications Marketing

As a marketer, you are always looking for ways to get closer to your target audience, to understand their challenges, goals and situations. Consequently, mobile applications provide a direct channel to your clients.

Benefits of  A Mobile Application To Your Brand

  • You are always visible on your clients’ screens every time they use their phones.
  • Your audience can interact with your content even when offline
  • Apps are faster compared to websites which require opening a browser, typing the website domain and waiting for it to load, an app on the other hand only takes one click, think whatsapp.

However, despite the high uptake of mobile applications among Kenyans  only a small percentage of these apps are constantly used. So the question remains, how do you as a marketer develop a mobile application that your target audience will find useful enough to engage with your brand in the long-term?

commonly used mobile apps in Kenya
Commonly used mobile apps in Kenya

The Different Types of Mobile Applications

  1. There are games and entertianment mobile applications which make up 42% o mobile applications. Example; CandyCrush, Assassin’s Creed and Temple Run
  2. Social network applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make up 31% of mobile applications.
  3. Utility application are simply add-on functions that help the main system perform better. For example, email, clocks, alarm clocks, weather apps etc.
  4. Discovery apps help the users to find patterns and trends within a given set of data. For example, apps lke fundiapp help you locate fundis in your area while JumiaEats helps you find restaurants in your area and order for meals.
  5. Branded applications like the Nation media app or the Tala app typically reflect the brand’s identity and feature its values, colours, logo, visual identity and style, slogan, and more.

Whatever the type of app is, as a marketer, you need to understand that the purpose of an app is to make people’s lives easier.

mobile application marketing

TLDR; Instead of spending your marketing budget on tiny banner advertisements which often interrupt the user experience and are ineffective, smart Kenyan brands should leverage the ubiquity of mobile phones in Kenya by focusing on mobile applications which add value to the consumers’ lives while enhancing the long-term engagement.

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