Cookie cutter approach to mobile advertising in emerging markets will fail

New report finds a little bit of ‘luck’ and a tailored approach garners most responses over mobile in the developing world

Press release

November 29th 2013. With the developing world identified as home to the fastest growing mobile connections, a new report warns brands and businesses not to take a ‘one size fits all’ mobile advertising approach to emerging market consumers. Instead, companies must take into account factors such as time of day, days of the week and the specific words that resonate with consumers from country to country, when deploying mobile marketing campaigns. The ’2013 Cracking the Emerging Markets Report’, from marketing technology company Upstream, captures insights from mobile marketing campaigns across Nigeria, Vietnam, Brazil and Cameroon, that reached 223 million consumers.

The report reveals the types of content, language, prizes and sentiment that are most powerful at eliciting responses over mobile.

The data shows that while marketing messages containing words such as ‘lucky’, ‘congratulations’, ‘pay nothing’ are popular with consumers across all countries, ‘urgent’ messages are effective at engaging Nigerians, while terms such as ‘you have been selected’ are preferred by Brazilian and Vietnamese mobile users.

Additionally, ‘exclusive’ mobile offers have been found to create cut-through with Cameroon consumers.

Winning formulas: market to market

With sub-Saharan Africa expecting to add 175 million new mobile users over the next three years1, the data provides valuable observations from consumers in Nigerian and Cameroon – countries which see up to 15 per cent response rates for mobile campaigns.

While content relating to ‘wellness’, such as lifestyle advice, and ‘quotes and proverbs’ are popular in both countries, Nigerians also favour financial and fitness tips, whereas people in Cameroon are keen to receive relationship advice.

Further afield, consumers in Vietnam are particularly receptive to English lessons over mobile.

Results from the free ‘mEducation’ campaigns run across the country found that typical response rates engaged 9 per cent of a 12 million subscriber base.

Additionally, campaign insights show that converting consumers into customers paying for premium content is more effective if users are presented with a free trial period as an incentive to upgrade.

The report also finds that offering free prizes or rewards is a major recruiting force for African and Brazilian consumers; however the actual prizes desired differs.

Although the promise of the newest iPhone would be expected to be a major draw for mobile engagement, offering free air time is 100 per cent more effective at prompting responses from Nigerians, while Brazilians are most tempted by the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The iPhone 5 is the third most coveted prize option for mobile users in Brazil, where cash prizes rank in higher than device.

Marco Veremis, CEO, Upstream commented, “As mobile advertising continues to boom globally, adopting different strategies to reach different consumers across the world is critical.”

“The world is not flat and understanding the nuances across each region will help ensure that messages are sent at optimal times and with language that best encourages a response.”

“Ultimately taking time to consider key factors such as content, sentiment and prizes across each region will help guarantee success and conversion in lucrative new markets.”

Timing is everything

Catching consumers at the right time can also heavily impact the success of the campaign.

Data within the report reveals that from country to country, responses peak at particular times of day and on certain days of the week. In Brazil, consumers are much more likely to respond to advertising messages at 9am in the morning, particularly on Mondays or Fridays.

The best time to target Nigerians is during the ‘afternoon slump’, approximately 3pm, which is when they are most receptive to marketing messaging – whereas 2pm is the peak time in Cameroon.

Apparently starting weekend entertainment early, 9am on Friday mornings has been identified as the optimum time to target Vietnamese consumers.

Veremis adds, “While we have identified key triggers for responses over mobile, businesses hoping to penetrate emerging markets need to work with the right partners that have detailed knowledge of the mobile landscape and consumers preferences’ within each country they want to target.”

Notes

1. Figures provided by the GSMA in 2013

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