The African ad market contracted by nearly a quarter in 2020 due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only more dramatic fall was reported in Latin America, where the spending contracted by a third. With five billion U.S. dollars invested in advertising, however, Africa was the smallest regional ad market worldwide, accounting for one percent of the global expenditure. Africa's position in the competitive global ad market is unlikely to change in the near future, as the projections show positive but low growth rates for the upcoming years.
TV remains the market leader
When the media split is considered, TV is still the definite winner across the continent. In South Africa, TV ad spending amounted to 436 million U.S. dollars in 2021; by 2025, it is expected to reach 549 million U.S. dollars. In Morocco, the ad expenditure is forecast to grow from 197 million U.S. dollars to 231 million in the same period. The Nigerian ad market will develop at a very similar pace, whereas in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana, spending will remain flat.
Internet gains ground fast
Just like it can be observed in any other market worldwide, digitization has also started reshaping the African advertising market. Programmatic advertising is making its way to the continent. While Africa accounts for a small percentage of global expenditures on programmatic advertising, certain countries in the region are showing quite high investments into this method. Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, and Nigeria are the leading markets in Africa spending on programmatic advertising, with expenditures surpassing 100 million dollars in 2021. In South Africa, the internet is already the second strongest ad medium, and it is catching up to TV fast. It was also projected to develop at over 10 percent annually until 2023. In Kenya, interned ad spending is also set to grow at a 6-year CAGR of 7.7. percent until 2025. Likewise, Nigeria, is following a similar pattern, with internet ad revenues of roughly half of what TV attracts and it is projected to develop at the same pace as in South Africa. In Ghana and Tanzania, the internet has not established itself as firmly yet, so its share of the ad pie is significantly smaller. Still, it is projected to develop at strong one-digit rates over the next couple of years.
Mobile becomes the default
Africa is the best example of the mobile-first trend. Penetration rates of mobile broadband trump fixed-line broadband in all countries, and this fact is beginning to reflect in the manner advertisers invest, as well. Prime examples of this development are South Africa and Nigeria. In South Africa, mobile accounted for 45 percent of the total digital advertising spending in 2020 and was projected to cross the 50 percent threshold in 2023. In Nigeria, this threshold was already crossed in 2021, and by 2023, the share of mobile is expected to increase to 54 percent.
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J. G. Navarro
Research expert covering advertising and marketing with a focus on South America