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Beyond WhatsApp: 6 unusual ways to reach mass market

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 ( 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 ( 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.


Most people have heard about Snapchat (, 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 (, 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 ( 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.


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 ( 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 (, 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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Meet the accountant of the future

The accountant of the future will need a new set of skills, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, as he meets both the local users and the global creators of Xero accounting software



Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca get a highrise view of London. Pic by Arthur Goldstuck

Meet Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca. They are not only partners in marriage, but also in a thriving accounting business. Buchule and Sivenathi are, respectively, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of SMTAX, which focuses on tax and accounting services for small businesses in the Western Cape, but includes the likes of Absa and Old Mutual among its clients. It employs 18 people and has 4,500 individual and business customers.

That’s not what makes the outfit remarkable. The startling feature of this business is that it has been structured to be a model accounting firm of the next decade. Even more remarkable is the fact that the couple both hail from rural areas where thoughts of the future tend to be about survival rather than blazing new trails.

Last week, they made their first trip out of the country, to attend Xerocon London 2019. This 2-day conference, hosted by the world’s fastest growing accounting software maker, Xero, attracted more than 3,000 delegates from the United Kingdom, Europe Middle East and Africa. A total of 57 Xero partners and users, mostly from accounting practices or suppliers to accountants, made the trek from South Africa.

“It was really about seeing how other accountants on other continents operate in terms of how they think and where their headspace is at,” Buchule told us during Xerocon. “Also, being our first time out of the country, it was to see the culture of other small businesses outside of South Africa. 

“London’s quite different in that regard, but it’s been a really a great learning curve, and we were pleasantly surprised to find elements that look like South Africa, where we can say, at least you’re doing something right. The banking environment is quite unique, as it’s been a really good learning curve in terms of where banking might go to in the future of South Africa if they follow the same trend.”

Buchule comes from the “dusty streets” of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, while Sivenathi grew up on a farm in a deep rural area near Mthatha.

“I had no idea about technology or the rest of the world or how it could impact the economy in general,” she said. The two met at the University of Cape Town, where she was studying to be an actuary, and he completed a Masters degree in tax. She decided to put actuarial science behind her, however, when the opportunity arose to join Buchule’s business. But her skills helped transform the business.

Said Buchule: “When Sivenathi came on board we did the modeling of the business, and we said that in order to in order to automate the whole bookkeeping journey, we would need to turn closer and closer towards ‘x’, meaning fully automated bookkeeping. We looked at the journey of how long it will it take for us to get to time ‘x’. And then we said, OK, once we get there, what then?

“It was a big realization that when we do get to time ‘x’, the most important thing will be the human touch. That will be the differentiator. So we then spent our time developing that.”

Visit the next page to read more about the Xerocon 2019 event.

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Takealot reveals startling numbers for Black Friday



Takealot has revealed startling numbers for expected bumper sales this holiday season, beginning next week, and peaking with Black Friday.

South Africa’s leading ecommerce group expects to ship at least one order every second, with roughly 10,000 boxes leaving their warehouses every hour, this shopping season. 

Black Friday was first introduced to South Africa by Takealot in 2012, and has since become an important day in South Africa’s annual retail calendar. It has been a record-breaker for both retailers in the Takealot Group: Takealot and Superbalist. Takealot’s Black Friday gross merchandise value (GMV) grew 125% from 2017 to 2018, with orders up 127%. Superbalist’s Black Friday GMV has grown on average around 50%. This year, CEO Kim Reid is anticipating the biggest Black Friday yet, a culmination of months of tech and operational business-wide focus to prepare for increased predicted traffic and shopper volumes.

ABSA bank estimates that two out of three South Africans participated in Black Friday sales in 2018. And FNB reports in 2018, Black Friday transaction volumes grew by 16% compared with 2017 and anticipates a 15% increase in transactions over the sales period in 2019. 

Successfully meeting this massive growth in orders has been a key focus for the Takealot Group. CEO Kim Reid says throughout the year they have been working to scale operations across multiple areas within the business. “After expanding our Johannesburg distribution centre (DC), our warehouse storage space now stands at 75 000m2. We house over 3.7 million items at any given time, and have opened 47 Takealot Pickup Points in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga for order collections and returns, with more to open in the coming months.” 

Takealot Delivery Team delivers to more South African homes than any other courier company in the country. On a monthly basis, they carry out over 1.6-million deliveries,  with this number expected to increase to over 2-million during the shopping season. More than 4,500 drivers currently deliver for the Takealot Delivery Team; a number that is growing every month. The Takealot group anticipates they’ll travel over 4,000 000km from Black Friday until 24 December. “To put that in context, it is the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe over 100 times” says Reid.’s Blue Dot Sale is a five day sale period which starts on Black Friday (29 November) and sees a range of new deals throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday (2 December) and Takealot Tuesday (3 December), with up to 60% off thousands of items. For the first time, will also be giving their shoppers early access to some of its Black Friday deals, starting on 24 November. Fresh new app-only deals will be added daily. 

The Superbalist Showdown will run from 29 November to 3 December, with up to 70% off more than 15 000+ items. Superbalist shoppers will also have early access to Black Friday deals on selected days throughout November, with Superbalist’s Black Friday Spoilers – 24 hours to shop deals that they say won’t be beaten on Black Friday. 

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