The World is Digitizing But is Tanzania Keeping Up?

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The world is going digital. This is not news. But what about Tanzania? The latest statistics show 13% of the population is online. While this may seem like a low number, it is prudent to consider that this is almost half of the urban population. And these numbers are growing every month. Yet, many businesses are holding tightly to the past and utilising only traditional forms of advertising. Are we so afraid of change? Do we not want to grow and experience new opportunities?

A look to the past: The effectiveness of traditional advertising

Let me make one thing clear, I am not saying to stop buying billboard space, radio, tv slots and other forms of traditional media. These are tried and proven methods to advertise to a mass audience, grow brand recognition and can impact your bottom line. But I believe there are two questions we must ask ourselves…

1. What if your audience is niche?

For large brands like Airtel, Superdoll or even our very own ZoomTanzania, the product itself caters to the masses. Most of the urban population need a phone, a bank account or to buy and sell everyday products. But this is not the case for most advertisers. If you operate in a niche, you pay high prices to reach only a few of your potential customers. Most of the reach goes to people who are likely not actively (or even passively) looking to buy your product. Which leads me to my next point…

2. What if you have a limited budget and must show ROI?

In today’s economy, budgets are getting tighter and we need to show the return on investment from advertising. There is less focus on mass audience reach and more on targeted reach. The goal is to invest your budgets where you can generate sales. And here is where traditional media fails us. Not only are the metrics by which we assess effectiveness overall more imprecise than their digital counterparts, but by nature they focus on the masses; costing you more money to reach each relevant customer.

Let’s look at an example. I have a choice between a billboard and a banner ad. Both can have the same creative components. Both are shown to an audience where they need to grab attention. But in measurable ROI is where they differ.

For a billboard, you can know the metric of how many people approximately drive that route each day. You can not measure eyeballs, engagement or conversion. With a banner ad, not only do you have the exact number of impressions (aka the reach), as well as clicks and conversions (revenue!), but you can segment this data by many dimensions (age, gender, location, size, message… I could go on and on).

A look to the now: How to leverage the power of digital

In my view, we have not lost the traditional forms of advertising, they have simply evolved. TV is video. Radio is podcasts. Billboards are banner ads. Shops are websites. But online ads will always have the power to be more targeted, and this uniqueness is what makes them not only more valuable but also cheaper! This being a new digital world, how do you know which opportunities to leverage first?

It’s best to take those first steps with a partner who understands the digital sphere and can recommend the best approach for your individual business. If you are looking to go big, there are many reputable digital marketing agencies in Tanzania who can help. But if you want to test the waters first with a small campaign, why not partner with ZoomTanzania?

As a classifieds platform, or “online marketplace” we connect buyers and sellers across all different types of products and services. So no matter what industry you are in, we have a targeted relevant audience you can reach. What’s more, you can reach them for free. Simply create an account and list your products on our website in the relevant category. But of course, if you want more reach and more revenue, we have additional services such as premium listings, featured banners and email newsletter slots.

So you really have nothing to lose. Contact ZoomTanzania on +255 768 982 800 today and we will be happy to help you go digital.

Mili Rhugani
Mili is the CEO of ZoomTanzania.