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Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:18

Understanding Digital PR

Understanding Digital PR

Digital PR strategy has become a vital area of expertise for any leading PR firm, but for many brand and product managers the understanding of what exactly digital PR is, remains a point of confusion. More often than not, the first link people make is to social media, but social media marketing is not digital PR and understanding the difference is extremely important to ensure the successful implementation of a digital strategy.


“Simply put, digital PR is building presence on the internet and managing online reputation for brands and businesses. This can be done through various means such as social media, websites, blogging, and online media coverage ,” says Lucinda Boddy, Managing Director of Livewired PR. She explains that PR practitioners have a number of different resources at their disposal when it comes to building a brand’s online reputation, and that social media forms an important part of this mix, but does certainly not define it.   


Looking at the top digital PR tools, search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most effective. “The objective of SEO is to improve a brand or company’s search visibility,” explains Boddy, “this is done through the creation of compelling content in the form of press releases, blogs, audio and visual clips, and the like, in which key search words have been strategically included.” Ultimately, SEO assists brands to build their online reputation and widen their reach.


As we’ve already mentioned, social media forms an integral part of a digital PR campaign. The main objective of social media marketing is to initiate positive interactions with consumers and if possible influential online personalities. It involves the development of online content that emphasises positive news around the brand, minimising the effect of negative publicity. However, as Boddy warns, there needs to be a significant amount of brand transparency and integrity when it comes to social media, as users will quickly pick up on content that is not authentic.


“Blogging is another way to develop a greater online following,” maintains Boddy. “Companies that post their own blogs, develop a platform from which they can disseminate relevant content and in doing so, increase their search engine ranking.” 


Amongst any brand’s digital assets are video, audio and podcasts. A different format in which to produce interesting and relevant content, they too are helpful in the establishment of a greater online presence and improved search ranking. “Submitting assets such as these to socially interactive sites only increases your brand’s number of entry points on the web,” adds Boddy.


Lastly, it’s important to make use of online tools that help to monitor the brand’s online image. These come in the form of Google Alerts, Social Mention and Twitter which are designed to bring any mention of your brand or company name to your attention. “Not only are these tools effective in helping you to counteract negative publicity quickly and effectively, but also to identify potential brand ambassadors,” says Boddy.


The skills, tactics and strategy which are used in digital PR are not all that different to those used in more traditional PR, and in fact they both involve  creative, interesting content that communicates the brands key messaging to their target audience. It is important to understand which platforms are best utilised to meet your objectives and how they are most effectively implemented.


Published in PR & Communications
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Online editions attracting more readers in South Africa

South Africa is experiencing an increase in the growth of readership for traditional newspapers and a developing digital market, in contrast to the more developed countries, which are experiencing a migration of readers to online platforms. Unit circulation has however been steadily declining over the past few years and this trend is expected to continue into the future. This anomaly arises from newspapers increasingly being shared by more readers.


Although there has been a significant increase in the growth of readership of newspapers, it remains to be seen if this trend will continue as broadband penetration increases in the market and online editions start to attract more readers. These are some of the findings of PwC’s recent South African Entertainment & Media Outlook 2012-2016 (‘The Outlook’) report.


The total newspaper market in South Africa rose by 5.7% in 2011 to R11.4 billion, a significant increase from the 1.9% growth recorded in 2011. This increase was largely due to strong growth in advertising spending (10.8%) offsetting a 6.4% decline in circulation spending. Although there was an increase in overall newspaper readership of about 7.7% in 2011, this was mainly as a result of more people reading the same copy, rather than increased paid-unit circulation. There was a net drop in paid unit circulation of 6.7%, with a subsequent decline in overall circulation spending.


The overall incidence of newspaper readership increased from 29.4% at the end of 2010 to 30.8% at the end of 2011. The study found that the growth of readers tended to be among the larger newspapers, which generate more advertising than smaller titles.


Vicki Myburgh, Entertainment & Media Industries Leader for PwC Southern Africa, says: “It remains to be seen if the growing readership trend for print newspapers will continue as online editions are attracting more readers. We expect print readership growth to slow and ultimately decline as digital readership expands. This will have a significant effect on the advertising growth of newspapers.”


