Pamoja Media: An African Ad Network

I’ve been waiting for someone to create an African ad network for a couple of years, and I’m really happy to see that Pamoja Media has launched. Started by Joshua Wanyama (of AfricanPath) and Benin Mwangi (of Cheetah Index), it’s an ad network created to serve advertisers trying looking for a one-stop-shop for publishers in Africa, or that reach Africans in the diaspora.

Publishers

Pamoja is brand new, and just starting to get going. That hasn’t stopped them from gathering an impressive list of publishers with a total of 10 million impressions dedicated and another 10 million more confirmed impressions if ad inventory is filled. That’s impressive, but more interesting is to see some of the names on their list of publishers, including: Mail & Guardian (South Africa), the Daily Nation (Kenya), Modern Ghana and Stock Market Nigeria.

Other publishers are welcome to apply, as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Be focused on Africa, or the African diaspora
  • An Alexa ranking of 250,000 or better
  • Have a minimum of 2000 pageviews per day
  • Be aesthetically pleasing (or at least not embarassing)

Advertisers

as whoever has been involved in this knows, getting publishers on board is the easy part. Everyone of them is happy to go with the media outfit that will provide them with a solid amount of advertising income. Getting advertisers is the hard part, and that’s where Pamoja Media is focusing their work now that they have the initial 20 million impressions. Current advertisers include Pingo, PoaPay, Accents Telecom and Zain.

Advertisers joining so far have come in because they’ve seen the brand name portals available through the network. Pamoja can get them on board at a better rate for a smaller advertiser than if they go to the Nation or M&G themselves, because they do a bulk buy with multiple advertisers. As the network grows with other large portals giving up excess inventory, Pamoja will become even more attractive than it already is.

Joshua Wanyama and Benin Mwangi

Joshua Wanyama and Benin Mwangi of Pamoja Media
(I happened to take this about 1.5 years ago on a chance meet up)

Final Thoughts

Pamoja is onto something here. One of Pamoja’s really big focuses is to get advertisers to start looking and buying advertising on websites built for African readers in Africa. That means they need to continue looking for partners who can extend the value of the African network in Europe and Africa – people and agencies who already have connections. It will be crucial for those relationships to come together in order for more brandname advertisers to come on board and give even greater credibility to the network.

Pamoja is new, so like any other startup they have to prove themselves before the bigger advertisers come to the table. Right now they’re attracting small- to medium-sized advertisers (outside of Zain) through providing value added consulting and design services. With that capability, and time and proof of success, the network should be able to increase their margins and possibly roll out additional business units.

I think a lot about the fact that most Africans aren’t online reading websites in Africa – the penetration just isn’t there yet. That means this is a perfect time to grow a business and grow a name in a space with little to know other competition. As it the market grows, so will Pamoja.

Closely related to that last point is the fact that there’s a wide open space in the mobile market in this space too, and I hope that Joshua and Benin are thinking strategically about how they will incorporate mobile advertising in their network in the near future.

13 thoughts on “Pamoja Media: An African Ad Network

  1. Perrin Clark

    Erik,
    Thanks for the early look at Pamoja. I will be having a conversation with them tomorrow and am glad you are posting about their potential in the online African space.
    Perrin

  2. imnakoya

    Thanks for sharing the information mate. Just like you, I knew it’s just a matter of time before this happens, it’s good this is been anchored by folks who believe in the Africa Renaissance, and have made good impression with the African Path experiment. I will certainly keep it in focus.

  3. Joshua

    Hash,
    As always, it is a pleasure talking to you and working with you. The interview was great. We are looking forward to the challenge of growing Pamoja Media into a valuable tool for African publishers. I believe there exists a great opportunity in Africa and we hope we can address some of the needs African publishers face as they seek to get better returns from their online inventory.

  4. Tim Akinbo

    It’s good news to see an initiative targeting advertising in Africa. It comes to me as a surprise though that it took this long. Internet usage promises to increase on the African continent as bandwidth becomes cheaper. I do expect to learn of more initiatives coming from Africans. Well done Pamoja.

    On the mobile perspective, this is really key. Internet usage will grow fastest through the mobile phone and there’s a lot of potential here both for application developers (we haven’t seen much from Africans yet) and ad networks that will allow for monetization of some of these.

  5. ianvisits

    It would be interesting if they are willing to act as a “reseller” for the larger ad agencies based in US/Europe who have publishers they are supporting for US/EU traffic but are unable to monetise their African traffic due to a lack of a local sales force.

  6. Benin

    Thanks Hash, for the very thorough interview, as Joshua said it is always a pleasure to dialog with you.

    @Perrin

    Thanks, we will look forward to the conversation.

    @Imnakoya

    Very kind words my fellow blogger. I appreciate that. Though it is a daily challenge balancing so many roles, I would not trade the experiences of participating in Africa’s renaissance for anything.

    @Dr Ian

    Very thoughtful suggestion. Thanks!

    South Africa

    Interesting point, though I would make the comment that we occupy different ends of the spectrum than google ads. They are going after a market that does not mind whether their ads appear on a computer site or an adult dating site-so long as the keywords are relevant…

    @Fimbo

    Thanks for the kudos. Nice point too, it sort of reminds me of the analogy of that one guy who looked at a heap of refuse and tought, “thats trash” while another person came along and said looked at it and said to himself, “if I can get it up that is opportunity”. I say that because as you have indicated the African publisher space is certainly small compared to the others, but we believe that over time it will surely grow.

  7. Douglas

    Congratulations Pamoja Media, This is a huge milestone for African marketplace and diaspora for that matter.

    We love what you are doing for accents telecom. You have been able to expose our brand in our TM early in the game and for that we are thankful and looking forward to a successful and long -term partnership.

    Hash – This was good stuff.

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  9. Jen

    Hi, There is a new pan-african african ad network. This one is new but very active. Available in French and English speaking countries, AfricaGains propose almost any type of web advertising formats. They also propose (african) social marketing, sms and email broadcast, customer surveys and contests. For some customers, they also propose some high quality web design services. The website is AfricaGains.com.

  10. Jen

    I made a mistake in the url on my previous post. Hi, There is a new pan-african african ad network. This one is new but very active. Available in French and English speaking countries, AfricaGains propose almost any type of web advertising formats. They also propose (african) social marketing, sms and email broadcast, customer surveys and contests. For some customers, they also propose some high quality web design services. The website is AfricaGains.com.

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