How Africa Accesses Facebook on Mobile 2014

How Africa Accesses Facebook on Mobile 2014

About a year ago, I took a look at how Africa accesses Facebook on mobile as part of a project for a course run by the ODMA (the Ogilvy Digital Marketing Academy). I sourced all of the data from Facebook’s ad planning tool and broke the data down into:

  • Total Facebook users by country
  • Total mobile Facebook users by country
  • Total mobile users accessing Facebook on Feature phones, on Android, on iOS, on BlackBerry and on Windows Phone.

Facebook recently announced that there are over 100 million people in Africa using Facebook, half of all Africans connected to the internet. And since it’s been a year since my original post, I decided it was time to relook how Africa accesses Facebook on mobile in 2014.
Last year, I mainly looked at the five countries with the largest number of Facebook users. This year, I looked at how many people were using each mobile platform to access Facebook across the continent. Here are the results:


  • 40,817, 600 African access Facebook on Android devices
  • This accounts for roughly 45% of mobile Facebook users in Africa
  • The number of Africans using Android devices to access Facebook has increased 244% in the past year


  • 35,533,600 Africans access Facebook on Feature Phones
  • This accounts for roughly 39% of mobile Facebook users in Africa
  • The number of Africans using Android devices to access Facebook has increased by 19%


  • 6,209,240 Africans access Facebook on iOS devices
  • This accounts for roughly 7% of mobile Facebook users in Africa
  • The number of Africans using iOS devices to access Facebook has increased by 58%


  • 5,778,880 Africans access Facebook on BlackBerry devices
  • This accounts for roughly 6% of mobile Facebook users in Africa
  • The number of Africans using Blackberry devices to access Facebook has increased by 3%


  • 1,649,440 Africans access Facebook on Windows Phone devices
  • This accounts for roughly 2% of mobile Facebook users in Africa
  • The number of Africans using Windows Phone devices to access Facebook has increased by 146%

Some General Observations from the Data:

  • Compared to last year, more Africans are using Android devices (although this may include tablets) to access Facebook than Feature Phones. Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean that there are more Android devices than feature phones in Africa.
  • All the use of all mobile platforms to access Facebook grew over the past year
  • Android enjoyed triple digit growth in the majority of African countries in the study – this growth may increase in coming years as Google launches Android One in Africa
  • The number of Facebook users in Africa grew by 26% in the past year with 92% of users accessing the service on mobile devices

A Note on the Data:

All of the data used in this post was sourced directly from Facebook’s Advertising Tool. To the best of my knowledge, all of the above data is as accurate as possible at the time of originally publishing this post. If there is an error in the data, it may be my fault (please let me know if you find something wrong). If I was not at fault, then Facebook was drunk. You can find a full PDF of the data here. If you would like it in an editable spreadsheet, please let me know and I will gladly supply it.

I have tried my best to not be misleading with the data in this post. You are free to reuse any of the figures in this article but please do so in context – this is important to make both you and myself seem less stupid.

Bigish Data and the Big Screen

Bigish Data and the Big Screen

I was thinking about how businesses could better use data, and I wanted to do a quick case study with some real data… even if it’s only a little bit of real data. This post will look at how a company like Ster-Kinekor could benefit from investing in a smarter CRM system but hopefully it will have insights that can be used by other businesses.

The Experiment:

Using the data that is publically available through Ster-Kinekor’s online booking system, I looked at ticket sales for a show across 10 cinemas at The Zone in Rosebank, all screened between 19:30 and 22:15 on Wednesday the 2nd of July 2014. For simplicity’s sake, I pegged the cost of each ticket at R62 and compared the number of tickets sold vs not sold based on the number of total seats in each cinema.*

The Results:

  • In total there were a total of 1,707 seats available to potential movie goers
  • During the evening, only 216 seats (12.6%) were sold
  • The other 1,491 (87.3%) of seats were vacant
  • Sold tickets generated an estimated R13,392 in revenue
  • The value of unsold tickets had an estimated value of R92,442
  • This excludes popcorn, Coke and Astros

Now this isn’t enough data to jump to any conclusions, but you would imagine that The Zone would be one of the busier Ster-Kinekor cinemas. And while this is taken during the week, I’d assume that the real opportunity would be to look for ways to increase attendance during the least busy times, especially during the day….

At first I thought the solution might be for Ster-Kinekor to implement a loyalty programme:

See 10 movies, get the 10th one free. But while surfing on their website, I was shocked to find that they already have this in the form of the SK Club. The only thing is that 11th free movie at The Zone has already cost you between R310 – R620 depending on whether you watch your movies on a Tuesday or not.

But what if Ster-Kinekor had a better, smarter CRM programme and invested more in data-based marketing?

