Mobile marketers have had a challenging few years. This is because industry self-regulating measures — that were aimed at fostering consumer confidence, like the double opt-in requirement — negatively impact revenues.
Of course, this is the short term effect. The goal of tightening the way mobile marketers do business is ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sector. Then there's the overall business climate, which is not looking too rosy on the surface.
We've recently heard much noise about the economy contracting 0.6% in the third quarter of 2019. What we're not hearing much about at the boardroom and dinner tables is the hugely positive news that South Africans have more money than they've ever had before.
Yes, don't emigrate now, things are getting interesting. Buried by the naysaying mainstream media is the fact that average take-home pay actually transferred to employee bank accounts in October reached the R16 000 level for the first time.
The typical South African response to any good news is usually to rubbish the source. Sadly for the usual armchair critics, the source in this instance is the banking industry itself, in the form of the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index. Score one for our bright South African future!
Next up is the second indisputable fact that inflation, in the form of the Consumer Price Index, is at its lowest level in eight years. So far we have seen above that the mobile users targeted by mobile marketers and their clients have more money in their pockets, and more of it is disposable income because things cost less.
After years of being constrained by South Africa's historically high cost to communicate, our economy could well be unshackled as soon as the new year. As many readers will have seen over the past several days, the Competition Commission has released the findings of its inquiry into the country's mobile data market.
The summary is that the mobile networks will have to reduce data prices and soon. Mobile marketers will be watching with interest how things develop over December and January because many would-be consumers of our clients' mobile advertising have been restricted by the high cost of mobile data powering their interaction with our world.
More affordable access to mobile data going forward will mean the ability to develop more data-intensive creative campaigns that can actually
be enjoyed by consumers without them worrying about the cost.
It really is going to be a case of 'onwards and upwards' for South African mobile marketing in 2020.
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