Tanzania’s digital advertising: “our clients spend (including Tigo) 10 to 15% of their budget on digital media”, Nadeem Juma, Aim Group

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As the revenues in telecoms change from voice to data, the importance of digital advertising cannot be underestimated. Not only will it be a stream of revenue for African telcos but it will also be the sustaining lifeblood of some of the new digital content and services.  It will also be a key area of media spending for mobile operators trying to reach Africa’s potential digital natives.

Sylvain Beletre talks to Nadeem Juma, Chair of the AIM Group about how and why those digital revenues are developing in Tanzania and how it is riding this wave.

“ Tanzania is one of the few countries in Africa where national advertising and communication agencies generate more revenues than global agencies. AIM group is the biggest digital agency and has two distinct yet complimentary business units : a projects unit and an agency unit”.

“Our Projects unit is the innovation driven R&D arm focused on enterprise solutions, product development for both business and consumer applications strongly focused on technical solutions. It offers technical Needs Assessment, Mobile Value Added Services, Enterprise Platform Solutions, Aggregation & Payments Services and Retail Technology”.

“The Projects Unit set up Mkito - the biggest music Platform in Tanzania with 700,000 unique users to date - and our EKYC platform, helping mobile operators speed up the registration process. We supplied EKYC service to Tigo, Vodacom and Airtel. Read the related story here:

Tanzania’s E-KYC registers a mobile user in 5-7 minutes – mobile operators increase registration throughput

“Our second unit, the Agency unit has become the biggest digital agency in the country…with a twist. It is rooted in marketing-communication strategy for digital mediums, but our agency mission is to develop engaging consumer experiences that drive brand love and conversion. We carry out research, provide strategy plans, design & development, social care and engagement, media reach and we can also set up events. AIM Group plays a vital role in bridging the gap between new and traditional media, allowing ours clients to have a seamless 360-degree marketing plan and strategy”.

“Our first main project was a 3 months pilot with Tigo to increase positive sentiment with their clients. Within only 6 weeks, we reached our KPIs’. We promoted this expertise and very quickly, we realised there was a massive opportunity for customer care in Tanzania. We signed with multiple clients and set up agreements with social media like Twitter and Facebook. We also work with bloggers. I believe that there are about 80 to 100 high quality blogs among a total of about 1000 blogs in the country. Tanzania has probably the largest number of blogs in East Africa actually. Of course, we had to get into media buying”.

“Today, some traditional media have difficulties reinventing themselves for digital networks. We believe that they are being quite conservative about going digital, and they are not sure how to monetize digital activities. We see it as quite simple, and believe that we can set up business units that generate incomes for our clients”.

“From our experience, digital content is cheaper to produce than in the past, and it is sometimes more creative than for example on linear TV. We thus set up our own video production company and we produce around 10 to 12 videos per month. Social media has become a critical component of brands’ communications strategies. AIM is the main expert that knows how to use this powerful business tool in Tanzania.

“We actively foster relationships and today, we have 70 employees - from designers, developers, technologists, strategists, engineers to writers, social theorists and product developers - and 20 brands as clients.

“No one ever said being creative is easy. We believe in disruption, unconventional campaigns, and see ourselves as creative risk-takers. We are trying to be proactive in generating ideas and opportunities for clients. At the same time, we aim to link the social aspect of a brand congruently to its overall goals.

“AIM Group wants its clients not only to have an online existence, but also to leverage the digital world in order to have a vibrant brand presence amongst the online community without having to compromise tried and tested marketing, but instead tying it all together. AIM Group facilitates brands to engage and provoke their customers to be thinkers and risk-takers.

“Three years ago in Tanzania, about 2% of brands’ communication budget was spent on digital communication and advertising. Today, digital communication is really taking off : our clients spend between 10 to 15% of their communication budget on digital medias.

We are now looking to expand across East Africa, but we need to consolidate what we have in Tanzania first. We have identified opportunities in DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Mozambique. “

According to Balancing Act’s market report (Advertising in Africa - retaining broadcast’s share of the pie) – released in July 2016, advertising across the world is going digital, and the same thing is happening in Africa. But finding the right digital strategy is not that easy, not to mention working with the right digital agency. At the same time, traditional media owners are still trying to find the right business model to generate income from digital networks. The key to understanding all of these tasks is knowing what is happening with digital advertising on the continent.

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