Is Mobile Lending The Next Big Thing?

Hello and welcome back to the newsletter

Last week was a long week for us with some reporting deadlines and a campaign taking place over the weekend at one of our retail client’s premises. For the campaign, we made two big bets on YouTube and influencer marketing and worked to prove ourselves right.

Another highlight of the last week was that I was on a panel discussion with Ogilvy. (Thanks to Naomi @AKenyanGirl for recommending me). There, a few key points stood out from a presentation by Social Lab, a firm purchased by Ogilvy.

First is that Facebook is the leader of the discovery of video content (courtesy of the feed) and it continues to drive itself towards snackable, short video. Think of moving between cat videos, pranks and other random internet video fodder.

In contrast, YouTube leads intent-based video (where someone sets out to watch a 10-minute video or longer). The Ogilvy team dove into an interesting comparison between the two platforms, noting that they’re both going for each other’s slice of the pie.

As a result, YouTube now has “Stories” and “Posts” to drive snackable, shorter content from its creators while Instagram seeks to keep users’ attention with Instagram TV - an experiment that hasn’t yielded the desired effect.

The two platforms are definitely something to watch in future. That said, here’s your tasting menu of links for the week ahead:

What to Sip < 30 sec

Mobile lending app Tala has raised $110 million at an $800 million valuation. Your hot take from this week is that I expect Tala to overtake Safaricom in market capitalisation over the next 3-5 years. Despite being built atop Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform and its various APIs, the firm and its data-driven lending is prioritising growth and rising in value thanks to the Silicon Valley valuation model (vis-a-vis the brick-and-mortar Safaricom business model).

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash


What to Nibble < 5 min

Staying on Tala, there have been a few critical pieces of the mobile lending space. These two pieces, one from the Boston Review and another from Bloomberg, both take aim at debt and the annualized percentage rates (APRs) as high as 321%.

The Central Bank governor has described them as “loan sharks on steroids” and the articles make for gripping reading. There is a project already focusing on self-regulation by forward-thinking players (of which Tala is included). Google also updated its policies for apps that provide personal loans and other types of loan offerings, but it looks restricted to the United States upon further reading.

Regulation is coming, but when and how, is anyone’s guess.


What to Bite <10 min

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

A good and interesting report by MercyCorps on the gig economy just came out. Gig economy here can be over-simplified to mean the freelance market. The report examines the size of the economy and estimates it to be worth around $109 million employing 36,573 gig workers- think Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts, Instagram influencers etc. The report also praises online platforms for being a new source of income for innovative individuals.

It’s exciting to see the changes that the traditional workplace will undergo as more people opt to be ‘shut-ins’ as this article explains.

Bottom of the Newsletter

  • Strathmore’s Marketing Club is hosting a national student marketing competition called The Crucible. If you know a young marketer in university keen to prove themselves, that’s one extra resource to point them towards.
  • Fellow newsletter subscriber and friend Abdi-Latif Dahir has put out a piece in Quartz on China in Africa. Worth a read, but do keep in mind that it’s behind their paywall.
  • The New York Times 1619 Project on slavery is an incredible feat in digital storytelling. Poignant and purposeful. I’ve discovered it through the podcast and the website is immersive, too (first link).
  • PayStack’s guide to billboards in Lagos is a blog post I love. Take a problem and pain point with an asymmetry of information (true price, middle men and those that thrive on that chaos) and solve it - then tell the world about it.

That’s it for this week. If you have any feedback on any of the above articles, we’d love to hear it. Follow our Twitter page or email us for more information.

Until next time,

Mark and Team Nendo

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