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How BBM mobile messaging app unlocks opportunity for Africa

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By Emeka Aginam

Mobile messaging apps, no doubt, are growing ever more popular – with added social networking features – competing to meet the growing demand for free mobile calling and SMS texting services, across the globe, especially in Nigeria and the rest of the African continent as a result of market demand.

Although messaging apps have continued to change the way people communicate globally, Nigeria and South Africa appear to be the mobile first markets.
Unlocking business opportunities

With the majority of people accessing the internet from their mobile devices instead of desktop, it is clear that mobile messaging driven by BMM is unlocking business opportunities among people across the divide.

With close to 10 million visits to the BBM shop per month, and now over 26 million ad requests per day; Matthew Talbot, the Senior Vice President of BBM, in a recent telephone interview with Vanguard   revealed that Africa is already becoming a key market for rolling out BBM monetization strategy.
Biggest global opportunities

Talbot while providing insights on BBM’s strategy and focus on making BBM the most connected and social platform for consumers and highlighting Africa as a strong market with advertising markets in Nigeria and South Africa representing two of the biggest global opportunities for BlackBerry said that as part of its monetization strategy, BBM had recently put their first ad sales representative on the ground, even as he expressed confidence that there would be more to follow including more services will be launched in the near future with Nigeria as the key focus.

Speaking on mobile phone messengers, including BBM monetization and the opportunities offered by the African market, he said that, during the last couple of years, BBM has been pushing the limits of what a messaging app could be.

While BBM has continued to build a gateway to the entire connected world, where everyone can interact with friends, family, favorite brands, shopping outlets, local merchants, and more, he said that,

“Since I came to BlackBerry in 2014, we’ve added a complete Shop experience beyond just stickers including sponsored stickers, subscriptions services, top picks for apps, BBM Meetings, Android Wear support, and a number of privacy and security features including private chat.
App payment solutions

“We have also launched several in-app payment solutions, including BBM Money, PayPal and Quickteller in Nigeria.

Highlighting how the app has quickly evolved from a text-only, he said that BlackBerry smartphone messaging solution has become a bustling, cross-platform, global social network.
Opportunity for young app developers

“We will grow our users’ base and products. Our growth in Africa is continuing. We are looking for opportunities for local developers to work with us on app development. This will present opportunity for young developers. There is huge opportunity for Africa with BBM. “BBM has changed a lot in its strategy.

It is a chat app that has grown the ecosystem with about 22 million registered users in Africa and half of them coming from Nigeria which is an important market for us. As we roll services, Nigeria is a key market.
BBM growth in Africa

“Today, we have over 22 million registered customers in Africa, so it continues to be a strong market for us. Nigeria and South Africa are our two top markets in Africa and we continue to see strength in our user base across Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10 and BBOS. On iOS and Android, we see over half a million new users install BBM every single month.” That growth rate continues to accelerate as network effects take root in several markets across the continent.
Local traffic in BBM

“In Africa, the BBM Shop gets over 20 million views each month and has tallied 60 million total stickers sent and received. The Shop features more than 25 sticker packs tailored to the African market, like Naija Slang. This focus on local and relevant content helps drive the numbers higher.
BBM payment options

“BlackBerry has partnered with Interswitch Ltd, Nigeria’s largest payment processor, to enable Nigerians to transfer money or airtime within BBM, as simply as they transfer photos or files.
Great Ad performance.

“The advertising markets in South Africa and Nigeria represent two of our biggest global opportunities. Both markets generate substantial daily ad requests, which are reflected in the pricing and performance of the ad units”. He explained.

Although both are seen as developing economies, they are some of our top revenue-generating markets. Additionally, our average click-through rates of 5% are among the highest we’ve seen anywhere in the world”

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