Mobile Advertising in APAC and Africa

IMAGE: Woman reading phone as she walks down the street.

When it comes to technology and digital advertising, APAC and Africa are the next billion users. They represent the future of digital commerce and an open market with a wealth of opportunity. The key to success? Mobile and video.

The Asia-Pacific area, India and China, Africa and Latin America are going through rapid growth. The emerging markets in these areas are the key to success for digital commerce; they’re seeing massive mobile device uptake and increased internet usage, but they’re removed from the monopoly that mega-corporations like Google and Apple have over the existing developed markets.

In countries like India, where digital advertising is more effective than in the West and device uptake hasn’t met saturation point, the benefits for those willing to enter the market are endless. Striking now could mean brand recognition in a market that is currently only projected to grow… and all the benefits that come with it.

But how do you assure success?

There are three key components to advertising in emerging markets: mobile, device awareness and video.

Aim for Mobile

APAC and Africa are seeing serious mobile uptake and, in most countries, mobile use outstrips desktop. This is especially heightened in the Asia-Pacific region, including India and China, where there were 82 million new mobile subscriptions in Q3 2014, according to Ericsson. 18 million of these new subscriptions were in India alone, making the country the largest emerging market globally.

In most of APAC and Africa, mobile is the first screen. Fifty-nine per cent of the Indian internet audience browses exclusively via mobile devices. In Africa, the second-largest emerging area globally outside the Asia-Pacific, mobile-only web users are also common place. Almost 99 per cent of Kenyan internet subscriptions are mobile, closely followed by Egypt, where 80 per cent of internet users are mobile-only.

Mobile is a huge platform that shouldn’t be ignored. Make sure your company has a mobile-friendly presence and runs adverts to mobile devices. If you’re looking for a mobile business model for your company, consider going ‘freemium‘. Users within the Asia Pacific are far more likely to continue through to content and downloads if they pay with time (for instance, by watching an advert) than via actual financial payment. AdSpruce offers a video wall ad format for publishers that allows monetisation of any link in the same way as freemium gaming apps.

By 2020, Ericsson expects a nine time increase of mobile traffic thanks to  increasing mobile broadband use in the Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America. Tap into the market now, before it’s too late.

Don’t Ignore Feature Phones

While India and other parts of APAC are seeing massive growth in smartphone sales and usage, the majority of their population and Africa still use feature phones. Feature phones offer a cheaper option with a longer battery life, making them ideal for markets where access to reliable charging points might be scarce. In India, around 77 per cent of phones are feature phones. This will need to be taken into consideration for any mobile device marketing.

Users in APAC and Africa are more likely to purchase Samsung and Nokia handsets, while usually purchasing phones for functionality over brand name, according to UpStream and YouGov. In India, the top mobile brand names in Q3 2014 were Samsung, Micromax and Lava. All of these devices run on Android-based operating systems.

Your adverts will need to display correctly across a range of device sizes but also across proxy browsers, which are popular in both the Asia Pacific and Africa. Proxy browsers reduce interactivity, open videos in third-party players and disrupt tracking features. Few ad networks offer a platform that can combat these issues. AdSpruce is one of the ones that do by using dedicated technology to enable tracking capabilities.

Advertisers should choose carefully how advertisements are distributed and look into proxy browsers carefully before moving forward. Publishers looking for maximum profit will have to do the same.

Go Viral with Video, Share on Social

Users in APAC are far more likely to share video content than those in non-emerging markets, according to research by Coull. Internet audiences in Indonesia are three times more likely to share a video than the global average, with India a close second. These videos are most often shared on mobile devices via social networks.

Social networking is one of the main reasons consumers in emerging markets connect to the internet. In India, it’s in the top five reasons for internet access for north urban and rural users, only beaten out by entertainment (namely, watching video.) Marketers within APAC and Africa already use social media heavily precisely because of this; 66 per cent look at social media to better understand their consumers.

Advertise where your target market is already active. Social networks and video entertainment networks offer the perfect platform to grow brand awareness and promote products. Use them as ways to distribute video content alongside a good mobile video ad network. This ensures that your content is being seen and recognised by the maximum amount of users.


Feeling better prepared for the next billion? By combining mobile, video and social aspects into your site or your campaign, there’s very little that can go wrong. Maximise your potential by taking a leap into a new market on the brink of crossing the chasm.

Looking to go mobile in APAC or Africa as a publisher or an advertiser? Visit to see how we can help you get the most from the new billion. Have more to say? Contact us by commenting below or through Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Ryan Davies

Author Ryan Davies

Marketing guy and coffee addict. I help brands reach consumers and help content owners monetise their mobile websites at AdSpruce. To chat about AdSpruce, Marketing, Mobile Video Advertising or any other topic you can find Ryan on Google+ or get in touch via Twitter (@ryan_adspruce)

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