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The advertising trend that's changing the way Africa does business

If you've scrolled through your favorite social media platform lately and noticed that something's different in the way ads are presented - you're not imagining. There's a new trend that's taking social media by storm. Actually, it's not really that new, but only now, as the amount of Africans engaged in social media has risen dramatically, this trend is becoming something everyone advertising to Africa should be familiar with.

We’re talking about lead generation, and if you’ve never heard of this term before, now’s a good time to get to know it. Let’s try to explain exactly what it means, why it’s become such a huge thing now, and how you can profit from it.

The ABCs of lead generation

As we said, lead generation as a tactic of encouraging sales has been around for a while but hasn’t been as popular as it is today. Basically, this means that the advertiser does not try to push a sale via social media, but rather to create contact with potential clients - a sort of middle phase in the process of closing sales. Social media users are exposed to ads, which encourage them to leave their contact details - a move that requires much less commitment than pulling out your credit card and closing a deal.

These details are stored in the advertiser’s database, and they turn to them at a later phase to make contact with all of the potential clients. A deal is then possibly closed through more ‘traditional’ means, such as a telephone call or an email newsletter. As Johnathan Greenwood, spokesperson for Crystalead, a company specializing in different types of lead generation, put it, “this tactic makes it easier for both the buyer and the seller to close the deal, since there’s no pressure to do it ‘here and now’. This is basically both sides saying, ‘let’s talk some more about it’ and that there’s no rush to sell or buy.”

Why Africa, and why now?

There are a few reasons Africa is discovering lead generation now. One of them, as mentioned above, has to do with exposure to social media. There are almost 120 (!) times as many people using the internet in Africa today than there were 20 years ago - that’s quite a growth. And that number is only 40% of the African population, meaning the potential for further growth is huge.


But it’s not only about internet penetration, it’s also about global trends. The U.S. elections saw large scale use of lead generation as a means to get people to vote, on both the Democratic and Republic sides, which explains the huge voter turnout. Advertisers in Africa, just like advertisers around the world, saw the success and immediately searched for ways to copy it into business models - which wasn’t very hard.

What can it do for you?

If you’re looking to do business in Africa, you should strike while the iron is hot. Africans are just starting to get familiar with lead generation as a marketing tactic, so it’s still quite groundbreaking. Most social media platforms enable lead generation as an advertising target, and as part of the campaign building, they provide a form for filling out where you, the advertiser, define the desired contact details.

But not only businesses have to gain from this trend. Online marketers also have a chance to show off their skills and offer their services. Platforms like Crystalead and other well-known brands are now operating in African countries, and they provide everything the marketer needs: the businesses looking for the service, the sites that ads are going to be published on, the mechanism for creating the ad, the tools to analyze performance and more. All the marketer needs to bring is their creative mind, and they get paid in the form of a commission for every lead acquired (meaning for every form with contact details filled out).


Ready to dive in? Hold on a second. Keep in mind that an initial expense is required on behalf of marketers. The trick is to know just how, where and when to advertise for a successful return on that original investment. As Greenwood explained, “this should be regarded as commerce. The marketer basically buys the advertising space and rights, does the necessary magic, and stands to be benefit from the performance. We’re just there to let it happen in a professional environment.”

18 Dec 2020 15:59