Be inspired by this years winning Loeries campaigns

Digital Mixed-Media Campaign Loom de Nimes Loom iKineo

Last week saw the Loerie Awards and two of the digital campaigns got our attention as particularly impressive:

  • Volkswagen Street Quest – Ogilvy Cape Town

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town won a well-deserved Grand Prix for stand out work in Volkswagen’s ‘Street Quest’ campaign to clinch top honours in the Digital & Interactive – Social Media category. The campaign is genius: allowing users to find Volkswagen vehicles on Google Streetview and tag them. The aim was to show how many Volkswagen’s there were on the road. Check this trailer out:

Here’s some further blurb:

Since 1951, South Africans have loved Volkswagen. In fact, you’ll probably find one on every street, road, highway and byway in the country.

We were asked to find an innovative way to celebrate the impact that Volkswagen has had on South African streets, and use it to kickstart Volkswagen South Africa’s Facebook Page.

Volkswagen Street Quest was a Facebook challenge to find as many Volkswagens as possible on South African streets using Google Street View in a custom-designed gaming interface.

The game was played over four weeks and the player with the most Pins each week qualified for the Grand Final – a live playoff in which finalists competed for prizes worth R50 000.

You can check out the case study on Vimeo.

  • Loom de Nimes – iKineo

Another excellent campaign that won gold for “Digital Mixed Media” is the Loom campaign done by iKineo.

Loom’s online and physical worlds collided to create an entirely new and engaging shopping experience. From the pavement to the packaging, passersby and loyal customers were exposed to a new realm of retail that went beyond a simple purchase. By developing a highly integrated experience, we helped to establish Loom as a hub for innovation, whilst setting a new benchmark for immersive retail in South Africa.

Loom Integrated Campaign from iKineo on Vimeo.

For the full list of winners click here and congrats to all the winners.

What sets these digital campaigns apart was that they focused on enhancing the brands and not just merely trying to drive lead generation or sales. Different parts of digital campaigns should be seen as puzzle pieces that drive a brand forward, increases exposure and brand recall and ultimately ends in increased business.

Planet Fitness Launches Affiliate Program on

Planet Fitness Affiliate Program

We’re pumped to welcome fitness industry heavyweights and all round health fanatics Planet Fitness to the network.

Planet Fitness is offering week’s free gym membership  and R450 in vouchers.
Planet Fitness affiliate program

So, if you know folks who want to get buff for summer, this is the offer for you!

You’ll earn a handsome CPA for each new customer that signs up to Planet Fitness.

So, do some good, help your audience get ripped for summer and earn in the process!

Check out the Landing Page

We’ve got creative in all major sizes including leaderboard, skyscrapers, boxes and buttons.

View creative now

The health industry in South Africa is growing rapidly and there are wonderful opportunities coming out of it for digital marketers.

More and more South Africans are becoming conscious of their health. You can make money online by promoting a healthier lifestyle to them.

The two parts needed in living a healthy live is exercise and healthy eating. Through this affiliate program you will offer them access to the first key they need.

Moving from agency to in-house marketing

To agency or not to agency

It’s an age old question: do you hire an in-house production company or do you rather outsource to an entire agency. Both have pro’s and con’s: in-house has more control but outsourced means access to more creatives and resources. Why would you pick one over the other? There has been huge outcry when large companies move their work in-house. If you look at Woolworths in South Africa they had massive PR fallout when they fired their agency to move in-house but a few years later, the work is arguably vastly better.

According to an Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey, 58% of US client-side marketers said their company used an in-house agency this year, compared to only 42% who five years earlier said the same. And 56% of respondents said in May 2013 that in the past three years, they had moved at least some established business previously handled by an external agency to their in-house agency.

Magazine advertising, social media, online display advertising and search engine marketing were the services most commonly handled by an in-house agency. Traditional TV and radio advertising were the least likely formats to be handled in-house.

We’ve moved from in-house being a cost saving experience to one with better control and understanding of the brand. However the disadvantages also stacked up. Forty-five percent of the survey respondents said it would not be as easy to stay on top of key trends with an in-house agency.

agency vs. in-house marketing

We foresee more and more agency work moving in-house when it comes to larger companies as they require a certain level of control. Whether creatives will accept this is debatable and whether they want to work at a company is also an issue. For now though, cost saving is reason enough.

Should you be using an agency for your company?

That is a question that isn’t easy to answer. There are however many large companies in South Africa that prefer to stick to using agencies. You should however evaluate why you are using them. The companies that do so successfully use them for specific purposes.

