Digital Marketing means different things to different people. To an American app developer it means the difference between a few hundred downloads and no profit and a hundred thousand downloads and a buyout offer from Google. To a Vietnamese DIY SEO entrepreneur, it means running a click farm and attempting to use the artificial traffic to push his website up the search engine rankings.
To ID Africa, a social startup from Lagos, Nigeria, the world’s most populous black nation and Africa’s largest economy, Digital Marketing is not meant to be a cold, impersonal application of brute force publicity or dodgy tweaking of traffic and popularity statistics. This industry entrant from the world’s fastest growing population of Internet access and penetration believes in something called Social Marketing.
Social Marketing essentially is the telling of stories or the transmission of messages to a target audience in ways that engage them and make them buy-in and interact with it. An example of social marketing is a branded mobile app which is very useful to a certain target audience and is regularly used by them. In essence, the target audience does not view this storytelling medium as an advertisement or a sales pitch, but rather as a regular part of their daily routine.
Offering a full option service range including web development and applications, content management, web research & analytics, search optimisation, influencer marketing & digital advocacy, paid search campaigns, strategy and consulting, systems E-commerce Development and mobile app development, ID Africa intends to be the pioneer of large scale Digital Social Marketing and allied services in Nigeria and on the African continent.
At its core, Digital Marketing exists for the same reason that offline marketing does – to influence public behavior toward a particular end, be it buying a chair from an online furniture store or watching a music video on YouTube. In practice however, both marketing channels differ in key respects. For instance it is more difficult to track consumer profiles and demographics online than offline.
A TV commercial for washing up liquid will run during a 9pm soap opera slot because it is that programme type and time which attracts family women. An online advert for the same washing up liquid very often ends up on web pages which are commonly viewed by people who do not fit the demographic profile of the target audience.
ID Africa’s revolutionary take on Internet marketing campaigns is an offshoot of the conversation-oriented, social-friendly philosophy of its parent company, BHM Group. It incorporates an ability to properly target a specific audience using social networking tools, as well as a holistic approach to publicity and advertising. The entire premise of its brand of social marketing rests on the realization that just like in real life, the majority of decisions we make – purchasing decisions or otherwise – are in fact decided or at least heavily influenced by environmental and situational factors. ID Africa makes use of conversation between peers as a marketing mainstay. CEO/Founder Ayeni Adekunle encapsulates that idea when he says, “This is end of the advertisement and the birth of the conversation. The new era of digital technology is upon us and this era will be above all else, a social one.”
The idea is that the social network has become the online equivalent of the office water cooler, the school cafeteria, the student union building lobby and the club. Rather than doing the online equivalent of jumping in front of random people with a shiny billboard and hoping some of them will be influenced sufficiently by it, a conversation is ignited and managed on social media platforms which organically expands to include as much of the target audience as can be reached while also organically excluding those outside the target audience.
There are currently 11 million Facebook users and 2 million twitter users in Nigeria. Facebook is the most used social media site in Nigeria with 78% of the market and twitter is second with 14%. Furthermore, Nigeria has the highest Facebook mobile penetration in the world with 81.2%. Perhaps most tellingly of all, 3 of the top 5 most download iPhone apps in Nigeria are social networking apps (Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram). What this means to Digital Marketing in Nigeria is that first of all, managed conversations must be leveraged for Facebook and Twitter mobile accessibility, in order for them to have maximum impact. What it also means is that if 3 of the top 5 most downloaded iPhone apps are social networking apps, the other 2 can also be targeted to pass messages across in other ways – which is where app development comes in. ID Africa leverages on interesting and exciting content in a full spectrum manner to engage with target audiences and deliver desired results.
The use of conversations in online marketing can be compared to the use of lifestyle marketing offline. Like its offline cousin, digital social marketing has a ceiling of potential performance that is so high that no one knows yet how high it goes. While offline lifestyle marketing is receiving a lot of attention and investment, digital social marketing is still relatively virgin territory in Nigeria, not least because understanding how to navigate social media to achieve commercial goals is not an exact science.
ID Africa believes that within its team of people with extensive backgrounds in advertising, public relations, social media promotion and journalism, lies the formula for cracking the online social code and making effective use of the Internet conversation to drive client needs and reach campaign goals. In a nutshell, ID Africa intends to deliver a complete range of Digital Marketing solutions in creatively unmatched ways – a perfectly balanced marriage between marketing and audience engagement, something which hitherto has been elusive.
If it is successful in this interesting quest, it will become one of the African tech industry’s shining lights and more than that, it will have created a new global template for Internet marketing and online Public Relations. If indeed, this is the age of the conversation as ID Africa says, the potential is practically unlimited.