The Outlook shows that the improving advertising market for newspapers led to several new launches in the market in 2011. Myburgh says that new launches tend to run contrary to the trend in other countries where newspapers are closing shop. “The launch of new editions provides additional outlets for advertisers and contributes to an overall growth in advertising.”

With economic growth expected to moderate in 2012, the study projects advertising growth to improve to 7.1% in 2013 and to average 8.5% compounded annually during 2014-16.


As broadband penetrates the market, the potential for digital content and advertising is increasing significantly. The major newspaper titles in South Africa also have online editions that are attracting a small, but growing advertising stream. The study predicts digital newspaper advertising to expand at annual rates in excess of 20% during the next five years, reaching about R472 million in 2016. Digital newspaper circulation spending is projected to total an estimated R52 million in 2016, up from only R1 million in 2011.


Myburgh says that newspapers are also seeing an ongoing shift in classified advertising from print to the Internet. “Classified advertising on the Internet tends to be more easily searchable than in print. Furthermore, the rates are lower and ads can be inserted anytime, can be changed easily and are not as limited with respect to word count.”

When digital advertising is included, total newspaper advertising is forecast to grow by an estimated 7.9% on a compound annual basis during the next five years, rising to R12.3 billion in 2016 from R8.4 billion in 2011.


Print circulation

Although the growth of readership of newspapers rose during the past two years, circulation figures fell, declining by 6.3% in 2010 and a further 6.7% in 2011. Between 2007 and 2009, the cumulative decline for the two year period was 5.7%, less than half of the decrease of the past two years.


“As broadband penetration increases, we can expect a decline in circulation in print newspapers. Because South Africa is still well behind other countries in broadband penetration, it will experience rapid broadband growth in the coming years. Consequently, we expect steeper declines in newspaper unit circulation compared with most other countries,” says Myburgh.


As the economic climate improves, declines are expected to even out to 5.6% annually during 2015 – 2016, which will still be sharper than in most other countries, states the report.


Digital circulation

While readers do not appear to be willing to pay for online newspapers, they do appear to be willing to pay for the convenience of having a newspaper downloaded to a mobile device. A paid digital circulation market is developing in a number of countries as the convenience of having a newspaper on a mobile device increases, states the report. As the cost of accessing the internet decreases and more people get connected, fewer people will turn to print newspapers, particularly those that they have to pay for their information. This may be regarded as a negative trend but does point to an opportunity in the digital news sphere, says Myburgh. “


Tablets are proving to be popular in South Africa and as prices come down, we expect penetration to expand.” As the penetration of tablets and the quality of available news applications increases, the potential market for paid digital circulation will increase. The report projects that by 2016 paid digital unit circulation will total 86 000 from only 2 000 in 2011.


Generally people still view digital products as inferior to products in their traditional physical formats and have only been willing to buy digital products at a discount. “We expect this behaviour to characterise digital newspaper use.” Average annual newspaper spending is projected to be less than half of print newspapers and to decline from R610 in 2011 to R600 by 2016. Aggregate spending will total an estimated R52 million in 2016, up from only R1 million in 2011.


Myburgh says that traditional print sales will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. “Emerging technologies create new opportunities for the newspaper industry to increase online distribution and to reach larger audiences.


“Partnerships and acquisitions will be vital, allowing penetration into new markets and diversifying revenue streams. Tablets and mobile devices will provide access to a more youthful demographic and will help newspapers evolve their offering to appeal to younger readers.”

Published in Online
Monday, 10 September 2012 12:16

South Africa’s entertainment and media industry reaches the ‘end of the digital beginning’, according to PwC study

South Africa’s entertainment and media industry reaches the ‘end of the digital beginning’, according to PwC study

South Africa’s entertainment and media companies have reached the ‘end of the digital beginning’, with digital activities now becoming the ‘new normal’ for traditional media companies, according to a report issued today by professional services firm PwC.

Digital spending in the South African entertainment and media industry is expected to increase at an approximate 21% compound annual rate during the next five years, according to PwC’s South African Entertainment & Media Outlook 2012-2016 (‘The Outlook’). Although comprising 20.4% of overall spending in 2011, digital channels will generate 52% of the total increase in spending during the next five years.

