Key Insights on Kenya and Africa from Appsflyer’s 2021 State of Finance App Marketing Report.

Earlier today I got an update from Appsflyer on their 2021 State of Finance App Marketing report. The report makes for an interesting read given that Kenya and Africa, in general, are largely mobile-first markets and financial services or fintech apps are incredibly popular with consumers. 

In addition, given that we are have been in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic for 14+ months now, fintech mobile apps became incredibly important for services such as mobile banking and loans on the go as consumers practiced social distancing and used cashless mobile payments for most of their online and offline transactions.

So, in a nutshell, here are some of the key highlights from a Kenya and Africa perspective as captured within the report:

  • Finance app installs surged in Sub-Saharan Africa starting in Q2 2020 with Nigeria climbing +160%, Kenya up 100%, and South Africa rising by 52% (the latter part of continued growth since Q1 2019).
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has seen marketing rise in Nigeria (+150% since Q2 2020) and South Africa (+33% since Q1 2020); however, Kenya is no longer on marketers’ radars, dropping more than 80% in the past two years. This trend in Kenya is probably due to many mobile loan app operators changing their loan approval process which used to be done in a matter of seconds or minutes, and now takes days in some instances. However, due to high default rates and regulation, many scaled back massively, meaning they stopped mobile app advertising altogether.
  • Numbers are particularly high in Sub-Saharan Africa where fierce competition has driven apps to employ aggressive marketing tactics in this red hot market.
  • 77% drop in the app install fraud rate in Africa between Q1 2021 and Q2 2020. This is actually a good thing!
  • 29% of mobile app installers registered within 30 days post-install; Africa recorded an impressive 69% registration rate in loan apps. We love loan apps in Africa it seems with such a high registration rate!
  • US$ 128K was spent by the average finance app on user acquisition in EMEA in Q1 2021; climbing 74% since Q2 2020 following a cost per install (CPI) rise; Africa jumped to US$ 73K. Much of this growth seems to be coming from Nigeria during this period.

Below are some graphs that also came from the same report showing how financial services mobile apps performed in Kenya and Africa:

In the above graph, we can see that coming off Q1 2019 Kenya was the most active market in terms of financial services mobile app downloads but was quickly matched by Nigeria by Q4 2019. Kenya dropped off significantly for most of 2020 before starting to recover by Q1 2021. On the other hand, Nigeria and South Africa both grew massively since Q1 2020 which was exactly before and during the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of paid mobile app installations, above we can see Kenya was dominant in terms of the amount of money that was being spent on mobile app install campaigns from Q1 2019 but that dropped massively until Q2 2020 before showing a rise and then a further dip all the way through to Q1 2021. However, both Nigeria and South showed growth in terms of paid mobile app install ad spend from Q1 2019 to date with a solid upward trend. What remains to be seen is if Kenya will ever recover given the current market environment for mobile loan apps with the market regulator, the Central Bank of Kenya, stepping in to regulate the space aggressively!

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