To me, there is a big difference between a loyalty programme and a CRM programme. While a loyalty programme can reward a customer, a CRM programme can go one step further by creating a unique and personalised experience for that customer. The way that this can be achieved is through data.

Every business generates data. The only thing usually missing is having the people with the right skill set to make sense of the data and identify the opportunities. When you get this right, data can be a huge competitive advantage.

The beauty about this Ster-Kinekor case study is that you can extrapolate any effort put into a CRM programme into a tangible business value. In many ways, the cinema chain’s business model is very similar to the hotel industry, another industry that has embraced the concept of CRM. Hotels sell rooms, Ster-Kinekor sells seats (and popcorn and Coke). The more people sitting in seats (and eating popcorn and drinking Coke), the bigger their bottom line.


The success of a great CRM programme (and the data people behind it) would depend on being able to find out how much money Ster-Kinekor could lose on tickets to increase the overall current profits from popcorn and Coke sales or vice versa….Theoretically speaking, Ster-Kinekor could probably afford to lose some money on both tickets and snacks, but only if they could increase the overall number of bums in seats.

Now between their loyalty cards and mobile apps, Ster-Kinekor probably has a comprehensive database with enough information about their customers to build the foundation of a smarter CRM programme. Here are some ways that they could make this happen:

Dynamic Prices

Not all customers are created equal. The buy 10 get 1 free mechanic is great, but if you are a true movie fan, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could unlock a tiered discount based on your patronage? As it stands, if you have a Discovery movie card, you actually pay more to watch a movie the second time than the first. In reality, it should be the other way round to increase repeat viewings and fill up cinemas…

In fact, if you think about it, even movie shows at different times of the day should be priced differently based on fluctuating demand….The only way to do this is to get a clearer understanding of each individual customer based on their long-term movie watching habits.

Social Reviews

Social reviews aren’t just another way to increase visibility on social. Companies like Amazon and Netflix have used customer reviews and ratings to get a better understanding of customers, increase the amount of content viewed and increase sales.


By getting a better understanding of your individual customer’s favourite movie genres and actors, it would be possible to segment a database and geo-target them with time-based discount offers to increase attendance across various cinemas during week nights.

More Special Events

Ster-Kinekor already does premieres for the latest blockbuster movies, but I think this could be taken further by identifying and creating once off events targeted at specific movie fans. Imagine if Ster-Kinekor celebrated the birthdays of filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock with a weekend movie festival, or screened the original Planet of the Apes before the release of Dawn of the Apes. Halloween Horror festivals, Star Wars Marathons, 100 Movies to See Before You Die…all of these events could be promoted, amplified and tracked through digital means.


There are plenty ways that businesses can use data to create value. It requires investment, in both people and systems but if done correctly it can create a better experience for customers and more more money for a business. Now after that lengthy post, I think I really feel like going off to sit in a dark room and drink some Slush Puppy.

*The very small bit of data used for this post can be found here. If there are errors or oversights, please let me know and I will do my best to update it.


Why Data isn’t the Future of Advertising

Why Data isn’t the Future of Advertising

by Adam Skikne

Advertising people like to talk a lot about data. There is a commonly held belief by many people in the industry that data is the future of advertising. And while I do believe that data has the potential to revolutionise advertising, I also can’t shake the feeling that a lot of people talking about data don’t actually know a lot about it.

So without any further ado, here is why advertising people should calm down a bit when talking about the future of advertising and data:

1. Businesses Already Have Plenty of Data

Most marketers paint data as this magical silver bullet that will solve everything that is currently wrong with advertising (which is a lot). But if data is that amazing, why aren’t more advertising people making use of the data they already have? Every company already has plenty of data that could be used to grow their business – so why isn’t it being used?

It’s already possible to work out things like the lifetime value of a customer or a brand’s share of a customer’s wallet. Every company is able to track their competitors’ online activity.  There is a wealth of public social data that brands can mine and merge with existing CRM programmes. You can already do amazing things with data. Instead of talking about the future of data and advertising we should rather be seeing what we can do with data we already have.

2. More Data is Not Always Better

The amount of data and information available to us is increasing all the time but that doesn’t mean that all of it is actually useful. This idea is something that Nate Silver unpacks in his book The Signal and the Noise.

In the book, Silver looks at the factors that prevent us from making accurate predictions. Why didn’t the majority of economists see the global financial crisis coming? Why can’t scientists predict the weather or the effects of global warming? Why do security agencies still miss terrorist threats? In all of these cases, a number of extremely smart people had access to a lot of data and still got things very wrong.

More data is not necessarily a good thing. Avinash Kaushik echoed this sentiment when he described the paradox of data: “A lack of data means you cannot make complete decisions, but even with a lot of data, you still get an infinitesimally small number of insights.” When people talk about data, what they really want is insights. Ideally, we should be focusing less on data and more on insights.