This will largely be driven by the expanding internet market, broadband penetration as well as consumer spending on television subscriptions and video games.

According to PwC’s South African Entertainment & Media Outlook 2012-2016, digital spending will comprise 32.6% of the total entertainment and media market in South Africa by 2016.

Vicky Myburgh, Entertainment & Media Industries Leader for PwC Southern Africa, says: “We believe that the industry is at the end of the beginning of its digital journey. Entertainment and media companies have made a commitment to the delivery of digital entertainment and are now in the process of making the necessary changes to their products and organisations.

“The PwC study confirms that digital products and delivery is moving to the hearts of many media companies and beginning to present the greatest opportunities for growth in the immediate future. The core challenge for entertainment and media companies lies in how to remain relevant to their consumers and business customers in a way that differentiates them from their competitors. There are long-term structural and organisational changes that are needed right across the industry.”

However, The Outlook warns that newspapers and print media are being eclipsed by tablets, mobile smart phones and a raft of new digital and online communications media, led by internet and television advertising and video games.

The third edition of PwC’s South African Entertainment and Media Outlook presents annual historical data for 2007-2011 and provides annual forecasts for 2012-2016 in 12 entertainment and media segments.

The Outlook includes historical and forecast data on the Internet, television, filmed entertainment, radio, recorded music, consumer magazine publishing, newspaper publishing, consumer and educational book publishing, business-to-business publishing, out-of-home advertising, video games, and sports. It gives a detailed breakdown of each of these sectors.

“Despite the recent economic uncertainty, the past year has seen global and South African global sales of tablets and smart devices reach record levels underlining the growing revenue opportunities in the digital delivery of entertainment and media content as well as advertising to increasingly connected and mobile consumers. Companies are planning and executing their strategies to cross to the digital frontier,” says Myburgh.

The entertainment and media industry in South Africa went up 0.7 %in 2011, slowed by the absence of spending associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which boosted that year’s total by 27.6%. Advertising in 2011 increased by 7.9%, down from the 14.7% increase recorded in 2010.

End-user spending, consisting of spending by consumers and other end-users on products and services produced by the entertainment and media industry, fell 2.3% in 2011, also largely due to the absence of spending associated with the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Sports declined by 39.7% and the remaining segments rose by 13.8%.

The fastest growing sectors in 2011 were the Internet at 27.3% and television at 13.4%. Out-of-home advertising at 11.6% was the only other category to increase by more than 10%.

Consumer magazine publishing rose 7.8% in 2011, followed by radio at 6.6% and newspaper publishing by 5.7%, the only other segments to grow by as much as 5%. According to The Outlook consumer magazines were propelled by a jump in print advertising, largely due to stronger economic growth, the launch of several new titles in industry, growth in readership and rising circulation. Improvements in the economy also boosted radio. Advertising in print newspaper also benefited in 2011 as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted its largest increase since 2008.

Myburgh says that the research shows that the internet is expected to be the fastest growing sector within the next five years with a projected 20.3% compound annual increase. Broadband and mobile access growth coupled with double-digit increases in Internet advertising will drive this market. Television is expected to be the next fastest-growing segment with a projected 10.3% compound annual increase.

Out-of-home advertising will be next at 9.3% compounded annually, driven by an increase in the penetration of digital screens, which provide more potential in terms of revenue as the same site can accommodate multiple advertisers. Furthermore, radio and sports are expected to show compound annual increases of 6.5%, followed by video games at 6.4%.

The findings of the study show that radio will be boosted by the addition of new commercial stations and the expansion of new community stations, while sports will largely be driven by rising media rights and strong growth in sponsorships. Consumer magazines and newspapers will be the only sectors projected to average in the vicinity of 5% growth compounded annually during the next five years. Consumer magazines will average 5.3% with Newspapers at an average of 5.1% as advertising growth offsets declines in circulation spending.

Spending in the industry is expected to reach a record level of R141.7 billion in 2016, a 10.2% compound annual increase from R87.4 billion in 2011.

