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Facebook in 2015

Facebook has become the strongest mass medium for Namibian marketers, so it is important to understand how it works and what it does. This column will give you an idea of its current status. The reach of Facebook is exceptional. In the course of last year, using combinations of target demographics for financial brands, I was able to reach a universe of approximately 200,000 users. This universe can be larger using less targeted interests. Note here that is is possible to target on the basis of keywords that indicate interests.

Also note that it is possible to achieve that reach for a small portion of the cost of a print advertisement. In addition, it is worth noting that the number of Namibian users is growing as use of smart phones increases, as well as the sophistication of use improves. In the latter regard, a simple observation of mobile device users will show that people are using Facebook more often now, where previously the use was predominantly WhatsApp and SMS. The obvious challenge to this is rural areas, however this will change as smart phones filter into those areas, as bandwidth spreads into those areas, and as bandwidth achieves greater economies of scale. The company is however taking steps to improve its reach into rural areas with what appears to be a relaunch of the Facebook Lite concept, which functions in low bandwidth environments. You ignore the opportunity of Facebook to the detriment of your brand. Facebook does, justifiably, have an impact on marketers and make certain demands of them. Firstly, the company has actively reduced its level of virality for brands. What this means is that you cannot expect free exposure, even if your market presses like on your page or message. Even if they do press like on your page, do not expect commercial items to show prominently on feeds. At present my best estimate is that on a page with a very small number of users, virality may be in the region of 5%, dropping to about 1%. In order to achieve high reach you need to invest in gaining followers. The reach you obtain once you have gathered your users by keyword is the number of people who like your page multiplied by their friends. For instance if you have 400 people who like your page, each of whom have 100 friends, this gives you the notional ability to reach 40,000 people. This implies that you need to provide for the cost of likes on your page, as well as the cost of boosting posts. Secondly, Facebook is discouraging pure advertising posts. If you are a user, you will have noticed the surveys conducted in 2014, particularly. The results showed that too high a level of promotional items put users off. This obviously devalues the experience of Facebook.  There are two implications to this. Your posts need to be content and lifestyle driven, engaging the user with ideas that are of greater relevance to them. Your picture posts may also not contain more than 20% of the area in text. If more than 20% of the area is text, Facebook will not allow you to boost them.  In other words, what you have is an opportunity to make a picture with a reasonably sized logo and contact number, followed by a paragraph in text. The shorter the paragraph the less likely it is to be cut off with a ‘more…’ link .Thirdly, Facebook is taking steps to enhance the pervasiveness of its platform. Facebook Messenger is becoming more useful. Following Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp it appears that the company is placing greater emphasis on better messaging. Although that is commercial cannibalism, it does hold some benefits for users. Facebook at Work appears be heading in the direction of LinkedIn, and may make the platform more acceptable in the Working environment, with obvious benefits for marketing reach. Facebook is rapidly becoming my baseline marketing platform on the basis of its reach and low cost. The only barrier I have come across to using it is a credit card in the hands of the marketer. That should be easy to address.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.