The 30th of March 2016 reigned in the ever prestigious Ugandan Social Media Awards (SMA’S) hosted at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The glamourous blockbuster of a ceremony honoured the best and most relevant in Ugandan social media. The SMA’s take pride in rewarding and honouring both individuals and organisations who harness the likes of social media for purposes of entertainment, change, the sharing of ideas and creating communities online. And they did just that.
This year’s awards saw MTN Uganda walk away with the much lauded title of ‘Brand of the Year’. This award goes to the nominee with the highest level of engagement online while making use of interesting and well thought out strategies and campaigns across all social media channels. It just goes to show – these days it’s not so much about how many followers you have, but about how you’re engaging with them. Other category winners include:
Best Integrated Social Media Campaign – Coca Cola Uganda
Best Social Media for Small Business – The Pearl Guide Magazine
Best Blog – Campusbee
Best Media/News Outlet – NTV
Best Video/ YouTube Campaign – Kansiime Anne
The Social Media Awards are the brainchild of BluFlamingo, a cutting edge digital marketing agency on the forefront of the digital revolution in Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. With thanks to BluFlamingo, the 2016 SMA’s took a very different route – hosting several renowned international and local speakers to share valuable insight and commentary into the digital trends rocking 2016. This year’s speakers included representatives from Facebook, Google and Hootsuite who addressed topics such as cross platform monetisation, new advertising strategies and more.
This year our very own Neil Pursey joined this list of industry leaders. Pursey shared invaluable insights on the journey toward becoming a T-shaped marketer – using the ‘Clickability X Shareability X Distribution’ model as a roadmap. Together with OMCP (Online Marketing Certified Professional), Webgrowth is “on a mission to digitalise Africa” with education and training at the very core of its philosophy. “From what we’ve seen, Africa is in the very midst of a digital boom and the likes of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda are leading the pack. From basic computer literacy skills, to more advanced ICT training, education is going to be key in harnessing the potential that digital has to offer,” says Pursey, who also discussed the benefits of upskilling as well as other digital marketing trends at this year’s SMA’s.
Pursey’s participation at the Ugandan Social Media Awards marks the beginning of an exciting partnership between Webgrowth Academy and BluFlamingo, with the joint vision of better training and equipping East Africa’s digitally inclined in the area of digital marketing. “We are extremely excited to join an amazing partner like Webgrowth to professionally certify East Africans who are interested in the digital space,” comments Seanice Lojede, CEO of BluFlamingo.
The brink of a digital revolution
For a while Africa has been leading the mobile-phone boom, recently topping over 400 million subscribers with a market now larger than that of North America. The UN International Telecommunications Union has lauded Africa in leading the global shift to mobile phones and it doesn’t end there. The extensive use of mobile phones across Africa has catalysed a spike in the use of the mobile phone as ‘first screen’ to access the internet – another trend with Africa at its forefront.
Nigeria currently boasts the most internet users with over 92.7 million users online – that’s over 51% of the population. Relative to the size of the population however, Kenya leads with 69.9 % internet penetration, with Morocco following closely behind at 60.6 %.
Jon von Tetzchner, the co-founder of Opera (the most popular internet browser for mobile phones), has noted that “triple-digit growth rates are routine across the continent”. “The widespread availability of mobile phones means that the mobile Web can reach tens of millions more than the wired Web,” Tetzchner states. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the effect these recent trends have had on social media usage within Africa – it’s skyrocketing.
Recent studies have shown that Facebook has almost 20 million users in Nigeria and Kenya alone – with the majority of them accessing the site from their mobile phones. Additionally, 2015 saw Nigeria’s 15 million monthly active users all making use of mobile phones to share and like content online. Similarly, Kenya saw 95 % of it’s active Facebook users doing so through their mobile phones. Facebook reported that it’s African active user population grew by 20% (that’s over 100 million users) from September 2014 to June of 2015.
At the SMA’S, guest speaker Justin Anyona, Agency Manager at Google Inc, reported that Uganda alone has just over 13 million internet users and 1.8 active monthly Facebook users. Additionally, Anyona shared that ”According to YouTube data, Uganda watches 900,000 hours of video per month.” Not only are these numbers astonishing, but they are continuously growing.
Situated at the very core of the digital boom taking place in East Africa, BluFlamingo’s Seanice Lojede has forecasted “exponential growth in digital for financial services with an explosion of mobile applications for everyday as well as business use”. Lojede also recognises the potential of digital in “reducing costs to businesses in areas such as customer care and the marketing mix.”
The landscape of digital in East Africa and throughout is evolving rapidly with both Webgrowth Academy and BluFlamingo at the very forefront of digital marketing advancement and education.