“We anticipate that overall growth in the entertainment and media industry will closely track GDP growth over the forecast period,” says Myburgh.

“By embracing digital as the engine of their business, companies can position themselves to meet consumers’ changing demands through any channel and format – and more effectively and more profitably than ever before.”

Published in Media & Marketing
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:54

Fox P2 and Gloo win the 2012 Roger Garlick Award

Fox P2 and Gloo win the 2012 Roger Garlick Award

At last night's MOST Awards, AMASA announced Fox P2 and Gloo's joint entry for Brandhouse as the overall Roger Garlick Award winner. Entered by Pete Case in the Best use of Online, Social Media and Mobile category, the entry showed how the two agencies jointly combated drinking and driving for its client through online media.

The campaign objective was to use a 'real world medium' and digital medium to drive home personalised messages to consumers. According to their entry, "We created an integrated viral campaign combining a real-world twist together with Thunda.com to create unique online engagement."

While targeting several parties during the festive season, photographers focused on male party guests. When these consumers went to Thunda.com and clicked on their party images, they were instead taken to a video that featured their picture embedded into a prison scene, shot with real prisoners, with hugely dramatic effect.

Within the first three months, over 85 500 individual visitors had viewed a personalised message to stop drinking, with the average viewer watching it more than twice.

"The Brandhouse campaign impressed the judges the most," says Wayne Bischoff, AMASA's head of the Roger Garlick portfolio. "While we had sterling entries this year, judges were all in agreement that the Fox P2 and Gloo entry showed the best innovative use of its chosen media type."

Four AMASA Gold's were also awarded on the night to: Pete Case from Gloo with Pixel Project, William Price and Digital Fabric for South African Tourism's Touch Table entry in the Best use of Online, Social Media and Mobile category; Kelvin Storie from Vizeum SA and Roger Pestana for iLogic and Primedia Unlimited's Wideopen Platform for the BMW 1 Series campaign entered into the Best use of Out of Home category; Anne van Rensburg of the Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town for her Musica Star Wars entry in the Best use of Out of Home category and Storm Mascall from Associated Magazines with Vizeum and Carat for Cell C's brand repositioning sound chip innovation in the Best use of Magazines category.

"AMASA would like to extend our thanks to the entrants, to our judging committee, our sponsor DSTV Airtime Sales and to Sandra Gordon and her team for incorporating the Roger Garlick Awards into the MOST awards. We're already in the process of planning Roger Garlick 2013 and by all accounts, the awards are certainly growing in stature each year and we look forward to seeing what the industry has to show us through next year's entries."

Published in Media & Marketing
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:48

Shopper Behaviour Examined

Shopper Behaviour Examined

In the last year, shopper marketing has enjoyed a bigger piece of the marketing budget than ever before. In fact, it is expected to show 21% year-on-year growth in budget allocation in 2012 globally. But what is the value of shopper marketing to different brand categories and how should marketers interpret this trend in the South African context?

This year independent marketing strategy consultancy – Yellowwood, built on the findings of its 2011 Engager Survey, by focusing on the FMCG category and assessing the relationship between brand-engagement and shopper marketing. In 2011, the survey measured South Africa's most engaged brands across a variety of categories and one of the key findings was that retail dominated the top 20 brands.

Jenny Moore, Group Research Director said: "We explored the role of brand engagement in shopper behaviour due to the focus that organisations are placing on shopper marketing today. Globally, shopper marketing is the fastest growing advertising category and in South Africa, although still in its infancy, it is likely to be one of the biggest growth areas over the next few years."

The survey assessed six of the most common grocery categories including: household cleaning, personal care, staple foods, frozen foods, tinned foods and dairy. It evaluated a total of 60 leading brands across the six categories - representing the repertoire of products which the average South African woman has in her shopping basket on a weekly basis. Brands within those categories were selected based on market share, marketing activity and the regularity of their appearance in brand surveys, among other factors. As the aim of the survey was to understand leading shopper brand dynamics, it was necessary to choose established brands.

Insight and measurement are the bookends for sound shopper marketing strategies. While shopper marketing is not in itself a new concept, technology has enabled marketers to study shopper behaviour more closely than ever before, allowing fresh and effective applications of shopper marketing concepts.

