Isis Nyong’O: Advertisers Should Embrace Mobile Ad


After the post I published yesterday about the reasons why brands and advertisers need to shift budget to mobile ad, I got a response from a friend on twitter, that mobile ads are not profitable. I wasn’t sure what he meant. He went on to mention that even on the mobile device, users are not clicking the ads.

While that is true, there are smarter ways of rendering ads on mobile that increase engagement with the ad by the users. This is a post for another day.

I met with Isis Nyong’O of Inmobi during Mobile Web West Africa 2012 in Nigeria. I asked her a few questions about their business and why she thinks the adoption rate of mobile is still slow in Nigeria. She obliged me. The excerpt of the conversation is reproduced below for your reading pleasure.

How have Brands and Advertisers been responding to Mobile ad?

Mobile Advertisement is still slow in picking up in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Brands are warming up to it, but in few numbers. It is like the early days of radio and television.

What does Inmobi do?

Inmobi connect advertisers with mobile internet users. We place the ads onto mobile sites and applications.

Who are the people you are looking at doing business with?

We are looking at doing business with advertisers, agencies and even direct clients who run their ads themselves. We are always looking for mobile content owner and app makers who allows us to place ad on their content and in their free games. Media house or developers, helping them monetise their contents.  Advertisers, publishers and educating the market. We have a few companies who are early adopters who are already testing the mobile ad service.

Give me some numbers as to how business has been

1.5 billion ad impression in Nigeria, this is 25% of the total figure of what we do in Africa. This is to show that there is a huge opportunity here in Nigeria.

The value of ad in South Africa is still much more than that of Nigeria. What is responsible for this is the fact that Mobile ad is still in its early stages in Nigeria. It is a bidding system and the baseline is higher in South Africa than in Nigeria. We reach about 6 million Nigeria on mobile and we are still growing it, which is about 40% of the total numbers of Internet users.

What do you think the future of mobile ad will look like in Nigeria?

The future is really bright. More consumers are going to keep coming to the web and mobile is going to be the go to channel for advertisers. Once the numbers surge and become bigger, there will be a shift. What most advertisers, brands and agencies are looking at now is that Radio and TV still reach more people than mobile. The point is, the perception of the people who are on the internet is more than the reality. 10 to 15 million mobile internet users on the web are not insignificant numbers. Helping advertisers see that so that they can shift their budget is the task so that they can reach their consumers.

The consumers are already online and they are doing a lot of stuff online. And this growing numbers of users are not being communicated to by advertisers.

Any Plan to help developers make money through your platform

Developer relation is alive and we have done a few projects with the Co-creation Hub. We host programs to let developers see how they can monetise through us. We also keep them up to date through our Newsletters.

How much money can developers make through InMobi?

We offer 50-70% in favour of the developer. But the reality is that not all apps are created equal. . An app like Angry Birds is a very successful app with lots of users. Developers need to be a bit realistic. It is vital for them to think about how they want t build an audience and how to get people to use the app. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be advertising. The developer need to consider the audience they are building for. There are things you need to consider, like in Nigeria where there is a payment constraint when users want to download apps. It is a number game. Unless you have lots of users, you are not going to make money through advertising.

What do you have to say to the brands and agencies that are not yet looking towards mobile ad?

They need to open their mind to a new channel that is growing very fast. The consumers you are willing to reach are already there. Every new method of doing things always comes with some level of resistance. It wasn’t different when radio and television were new. It is not surprising that advertisers, brands and agencies are not warming on to it. It is an evolution that is going to pick up eventually. The results are going to speak for themselves and they will eventually come on board and build mobile into their overall campaign.

Like I stated in my previous article, Isis has restated in this interview. What is holding you back from making the leap to mobile ad?

image credit: flickr