Engaging Millions: Explore the Power of ayoba User Partnerships

Innovation City is thrilled to present insights directly from the helm of Ayoba, Africa’s pioneering Super App, as we delve into its transformative impact across the continent. In an exclusive interview, Gillian Ezra, the Head of Sales at Ayoba, shares valuable perspectives on the app’s unique features, success in diverse African markets, and its pivotal role in addressing critical challenges such as connectivity barriers and entrepreneurial support.

Q: Beyond messaging, what unique features does ayoba offer that would be attractive to potential partners?

ayoba was developed to tackle the challenges on the African continent and is live across the continent with a primary focus on Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and South Africa.  The Super App offers free data to users in the MTN network footprint except in Benin, with All-In-One functionality including instant messaging, calls, music, games, editorial, education, payments and services.  This alleviates the following major issues

  • Lack of access to connectivity
  • Lack of space on the prevalent low-end devices
  • Lack of support for local entrepreneurs supports for bridging their businesses online.
  • Lack of simple tools to digitise small local businesses

ayoba brings access to communication, education, health information, entrepreneurship learning and more.   With its user base of 35 million monthly active users, ayoba has a large scale social and economic impact.

ayoba works directly with local content creators, bringing exposure and monetisation to their works.  ayoba offers local games, music, videos, editorial and more; thereby driving and uplifting the local content economy.

Q: Can you elaborate on ayoba’s success in specific African markets? What insights can you share for businesses considering a pan-African approach?

ayoba has launched an ecosystems project to uplift SMEs.  We offer local services the opportunity to embed their websites to offer data-free browsing to their customers. In addition to assisting SMEs to digitise and integrate their PWAs into the ayoba app, the following programmes have been run across Africa as physical events:

  • MTN ayoba Momo Accelerator program – Ghana
  • Ayoba Gaming Hackathon – SA
  • Ayoba Supports Your Hustle Challenge – Africa
  • E-Track with Solution Space – SA
  • Philippi Developer Programme – SA
  • Nigerian SME Accelerator – Nigeria
  • Ecosystem Events – SA

ayoba allows users to message their contacts, whether or not they download the app.  In this way, the app makes its communications technology available to non-smartphone users.  Messages sent via the chat message function in the app, are sent to the feature phone user via SMS.

With the ability for ayoba to host multiple services, it allows users to get access to educational, government and entertainment services without the need to download these required apps on their devices.

At the same time, ayoba offers local entrepreneurs and businesses a platform that they can use to bring their businesses online and get access to 30 million captive users.

Q: How does Ayoba ensure brand safety and message alignment for content partnerships?

All content on ayoba is curated, and checked to be within our “family friendly’ content policy, and Age 13 age restriction for our apps.  So ayoba is a brand safe environment.  In terms of messaging alignment, we offer multiple touchpoints across the app offering co-ordinated opportunities to expose your brand.

Q: For service-based partnerships, can you provide specific examples of how ayoba’s Services ecosystems streamlines the process?

Service partners can embed their website via our services portal, and offer their users the opportunity to browse their offering at no data cost [for MTN users].  We are working on great updates coming soon to the portal.  One of these will be our new Communications API, allowing partners to chat to their users via our zero rated offering.  There are also traffic drivers that partners can add to their service to boost their exposure.

Q: Looking at user demographics, can you describe ayoba’s ideal partner in terms of target audience?

ayoba is such a broad product that we have many ideal partners, from the hyperlocal new-to-digital Service to the continent wide e-commerce offering.  We welcome all to ayoba, large and small, content or Service based!

Q: What kind of support does ayoba provide to partners in terms of marketing and user acquisition within the ecosystem?

We offer content marketing with cross exposure on our landing page for example.  A partner’s content is harmonised into our own content, with interest-based targeting.  For Services partners specifically, we offer new ‘Boost My Service’ advertising with banners and premium positioning on offer.  Our new zero rated Display advertising offers a brand or Service the opportunity to reach the mass market with no data costs [for MTN users].

Q: What are some exciting new partnership opportunities ayoba is exploring?

ayoba is expanding to new territories.  In 2023, we expanded to Kenya, Senegal, DRC, Togo and Egypt.  We have increased our offering of content in Arabic, and are launching our very first offering in KiSwahili.  We will continue to increase our footprint in the coming years.

ayoba will continue to add and enhance functionality for our chat services in order for them to not only match but exceed competing alternative apps, with an integrated chat service between all the features within the app. We are always looking out to partnering with more content, games and music providers to enrich the experience for our users, focusing on providers that have rich and engaging local content.  We are always looking for new Services partners and encourage partners to get in touch at [email protected]

Q: How does ayoba measure the success of a partnership??

We look for traffic to ayoba and the partner, sales flowing through, exposure for both partners and mutual opportunities

Q: What advice would you give to a company considering a partnership with ayoba?

ayoba is open to new ideas and really offers the opportunity to reach the African continent with one post or Service.  So check out our partner page on the website for some info on what we do, and get in touch! If you are looking to digitise, or expand your digital footprint, ayoba is the place to be.

Thank you to ayoba for being a Supporting Partner in this year’s Awards Night event. Additionally, the Startup of the Year 2024 winner will receive ‘Boost My Service’ advertising on ayoba to the value of R50k!