Six leading trends in shopper behaviour were identified against the backdrop of what Yellowwood termed 'the new shopper context', i.e. shoppers who have adapted to recessionary behaviour and have not reverted to more lavish shopping habits. This, for example, means that they are doing more pre-purchase preparation than ever before - often online, making lists of products to purchase and making fewer impulse buys, etc. This has greatly influenced the emergence of the six identified trends, which include:

  • A focus on the in-store experience: This trend sees greater collaboration between retailer and manufacturer to create a memorable and appealing shopper experience - driving footfall and brand preference.
  • The 'solution' shop: In a bid to disrupt habitual shopping, more retailers are offering shoppers 'solution' ideas. Be that in the form of 'dinner tonight' solutions such as those offered by the Knorr brand or home improvement solutions such as the bathroom in a box concept from Cashbuild. Not only does this concept ensure that the shopper buys all the products from the same range, but it is also a great way to introduce shoppers to new brands and products within the same environment.

The rise of the private label

The private label has become more powerful - especially during the recession, where more shoppers explored private labels and enjoyed their efficacy and price. To counter this, brands need to focus on innovations that add real consumer value (quality, convenience, health and wellness being some of the current values appealing to shoppers) and sound strategies to avoid the discounting trap.

Smart phones make a strong online presence critical

The massive increase in access to smartphones has changed the way that South Africans shop. Online shopping was valued at an estimated ZAR2bn in 2010, with 30% growth projections. This is compared to 7% for traditional retail growth. Leading online shopper activities are price comparisons and product information sourcing whilst content, payment and auto-replenishment apps will be future winners.

Shop for convenience

There has been a rapid increase in quick trip shopping patterns, facilitated by increased access to convenience stores in South Africa. Stores such as Woolworths Food Stores and convenience stores accounting for US$1.4bn revenue in South Africa in 2009 exemplify this.

With these macro trends in mind, Yellowwood's Engager 2012 study was able to define the role of brand engagement in affecting shopper behaviour and the implications of how we market to shoppers to get the greatest ROI.

With regard to brand engagement, there was also a clear indication that brand building is hugely beneficial, even in low engagement categories such as tinned food. And the way in which shopper marketing is used to complement brand engagement can drive purchase intent, if used appropriately for high or low engagement categories.

In high engagement categories such as personal hygiene, it's role is most effective to re-enforce and reassure shoppers. Furthermore, in high engagement categories, shoppers are more likely to engage with the brand on a variety of platforms. Whereas in low engagement categories, shopper marketing is effective at creating ambivalence and therefore swaying behaviour change in the aisle.

It is therefore critical that marketers understand the interplay between in-store marketing, traditional media and online media in building relationships to drive shopper behaviour in their category. It's not only about what happens in the store, at point of purchase but about how shoppers engage with brands along the whole purchase journey.

Published in Branding
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 12:18

Social media: Unlocking new opportunities for SMEs

Social media: Unlocking new opportunities for SMEs

"Social media" is the umbrella term that defines the various activities and platforms that integrate technology and social interaction. Anybody can access these platforms and, by using them innovatively, entrepreneurs can connect with their target audiences, establish themselves as thought leaders and create a name for their company through their online presence...

With a million social media "gurus" suggesting what to do and what not to do in every article you read, how do entrepreneurs determine a strategy that will work for their businesses – especially if they're already juggling a number of roles and responsibilities? Shawn Theunissen, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Growthpoint Properties and the founder and manager of Property Point, Growthpoint Properties' enterprise development programme, says that social media has become a key tool in the marketing and public relations arsenal of all companies. "Social media can give SMEs a presence that can be far less costly than many other options available to them. This makes it important for them to investigate how best it can be used in their specific context."

Theunissen emphasises that social media activities must be implemented correctly and managed, however: "Unlike placing an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, social media initiatives are dynamic. In the case of Facebook for example, customers, potential customers and other interested parties can ask questions or make comments. When monitored correctly, this not only gives the entrepreneur the ability to expand on their offering, but to show real service by responding to queries promptly and actively engaging with their audience."

