While 2007 was one of the most exciting years in the online marketing space internationally, I’ve been wondering what 2008 will hold in store for South Africa.
Here are a few of my thoughts on what we can expect:
1. Watch out for Google South Africa. A local Google office will open in February 2008 to focus on mobile, broadband penetration and advertiser development. With a formal agreement with Vodacom already in place we can expect to see some interesting developments.
2. Vodacom is due to move into the social media space. In 2008 it will launch two new products: the first one is “Meep”, a presence-based instant messaging service that will be a direct competitor for MXit. “TheGRID” is a location-based social-networking service available on cellphones, which will enable users to find friends by seeing their physical location on a street map. It will be interesting to see what new advertising options will become available on these platforms and how the incumbent MXit and Facebook will react to this new player.
3. The number of broadband users will continue to increase due to Neotel’s launch of consumer voice and data services and the aggressive marketing and pricing by all the wireless and mobile phone operators. This is great news for any online publisher or merchant, as the increase in bandwidth will see an increase in web usage and allow rich content (such as video) delivery.
4. Telkom media is set to become a satellite broadcaster in mid-2008. With a budget of just over R7-billion it will be the only realistic competitor to MultiChoice. It should be interesting to see how MultiChoice will respond to this new competition and what Telkom will offer to grow its subscriber base. Everyone from subscribers to advertisers will benefit from this launch.
On the international online marketing front there have been a number of massive industry acquisitions and mergers. Google bought DoubleClick Performics, Yahoo bought RealMedia and Microsoft bought aQuantive. The combined value of these three transactions was about $10-billion. The logic behind these acquisitions is to integrate media with the latest technology to provide advertisers with a one-stop online advertising solution.
In South Africa the online marketing industry will continue to grow and we can look forward to some interesting developments in 2008.