The Enigma of the African Ad Market

Connecting with a large population base is a common strategy to ensure the success of marketing campaigns. The African ad market is no different but poses unique constraints to the advertisers owing to the low internet penetration in the region. With below 30% internet users and fragmented TV & radio media channels, Ad market remains highly dominated by the mobile-based promotion drives as around half of the African population has access to Smartphone or basic cell phones.

In this era of digital marketing, mobile phones remain the only effective solution to approach the African population. The Internet giants Google and Facebook which are often bashed for maintaining their oligopoly across global markets however provide stats, usage patterns and demographic information, but the African mobile ad services are crippled with malpractices due to the absence of such honest and transparent media. Due to low internet penetration in Africa, mobile ad services are offered by many unscrupulous so-called “affiliate networks” which indulge in various unethical and corrupt ads services like auto subscriptions, back-end subscription emulation, forced subscriptions, advertise one but deliver another service etc. This unethical conduct results in advertisers paying up for invalid subscriptions that do not have the consent of the subscriber and also, subscribers complaining about the illicit deductions from their airtime account. Mobile network operators (MNO) respond to the complaints with stopping all mobile adverts/disconnecting service providers or stopping mobile adverts all together in order to safeguard their customers. In some cases, customers are not even able to unsubscribe and are left with only one option to discard the sim card and buy a new one instead.

The unethical behaviour of the third party Mobile Value-Added Service (MVAS) providers in Africa is a major concern for MNOs and their customers, and this is where the Starfish Mobile International, one of Africa’s leading MVAS service provider and JoorsChain a consortium for disruptive mobile marketing, come together to alleviate the mistrust & fraud from the middlemen. JoorsChain is collaborating with on a state-of-the-art DAPP for digital advertising and developing blockchain based end to end solutions for mobile advertising, leaving no room for unethical behaviour or financial losses in the form of hefty commissions.

Using a blockchain technology to achieve transparency in the chain between Service Provider – Advertising Network – Mobile User – MNO would enable the advertisers to only pay for real authentic subscribers while offering the MNOs complete transparency and authentication of a user’s acceptance to be billed on a regular interval.

"The initiative from JoorsChain, supported by the state-of-the-art blockchain from TrueChain will revolutionise the digital ad market in Africa. This is extra interesting as programmatic ad serving is in its infancy in Africa, and expected to increase dramatically" says Per Östberg, founder and chairman of Starfish Mobile International.