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Mxit 7 wins and loses

Mxit, the South African mobile social network, has revealed that the latest version of its app has had 7,4-million downloads since its release in November 2013 – but only 4,9-million are still active.

The numbers were released today as part of Mxit’s annual Insights Pack for media and brand advertisers.

“More than 7.4 million users have installed Mxit 7 since its release in November 2013, 55% of those are still active, and there is a notable increase in the proportional share of smart devices on the platform,” said the company in a statement. “The brand’s extremely data-light chat functionality remains the biggest drawcard, and the average daily time per user on the platform has increased from 95 to 105 minutes. Almost 70% of users engage with brand apps while more than 60% access news and sport content on a daily basis.

Mxit CEO, Francois Swart added: “We are still unrivalled in terms of our ability to provide a smart experience for feature phone users. In the past year, we have sharpened our focus on smart applications, whilst maintaining interoperability on more than 8000 devices”.

One of Mxit’s core strengths, it says, is the company’s agility, and its ability to tailor features with market-specific focus and original localised content. Mxit Reach, the company’s independent NPO, is an example of how this plays to the brand’s benefit. Reach’s active users have grown by 20% to 1.2 million in April, showing the demand for unique services in education, health and counselling. Partnerslike UNICEF, loveLife and Soul City use Mxit as a platform for social good.

From a commercial perspective, the business has enjoyed significant growth over the past year, thanks to tools like polls, content downloads and coupons. Of the top 10 advertisers in the country, 8 have a presence on Mxit. In many cases, their communities have quickly grown into the hundreds of thousands, far exceeding other social media platforms. This was recently confirmed again in the 2014 South African elections where subscribers to relevant political organisations and voting apps on Mxit were, in many instances, 2 to 3 times higher than other social media players.

There simply is no easier way to start a conversation with millions of young people in South Africa,” said Swart. Expanding its range of media options for advertising partners, the company also announced the release of native advertising on Android devices today.

The company has made a number of strategic moves in the past year based on a new growth strategy in emerging markets.

· In January, a satellite operation was opened in India with widespread media coverage, led by Gary Kirsten as the brand champion.

· In April, Mxit released a number of new features such as Chat Cards, which allow users to bring the web into chat, and most recently Deals on Mxit Рa mobile-first for feature phone users.

· Mxit will also soon be available in 22 languages, including Hausa, Swahili, African French, Arabic and several Indian languages.

· The company renewed marketing efforts in Nigeria in June, where Mxit has teamed up with local music stars, leading bloggers and urban radio stations to promote some of its newest features to this booming market.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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