Wonga: Leveraging Affiliate Marketing in the Personal Loans Industry

Innovation in the E-Finance industry is one that comes with technological innovation accompanied by changes in marketing strategy. Since 2012, Wonga had opened its business in South Africa, offering a speedy, personal loan system to locals via their online platform. Utilizing its automated risk processing technology, Wonga SA took control of the micro-loan market in South Africa as an innovative and fresh approach to the loan process.

Our work with Wonga started in 2019, creating a synergistic relationship and a path into the future.

Adapting to the South African Market

Wonga initially began in the British market and later expanded across the globe from the United Kingdom to Spain, Poland, Canada, and South Africa. The firm aimed to establish itself within the market while maintaining a smooth and effective transition into the country.

“Yes, I think it’s been really amazing to work with OfferForge. They have been pivotal in helping us with the transition from coming from the group structure and then forging our own path as a South African entity.” – James Williams (Head of Marketing at Wonga)

When entering into a new market, a crucial aspect to adhere to is the requirements of a separate market. Their preferences, wants, needs, expectations, and buying behaviors become the main focal point for market adaptation. From 2012 to 2019, the firm managed to create its ideal target market and customer base while engaging in the affiliate market via an external affiliate agency. 2019 saw our partnership come to fruition where we partnered as their sole affiliate network manager and provider.

“Working with OfferForge has been tremendous, great reporting tools and so on, and also some really good feedback from affiliates themselves that filter through to us via the team.” – James Williams

Growth and Success

We’ve built the Wonga brand up as a credible lender in the fintech space. Through our partnership, Wonga gained the ability to become an independent financial service provider in South Africa, separate from their affiliations overseas.

Wonga also developed the ability to focus on pursuing purpose over profit, a point made by their head of Marketing.

“I think more recently, since becoming independent, we have become a purpose-led organization that really places emphasis on customer value over profit.”

The Results

Wonga took to developing its brand, ideals, and development in the market while utilizing our resources to communicate its messaging and build strong relationships with its client base.

“The other one is, over the years we’ve invested really heavily in the Wonga brand and certainly punches above its weight from all of the research that we’ve done in terms of brand recognition and recall. Even compared to some of the major banks that have absolutely massive marketing budgets.”

Utilizing their budget, we were able to compete with larger FSPs and generate over 1.2 million rand worth of revenue for the brand over the last four years. This also occurred during the Covid pandemic, when the fiscal decision-making of consumers undertook a major upturn.

“I think one last just general comment on that is also, with lockdown coming into force toward March or April last year we’re seeing mass online adoption of e-commerce through people or from people at least, that maybe were digitally savvy, so they might have had like a Facebook account or an Instagram account, but always had a bit of an apprehension to transacting online.”

To Summarize

Wonga has been a pivotal client in our work. Coming from an existing affiliate program, the expectations for our firm to perform were established. Through clear expectations and a product that delivers, we were able to drive their performance and establish the Wonga brand in the South African market.


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