LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – AFRICA: The ability to accurately analyse customer data to identify usage trends and preferences could prove an important tool in driving adoption of mobile services among women, a panel suggested.
Kellen Eilerts, regional director for East & Southern Africa at HNI, said: “I think we are starting to get to the point where we are starting to incorporate analytics into our services and into development in general, to see what’s working and what’s not. And that’s one of the huge advantages of mobile: it allows us to evaluate almost in real-time how we are doing, and in a lot of our traditional mass media channels we haven’t been able to do that.”
“With mobile, we can see day-to-day how people are interacting with services, what the demand is, and then begin to address that, refine it, tweak it, try new things, and see how those work. That’s important for us on the development side, but it’s also important for the operator side, because they can segment their users, see what people are interested in, and market other services to them. Seeing which services are having better uptake by women, that’s value to them,” he continued.
But Christopher Burns, acting director for digital development at USAID Global Development Lab, noted that currently operators are not breaking down adoption of services on a gender basis. “If the mobile industry did start disaggregating its customers by male and female, we would have so much more insight into understanding the wants and needs that would then lead into developing the products and services that they want,” he argued.
“The industry collects so many KPIs on a quarterly basis, we can analyse them and track their value in every which way. But I would say that if it’s important enough to understand this consumer base, if it’s important enough to use the tools that we have available to affect change, to empower women, to build capacity, then disaggregating the customers and being able to discern the trends and the services behind that would push us much further down the pathway than we are now,” Burns continued.
Ingrid Brudvig, of the World Wide Web Foundation, also noted the importance of using data to improve efficiency.
“Blanket strategies to address everyone are probably going to have less impact than targeted programmes informed heavily by evidence-based research and insights. Particularly looking at demographics, not just looking at women as a whole, and really targeted strategies, finding out what works and scaling it,” she suggested.