Some of the niches in which large companies use different agencies:
– brand awareness marketing
– lead generation
– paid search marketing
– social media marketing

These are just four of the areas that they might operate in. It often happens that a company would take the work in-house without the proper knowledge and know-how. If this is the case it could spell disaster. The efforts that go into brand awareness should for example not be seen as a platform for lead generation. The same goes for social media marketing which doesn’t necessarily always work for brand awareness.

The performance metrics of video advertising

When and how does video advertising work?

It only takes a cursory glance at Youtube to see that almost every video these days has either a pre-roll or banner advert. The question many marketers are asking: how successful are these types of adverts when users are also busy viewing a video. The big question is: When does video advertising work?

Recent research shows the obvious; web video is massive.  According to Cisco Systems, US internet video traffic in 2012 averaged 4.6 exabytes per month, and by 2017, that figure will nearly quadruple to 17.1 exabytes per month.

For a marketer there are two considerations: length of video adverts and size of banners surrounding the adverts.

As for performance based on the length of a video ad, there was considerable variation and lack of a clear trend line. Completion rates were lowest for video ads that lasted between 30 to 60 seconds (77%), but ads that ran for 30 seconds or less saw an 84% completion rate, the second-highest of any video ad length measured, indicating that short ads do not necessarily equal low completion rates. The absolute highest completion rate went to ads that were between 30 and 60 minutes.

US video advertising rates

It seems surprising that people would watch a 60 minute advert until completion and it seems even weirder that 84% of people would watch a 30-second advert to completion. Based on some anecdotal research (a quick poll around the office) there was hardly anyone that has actually watched a pre-roll advert. So where does that leave you with lead generation and marketing efforts as a whole?

The other consideration: size of banners is also important. Research has shown the obvious: bigger is better. When users are distracted by video, a larger advert is critical.

performance metrics of video ads

Ads in the medium to large range were also the most common video ads, accounted for 77.4% of served impressions, indicating that marketers know these sizes are strongest.

While we’re on the topic here are 7 ways to increase your video ad engagement:

Do you outsource your digital marketing?

Digital Marketing Outsourcing: do you outsource PPC, social and display?

Many companies have an issue whether to outsource their digital marketing or keep the skills in-house although a recent study from Adobe shows that PPC and social are moving in-house.

However this isn’t the case for display advertising which is usually outsourced. Only a third of businesses (32%) manage their display advertising exclusively in-house, compared to 44% for paid search and 52% for social. The report found that display is the most likely to be managed exclusively by an agency with social the least likely to be outsourced.

The reason for this is fairly simple: media buying is becoming more and more integrated so needs to be considered as part of a holistic approach to marketing. Display advertising is often bought by media buyers as part of the TV, radio and print approach in order to support those traditional outlets.

There are also significant issues as to why companies are outsourcing to agencies; the primary being resources and insufficient data.

adobe's digital marketing intelligence briefing

While sometimes unavoidable for practical reasons, disparate ownership of media can present obvious problems in trying to adopt a unified approach and gaining a single view of campaign performance, especially when there is a lack of communication between different departments and teams.

It is clear that companies need to overcome the technological and people-related challenges born out of fragmented media buying, both through integrated technology platforms and shared business metrics.

You can purchase the report here.

As a publisher should you worry about ad-blocking?

Ad-blocking is the ability to stop ads showing through a browser plugin that automatically stops online banners from loading. For publishers that make their money off online ads this is potentially a massive revenue loss.

A recent report on ad-blocking from Pagefair paints a bleak picture:

Ad-blocking is threatening the business model of online publishers. In this report we present new data demonstrating that adblock is being rapidly adopted by consumers, and is becoming mainstream. Based on measurements taken from hundreds of websites over 11 months, we show that up to 30% of web visitors are blocking ads, and that the number of ad-blocking users is growing at an astonishing 43% per year.

We’re not convinced that this is all so doom and gloom however if you’re interested you can download the full report here.

As a publisher should you be scared of the repercussions of ad-blocking?

Despite a few scary headlines, major publishers say their data just doesn’t support that view. Ad blocking is an issue worth monitoring, they say, but it remains far from a priority. It currently costs them relatively little in lost ad revenues and, ultimately, poses little threat to their businesses, they say.

MailOnline chief revenue officer Rich Sutton said, “We don’t feel that this ever going to be that wide-spread of an issue. We aren’t focused on the people who don’t like ads and try to block them – they aren’t going to be receptive to advertising anyway.”

The fact is most publishers have bigger fish to fry than ad blocking. Their attentions are focused on issues like ad viewability, bot traffic on their sites and, perhaps most important, the damage widespread adoption of do-not-track mechanisms could pose to their businesses.

