Africaisan inspiring place for Facebook. Like us, Africa is mobile-first. In fact, in many cases, it’s mobile-only. And like us, Africa is entrepreneurial, with SMEs driving the lion’s share of economic growth and job creation. Africa is innovative too: our agency and brand partners continually create new and interesting ways to reach people, whatever their device or connection speed.
We’ve been working with various organisations in Africa for some time, and recently opened an office in Johannesburg in order to partner even more closely with local businesses and agencies. In September, South African advertising veteran Nunu Ntshingila will join Facebook as our Head of Africa to lead us forward on this mission.
Today more than 120 million people in Africa use Facebook each month to connect with friends and family and to discover the things that matter to them. That number is up from 100 million just last September, and it’s growing every day. Forecast to reach a billion people by 2018, Africa is experiencing the fastest population growth in the world. And business is booming too.
At Facebook, we understand that the two biggest challenges facing businesses are winning new customers and keeping existing ones. Facebook gives SMEs an easy-to-use set of online tools that enable them to cost-effectively find customers and generate sales in a measurable way. We’ve seen some great success stories from the continent. South African self-serve frozen yoghurt store Wakaberry, for example, which previously would have been reliant on passing trade, now uses Facebook to showcase their stores and promotions to a wider audience. And in just four years, Kenyan children’s brand FunKidz has expanded into Uganda and Rwanda to meet demand expressed on Facebook.
We’re building localised solutions to help brands connect with people in a meaningful way, across any device and connectivity level. As well as running on smartphones, for example, our ads also work on feature phones – low-cost devices which may lack some of the advanced features of smartphones, but are internet-enabled and used by the majority of people in Africa. Ads can also be targeted to people on the basis of their mobile network type. Video campaigns, for example, can be targeted at people with high-speed connections, whilst image or link ads can be swapped in for those with slower connections. And there’s more to come, with our engineers continually working to make our products more relevant to emerging markets.
We’re very excited about Africa’s future and about the role our Johannesburg office can play in helping to connect people across the continent in more impactful ways. Take a look at what some of our existing clients – including SMEs as well as large global corporations – had to say about our new office.
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