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Jan 03

5 Essential Tips on Marketing Mobile Apps in Africa

By zealousys

Sawubona SA!

We have covered a great variety of tech topics so far. Our posts have talked about mobile money, bitcoins, mobile learning, gamification, and other related topics. (The complete list is available in our ‘Sawubona SA!‘ archives) However, our focus in this post will be towards the ‘marketing’ aspect of things.

You have a kick-ass mobile App. The UI is intuitive. User experience is swift. Payment integration is multichannel. Everything looks positive, but there is one issue, user onboarding. In other words, how to get people to use your app?

Start with the basics!

You have already identified a marketing mix [That’s why you made the App! Isn’t it?]. Next steps, Map it to the 7Ps.


Here, the product component means the offering. It can be running as a mobile app, a mobile website, and even an SMS/USSD based service. The Physical evidence here refers to the components of service delivery. It can be a mobile ticket, e-mail, bar code etc.

In addition, app marketing is an interplay of the following variables:-

The App and the Problem it solves


If your app really solves a genuine problem, ‘word-of-mouth’ is the way to go.  Highlight the App Store reviews of newbie users. Feature them in company’s digital communications. Social media accounts, e-mailers, and pin boards. Incentivise the first time users. This helps in building initial traction.

The Target Audience for The App

Users of different market segments, react differently to Apps. Understand the target audience and proceed accordingly. For example, Students have a higher frequency of interpersonal interactions. They are the perfect audience for word of mouth publicity. However, there needs to be an awareness creation effort. This can be done through campus events, student discounts etc.

Geographic Segmentation


Which countries in Africa you’re targeting? Africa is diverse. Diverse situations deserve. For instance, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have the highest Internet penetration in Africa. However, when it comes to payments Kenya and other Sub-Saharan nations prefer mobile money. At the same time, Nigeria and South Africa prefer other online solutions such as instant EFT, credit cards, net banking etc.

Is there a hack to App Marketing?

Oh yes! There is one, traditional media channels.

“Airtime and data costs are expensive in Africa. The insufficient power supply further adds to the situation. Also, feature phone is still predominantly used. Smartphones are still in the growing stage, despite Chinese manufacturers introducing cheaper devices.”

This is where the traditional media helps. Combine traditional advertising channels like TV, radio, billboards with mobile calls to action. The result is engagement.


The Takeaway

Don’t undermine traditional advertising channels. Use the best of both worlds. Be creative and innovate. Don’t lose the human touch in the process of communicating your ideas to the audience. The mass appeal of traditional media and the personalisation of digital media, use them in an alliance.


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