But some sites could be more affected than others. According to PageFair, sites in the gaming category are most impacted by ad blocking, likely because of the tech-savvy audiences they attract.

The truth is it’s only the technically savvy know to install ad blockers but possibly this is the push that online publishers require in order to get an innovative new business model.

SishaFax launches innovative new Affiliate Program

SishaFax, the undisputed leaders in Fax2Email solutions has launched a unique new affiliate program on  What makes this program different is that affiliates earn a fee for every minute of usage.

So, how do affiliates earn from a free service?  That’s the  secret telecommunications business model, revealed here first!  Whenever a fax is sent, the person sending it pays the regular telecoms charges and the recipient gets a free fax, converted and sent to their email address.

Sisha, who are globally contracted by telecoms companies to administer this service,  share the revenue generated through their affiliate program. The revenue share option on a service like this can turn into a substantial recurring income. This makes it an attractive proposition over lead generation and normal cost per sales that only results in earning a once off income.

Every time a fax is received by a consumer, the affiliate that activated the number will earn a portion of the telecommunications cost, for the life of the customer.

The revenue stacks up pretty quickly.  Imagine having just 500 numbers, getting an average of 10 faxes each per day.  That would generate over 120,000 minutes each month translating into earnings of almost R20,000 monthly.

Why consumers love SishaFax

  1. No more lost paper faxes, everything is sent to your email address, for safe storage.
  2. It’s free, no strings attached.
  3. Your personal fax number follows you for ever, even if you change jobs, cities or countries.

How to Market this Service

We’ve combined the marketing with an awesome ‘Win a trip to Mauritius’ competition, open to everyone that registers for the service.  The prize is valued at R50,000 and competition landing page is converting at over 29%.

Once you refer a new fax user, they’ll get a sequence of mails designed to get them to activate and use the service.  The more they use it the more you earn!

Affiliates are eligible for participation in the competition as well.

Sales Reporting

Each morning Sisha transmits the previous day’s usage data to the affiliate system, so you’ll see daily ‘sales’ reported in the program.  The number of minutes captured is reported as the Sales Value.  Your commissions are calculated daily on this amount at the per-minute rate, currently 16c per minute.

Get Started Now by visiting the Affiliate Program Page in OfferForge.coom

How can we fix the perception of online advertising?

According to a recent survey done online users consider advertising to be second only to hackers when rating anonymity. Essentially consumers are more worried about their data being used by advertisers than they are government agencies and even their employers.

According to the report, 28% of American internet users had taken steps to hide specifically from advertisers. Only “hackers and criminals” scared more people, with a third of respondents having done something to safeguard themselves from attack. Despite the past few months’ revelation about snooping by the state, the government and law enforcement agencies concerned people the least.

perception of online advertisers

Worryingly for advertisers, their main audience is also the one that most actively seeks out ways to avoid being tracked online. Over a third of people aged between 18 and 29 (whom Pew refers to as “young adults”) try to avoid advertisers, compared to 23% or less for those over age 50. That may well be because younger people also reported having the greatest amount of information about themselves available online.

If people are actively avoiding online advertising, isn’t it time for us to start considering that we’re doing something wrong? Online advertising certainly isn’t evil, nor does it have to be. However the perception is the problem.

What is required though is a change in transparency from ad networks and ad providers. We read a wonderful story of a mobile ad network that created a fantasy product in order to prove their product over competitors. While this form of competitive advertising may not be perfect, it does add a level of transparency that we’re currently lacking. Proving to consumers that advertisers aren’t stealing their data or information is a matter of priority. If you’re looking for transparent, ethical advertising then look no further than OfferForge. Contact us now, we’ll make your clients love you.

How tablets have changed the landscape of publishing

Ever since the launch of the first iPad in 2010 the media landscape has been very, very rapidly changing. We’ve seen everyone from Samsung to Amazon releasing Android tablets and Microsoft have moved heavily into the market with their Surface tablets and Windows RT, an operating system built specifically for mobile devices.

Tablets have had a profound effect on publishers with many having to change their approach to delivering content to make it more tablet friendly.

eMarketer have an amazing interview with Paul Smurl of the New York Times on the topic of tablets vs smartphones and how they’ve affected readership and publishing.

eMarketer: Is tablet use affecting smartphone usage?

Paul Smurl: Both are growing so dramatically that it’s hard to say one is cannibalizing the other. We’re finding that desktop usage is not growing as fast as it once was. However, we are not seeing what appears to be a stripping away of usage from smartphone devices by tablets. They’re both growing at really accelerated rates.

eMarketer: How does the value of consumers who use both a smartphone and tablet to access your content compare with those who access it through one device, such as a desktop?

