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Beyond the usual suspects: 6 alternative digital media platforms for South African brands

By Grant Lapping, Managing Director at DataCore Media


As the digital marketing landscape has matured, we have seen brands consolidate more and more of their spending with a few selected social, search and programmatic platforms. The thinking is that they can reach the majority of their target audience by leveraging the few platforms that have come to dominate the time that people spend online.


However, marketers should keep an open mind in a space that evolves as fast as digital media. There are some emerging platforms and neglected channels that offer opportunities for powerful engagement with niche audiences or interesting ways to target or interact with the target consumer.


Here are a few examples of platforms that are good additions to the mainstream mass reaching channels, along with a discussion of some of the benefits they can offer.


Moya Messenger


Moya Messenger (https://www.datafree.co/) is a relatively new South African mobile messaging app that allows subscribers on the major local mobile networks to communicate without incurring data costs. The app’s users can text message each other without airtime or a data balance on their Android smartphone; however, they will incur data costs for rich media attachments such as photos, videos, and voice notes.


The platform enables partners to offer users access to their apps and websites without using their data. Users can also discover content and services such as games, videos, news, and jobs using the app. They can get data-free access to selected services such as news, soccer scores, Wikipedia, weather, and government services.  


Though it launched only a few months ago, Moya Messenger reports that it has 400 million user navigations per month on its platform. The opportunities for marketers are significant – they can run video ads, use the messaging API or conduct market research and surveys without any cost to the end-user. That’s a plus, given just how much South Africans treasure their mobile data.


Teads


Teads (https://www.teads.com/) is a mobile-first video platform and network that offers geotargeted access to high-quality publishers such as CNN, Washington Post, Forbes, Glamour, Reuters, Bloomberg, GQ and Disney. Teads delivers an impressive average 11.3 seconds view time across premium news channels (according to data from Moat, which independently verifies ad views). It also has advanced AI technology which helps marketers move beyond CPM and focus on outcomes.


Teads’ value proposition encompasses guaranteed media metrics including viewability, video competition, incremental reach versus TV, unique clicks and incremental visitors. Its inRead offering is available for video and display and provides a viewable, brand-safe, fraud-free ad experience.


Brands can use behavioural factors such as users’ interest in particular topics or their online behaviour to target users within safe, premium environments.


Snapchat


Most people have heard about Snapchat (https://www.snapchat.com/), but its media potential is often overlooked, and the channel is not as well understood as Facebook or Instagram. For example, many people are surprised to find out that two thirds of its local users are aged 18-34 and that only 21% fall into the 13-17 age group.


Snapchat defines itself as a “camera, where how you feel matters more than how you look”. Its users are not interested in curating perfect posts and pics, but in creating fast, sharable, in-the-moment content. The spontaneous, bite-sized, freewheeling nature of Snapchat offers brands some interesting engagement opportunities.


For example, marketers can leverage creative, interactive ad formats such as augmented reality to create novel  brand experiences. They can use a range of targeting and programmatic options -- including custom audience lists and lookalikes of existing audiences – to reach their audience.


Over the past year, Snapchat has grown its user base in South Africa from 1.2 million to 1.9 million daily users. Around 78% of its local users are women. If a brand’s audience skews young and female, Snapchat is worth consideration, especially given just how much the people who use the platform seem to love it.


Vodacom On The Line


Vodacom’s On The Line media offering, which is sold via IMAMEDIA (http://www.imamedia.co.za/), allows marketers to leverage its data to reach Vodacom subscribers with highly targeted ads (at no cost to users).

Brands can insert videos and other messaging into ‘please call me’ messages, for users to watch and interact without incurring data charges. Brands can also target ads to missed call messages. Ads can be delivered along with a notification to the user’s mobile message application inbox.


To boost performance brands can reward users with data when they engage or even push vouchers to people when in store using location targeted deals. Vodacom also offers a site builder option where advertisers can generate leads, drive conversions or host brochures within subsidised landing pages.


Verizon Media


Remember AOL and Yahoo? These platforms and their media assets are still around, reaching around 7 million local users with more than 290 million page views each month. Verizon Media (https://www.verizonmedia.com/) is the programmatic platform one uses to access this audience.


The strength of this platform is its emphasis on native ad formats rather than on standard display formats. It also offers a wealth of audience data matched across devices, allowing for highly targeted third-party audience segments.


Geo-Location


Location-based platforms enable advertisers to target ads to people based on their movements, tracked through phone location settings. This enables retailers to, for example, push vouchers or discounts to people as they enter malls where they have stores or target people visiting competitor stores.


There are several companies offering location-based targeting in South Africa who all have their own unique benefits, but one of the better known platforms is Vicinity Media (https://www.vicinity-media.com/) because of the maturity of its offering and the depth of its portfolio. Among the platforms it represents in South Africa is Waze – which is enough to give Vicinity an edge.


A newer geo-location platform to the South African market is TAPTAP (https://www.taptapnetworks.com/), an adtech multinational which also offers an interesting solution with advanced audience profiling tools, activation options integrated with users’ smartphones and sophisticated attribution reporting.

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