3. Advertising People Are Not Data People (or at least not yet)

Everyone in the industry is talking a lot about data but how many of them are employing people who actually know anything about data? What percentage of agencies are made up of data people? 5%? 1%? 0,5%? If data is so important, why don’t we have more data people in the industry?

I may be unlucky but I’ve sat through some very questionable “data-driven” presentations. For example, one post-campaign report focused on the click through rate of mobile banner ads. The result was less than 2%, which was still double the average click through rate for mobile banner ads. Sounds great right? The problem was that the content on the other side of the ad was not mobile friendly and would crash the smartest of smartphones. Even with a 100% click through rate, the only thing those ads would have done was waste a client’s money and frustrate the end user.

I’ve got one friend who is a process engineer and another friend with a doctorate who is an actual data scientist. Compared to the average Art Director, I might consider myself to be a “data person”. But in the real world, I’m not a data person. I’m still someone who works in advertising that understands a very limited set of metrics. Let’s not lose our minds here.

Having said that, agencies need to hire more data people. Real data people. They need to up-skill their staff or encourage them to watch some statistics videos on Khan Academy… or something.

Future of Advertiisng

Of course data is going to play an important role in the future of advertising. But we need to stop talking about data and start using it. We need to understand the limits of data because it’s not magic sauce. And if we want to be taken seriously, we need to seriously up our game or start hiring some real data people.

The New Digital Age The Digital Age

The New Digital Age

by @adamskikne

In The New Digital Age, Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, and Director of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, look to the future and try to predict what implications technology will have on a world that is becoming increasingly connected. The New Digital Age was one of the books I was most looking forward to reading this year and I enjoyed it immensely. If you are interested in technology in any way, this book is a must read. Here are just a few predictions from The New Digital Age:

The Next 5 Billion

In the next decade, 5 billion new people will join the Internet. Many of the people will be from the developing world and will be accessing the Internet for the first time from cheap smartphones. The impact of this shift will be huge, with the majority of the world’s population having gone from having no access to unfiltered information to accessing all of the world’s information in the palm of their hands. All in one generation.

But this shift will not take place in a vacuum. While the majority of the developing world will come online for the first time, the developed world will benefit from a number of new innovations; including self-driving cars, photo-realistic 3D holograms and robots. Let’s not forget the robots.

In the words of the authors: “Everyone will benefit from connectivity, but not equally”

Two Worlds

For nations, governments, people and governments, it is becoming increasingly clear that we live in two worlds. One physical and one virtual. But while people are embracing the digital world, governments are still trying to find (in their opinion) the best way to regulate it.

Regulation may change from country to country which may lead to a “balkanization” of the Internet, allowing each country to filter and control what information is accessible online. This would most certainly suck and not be a good thing.

News and Journalism

Due to an increase in connectivity, the ability to “break news” will be left to luck and chance. To demonstrate this point, the authors refer to one unwitting civilian in Abbottabad Pakistan who unknowingly live-tweeted the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But while some new digital platforms like Twitter will break news, people will still refer to traditional media organisations for commentary and analysis.

It should be noted that many of the next five billion people who will join the Internet live in impoverished, censored and unsafe conditions. But despite this, safer reporting backed by encryption and wider reach due to advances in connectivity will help expose corruption and wrong doing.

The Future of Conflict

While technology will help improve the world, it will also make it more dangerous. Cyber attacks and incidents of hacking are on the rise and we may soon see conflicts from the digital world spill over into the physical world.

Connectivity will make it easier for terrorist groups to recruit and train members, but by being online, their activities will also be easier to track. Once again, one of the things that tipped off the U.S. Government to Osama Bin Laden’s location was that his compound was completely disconnected from the outside world.

Another interesting potential trend is that rebels may begin virtual kidnappings, as stealing people’s online identities may be more lucrative and less risky than actual kidnappings. Additionally, advances in technology may also lead to the world’s first “smart” rebel movements who will aim to topple regimes through virtual means.


According to the authors, warfare will also become automated. Robots and drones will increasingly be used in combat operations in order to help minimise combat deaths, civilian casualties and collateral damage. While the use of drones in warfare is currently being debated, a report published by Wired in 2012 stated that drones now account for 31%percent of all military aircraft—up from 5% in 2005.

The Future:

Overall, the authors believe that more connectivity will ultimately be a good thing. Here is one final quote from the book to give you something to think about while we approach the new digital age:

“Every two days we create as much digital content as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003—that’s about five exabytes of information, with only two billion people out of a possible seven billion online. How many new ideas, new perspectives and new creations will truly global technological inclusion produce, and how much more quickly will their impact be felt? The arrival of more people in the virtual world is good for them, and it’s good for us. The collective benefit of sharing human knowledge and creativity grows at an exponential rate.”