Year after year, we witness digital innovation that continues to transform Africa’s economic and business landscape. We have seen the continent become one of the largest growth markets in the world for technology sales, as data and internet consumption accelerates dramatically. We have watched the likes of Facebook and Google scramble to expand their presence in African markets, as well as committing to connect millions to the internet for the first time.
While Africa finds itself in a strong position to maintain the pace of its digital revolution, this should really not be taken for granted. There is a lot to suggest an optimistic outlook for the continent in 2017, but this will depend increasingly on greater cooperation between the top players in the industry, innovators, tech leaders, governments and regulators.
Looking back at 2016, these are the trends we should expect to see taking shape in Africa in 2017:
1. Increase in Video-on-Demand:
The implementation of digital television and broadcast will open many more channels to consumers with the choice of content as the key differential. Content is already key in the choice of consumers’ viewing habits, and the availability of cable has driven this. The increasing popularity of online streaming platforms such as Showmax are slowly changing the way TV content is being viewed as people get to view or stream their favourite shows at their own leisure. Another notable area to watch is the digital video – mobile is the medium of choice in Africa and video viewing will become just as big, If not bigger, on mobile than on television.
2. User-generated Content:
While we are aware that this isn’t new, user-generated content is transforming everything from reviews to information research and discovery. Amateur created content is massive and will continue to grow not only in size but also in importance across platforms and content type. Everyone has an opinion and wants it to be heard! Blogs will also become more important in the marketer’s armoury.
3. Mobile Enterprise Apps is Rising:
With smartphone rapidly in use in Africa, companies on the continent are taking heed and employing mobile enterprise applications to streamline business processes and mobilise their workforces. Mobile enterprise apps let companies manage resources such as inventory and their supply chain using mobile phones, either through SMS or Web-enabled applications. The steady increase in the number of mobile users on the continent is fueling this trend.
4. Social Video Will Lead The Way in 2017:
The ever-rising of video bloggers and the popularity of video content sharing has changed the dynamics of consumer/brand interaction online. Social networking sites are beginning to introduce innovative ways that enable people to share video content on social media. Facebook has already tested out the concept of video images for profiles, meaning you can have a video as a profile instead of a picture.
5. Augmented reality:
This global trend is fast growing, and while the implementation in Africa may still be a way off, it cannot be ignored. Augmented reality allows brands to optimise customers’ experiences by bridging the gap between the digital and real world, creating endless possibilities for businesses to engage better with their clients and consumers. Digital content can be added to physical objects, such as print ads or in-store displays, to provide additional information about a product to shoppers.
6. Scheduled content:
This explosive trend refers to using technology to manage digital advertising as opposed to a more manual way. It allows advertisers to find and focus on audiences. This props up the bet of targeting your ideal audience, as you’re targeting beyond simply an ad impression. By adding geographic, demographic, first party/third party data, behavioural, contextual, and even transactional data to the process, we begin to gain efficiencies in targeting, thereby avoiding budget wastage. Programmatic buying also simplifies the procurement process, allowing for more time to be spent on strategy, optimising and creative. This is being implemented largely in few African countries, but will soon expand rapidly into the media world in Africa, as digital agencies expand across the continent.