If you are wondering whether Internet based advertising works in Africa, well, here is the good news- it does! For many businesses, it is much more effective than using traditional media. With online advertising, you can track your expenditure vis-à-vis results, monitor response patterns for greater effectiveness and target your exact audience. While traditional media could indeed be better in some cases, online advertising has turned out (generally speaking) to be cheaper and more accessible to many small businesses. Most interestingly, it works very well in Africa! In case you have not joined the train, let me give you a few tips:
Understand your target audience: Africa is a unique continent composed of small groups of tribes, each with unique characteristics and levels of development. When advertising online, create specific adverts that target specific groups. A thorough study of your target audience would determine your medium (standard web, mobile or both), channels (video, text, images or animations) and budget.
Maximize free platforms: There are many free advertising setups you can utilize online. The most obvious choices are your own social media (Facebook, Twitter) outlets. Next are free classified advert websites. Popular choices are Dealfish (available in Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania) and Google Trader (available in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria). With a simple search, you can get many other websites offering similar services for free.
Understand Paid Advertising: Paid advertising is a fast way to get traffic (visits) and ultimately sales. Some of the most popular ventures online today use paid advertising heavily. Having consulted with a number of small business owners who use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising however, I know that it can be a financially frustrating venture if you don’t understand it. Research before you start! Good platforms to advertise on are Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. I personally prefer Facebook Ads because the results are more social-oriented and considerably cheaper than Adwords. I would also recommend that you try out a smaller PPC network for cheaper pricing and perhaps, better targeting. Addynamo and Bloovue are good options that target locations in Africa. In many cases, it also works well to directly lease advertising space from a popular website that features content targeting your niche market.
Build your own advert channels: The web is like real estate- the land (websites/advert channels) keeps increasing (mostly) in value with time. I started using paid Facebook Ads about 2 years ago. Then, it was remarkably cheap. Now, I spend about ten times of what I spent then to achieve the same results. The moral of the story is: don’t just advertise. Retain clients by making your own website interactive. Add features that make it more than just a sales outlet. Enhance user experience so that they will return. Ensure that they subscribe to your email feed, Facebook fan page or Twitter account. And when they do, don’t spam them with adverts. Keep them entertained with high quality content.
Do you advertise online? Share your thoughts or what has worked or not worked for you using the comment box!