Smurl: The more engaged users are, the more valuable they obviously are from an advertising perspective. And the more engaged they are, the more likely they are to encounter the pay gate and, ultimately, become a subscriber. So those users who are committed and loyal to us across platforms, using multiple devices and apps, are much more valuable, from both an advertising and a subscription perspective.

eMarketer: What’s the difference in usage between your smartphone and tablet users?

Smurl: The usage is heavier in the morning, especially for news content because users are trying to get the news before they head out the door. And, they’re going to take their smartphone on the commute, but not their tablet. In the evening, the usage is a little lighter because people are catching up on the news and what happened and getting some perspective, but they’re using their tablets more, at least in the evening, as an entertainment or second-screen device.

“I would love to see us do more coverage around major events, … whether it’s the Oscars, the US Open, fashion shows or the Olympics. … The TV experience is so flat, noninteractive and unsocial.”

eMarketer: Where do you see second-screen experiences heading in the coming years?

Smurl: I like what we’ve done with the Oscars, where we’ve got a ballot dashboard and have live video coverage on the red carpet as the show is airing. I would love to see us do more coverage around major events like that, whether it’s the Oscars, the US Open, fashion shows or the Olympics. I think we have a real role to play in rounding out that experience for people—because the TV experience is so flat, noninteractive and unsocial.

Especially if you’re watching it on television and want to just tune out the commercials filling in those interstices during your viewing—just making the experience more fun, interactive and social. I think publishers have a real competitive edge there.

eMarketer: Will tablet usage continue to increase?

Smurl: It just keeps growing. People are replacing their laptop or desktop at home with tablets, and that trend is just going to continue. As a publisher, it’s really hard to build for all of the different screen sizes and do a really high-quality job in customizing the experience to each device. I’m hoping we get a little more standardization on that front.

eMarketer: You recently brought standardized rich media ads to your iPad app. Can you talk about that effort?

Smurl: There’s no surprise that it’s historically been difficult to integrate, develop for and create stable rich media ads in an app environment. So a lot of publishers have struggled with that, and advertisers have been pushing for more stability and more options.

The platform enables us to do things we hadn’t been able to do before. Previously, users were pulled away from the reading experience and plopped into the iTunes store—it was more jarring. Now the platform, in addition to enabling that stuff within advertising units, also creates a much more stable back-end experience.

eMarketer: Is fragmentation still a big issue for marketers?

Smurl: Yes, it’s a big issue for marketers, for publishers, even for consumers in terms of deciding what product to buy. We struggle with this ourselves—trying to make sense of all of that and putting it in context for consumers is challenging. No question about it.

You sort of toggle between the very straightforward Netflix approach, which is one flat price for all access. You compare that against consumers’ stated desire to have more control over exactly what product they have and on what device. There’s a little bit of pull in both directions. On one hand, you’ve got the “one bundle, one price” group of customers who just want all-access.

On the other hand, you’ve got segments of customers who feel like it’s a waste of money if they’re subscribing to something they never use, so they want a little more choice. That’s a constant tension, and it plays out in making marketing and communicating those options more difficult.

We basically only read on tablets these days so we can totally identify with this. All in all tablets have been a major boon for publishers worldwide.

Using a promoted tweet to complain about customer service

Getting the attention of customer service departments
We’ve seen social media become a major forum for customer complaints and grievances and while it’s a great place to get turn a negative experience into something positive, customer service departments face a huge challenge.

Recently we’ve seen a darker side of online whining when a British Airways passenger bought a promoted tweet in order to get his message across. When his airline lost his father’s luggage, Hasan Syed took to Twitter to complain.

But instead of griping to his friends and one or two followers about British Airways, the businessman paid to have his tweet promoted – sending it to the top of BA’s Twitter feed and the feeds of related companies across the world.

Under his handle @HVSVN, Mr Syed’s promoted tweet read: ‘Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.’

twitter complaint about customer service

This sort of malice doesn’t come cheap. According to this Business Insider article the 50,000 odd promoted tweets cost Mr Hasan around $1000; ironically probably more than his luggage cost.

On another advertising platform, this could have been done on the cheap meaning an even wider spread of the word. It’s interesting that British Airways only responded six hours later to the promoted tweet, after massive sites such as Mashable picked up on the trend and reported on it.

This raises the question on how companies are going to have to start having 24/7 customer services and maybe they need to train up call centre reps to respond to messages on Facebook and Twitter.

In this particular case, the tweet appears to have been successful.