In implementing a basic – and manageable – social media strategy, entrepreneurs need to consider establishing a strategic presence using:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • a blog
  • an up-to-date and easy to navigate website

These "four corners of the social media ecosystem" can be used together to create brand awareness; promote offerings; offer information that readers find useful; and constantly supply interested parties with a means to contact and engage with your company. LinkedIn (a site with over 100 million users) is also highly valuable for key staff members, and should be managed personally by these members as often as possible.

Managing your platforms

Just as developing a cutting-edge website doesn't automatically mean people will visit it, social media initiatives need constant updating and marketing to ensure your message is heard. "The vital part of any social media activity for SMEs is that it enables entrepreneurs to have one-on-one discussions with people who actively express an interest in their companies," says Theunissen. "As such, if they're managed properly, they can act as a 'call centre" for their operations."

Theunissen maintains the key points of good social media management are as follows:

  1. Update your Facebook page daily, or at least every second day, to ensure you don't disappear among the many pages your core audience "likes".
  2. Don't try to sell your products or services on social media – it's called "social" media because it's a place where people gather to learn and share information, rather than make purchases. The "hard sell" on social media merely annoys people, and they'll hit the "delete" button quickly if they feel you're abusing their time.
  3. Use Twitter a few times a day and always place a link to a pertinent article on your blog or area of interest on your website (as well as contact details) in your tweet, or the tweet won't work for you as it should.
  4. Avoid tweeting three or more tweets in a row – it looks like you are using automated Twitter software and don't care enough to personalise your tweets.
  5. Try to avoid using software that publishes your tweets on your Facebook page – the hashtags are a dead giveaway, and Facebook users may (again) feel that you just can't be bothered to be a "real human being" and talk to them.
  6. Software that publishes your Facebook update to Twitter appears to be more acceptable, but should be supplemented by "real human" tweets later in the day.
  7. Offer your market information that benefits both them and you – an article on how your services can improve their lives or business for example, shows that you care about your market, and not just about advertising to them.
  8. Use your blog to disseminate information about what it is you do; the market that you're in; how your products/services enhance people's lives; and current news about your market. This can set you (or an individual company spokesperson) up as a "thought leader" in your field and assist in bringing your name or company name up when people use search engines to search for info on your market.
  9. Make sure you tag your blogs and tweets correctly – using popular words that have nothing to do with your product or service just to rank higher up in search engines can be annoying to your followers.
  10. If you don't have the time to manage your social media activities, hire someone who does and make sure that you choose someone with marketing and public relations experience. Remember that you are handing over part of your brand management to this agency and should feel comfortable that everything they do is going to improve your standing on and offline.

"Just as you wouldn't want to publish anything in print that can be damaging to your brand, be cautious about what you publish online," says Theunissen. "As the saying goes, 'what's put out in cyberspace, stays in cyberspace' – pretty much forever! Use all the online resources available to you to ensure your company can be found easily and prospective clients can contact you immediately. Of course, that has to be followed up by prompt service from you or your staff members, so make sure everyone in your organisation is aware of all your social media activities."

"Just an hour a day can prove extremely valuable to SMEs who are willing to take the time to actively promote themselves. It's public relations and it can prove to be the best hour you spend in your day," concludes Theunissen.

Published in Online
How local knowledge keeps Junk Mail ahead in the classifieds market

South Africa's media dynamics are unlike those anywhere else – and it's this knowledge of the local market that has enabled the Junk Mail stable to stay ahead of its online and print competitors.
While Junk Mail's future is online, there is still a huge and lucrative market for print publications that has helped to fund online development.
We embraced the Internet very early, in 1996, and 71% of all our ads are now placed via the web. But we also still sell over 100,000 copies a week of our print publications. Even at R20 a copy, it's still much cheaper than the Internet for millions of South Africans – and for a lot of people it's much faster too. This digital divide is still the reality of the local media landscape.
The Junk Mail stable includes the flagship sites JunkMail and JobMail, as well as AutoMart, TruckandTrailer, FreePropertyAds, Lovemail and machinery sales site Mascus. In print, there are three regional editions of Junk Mail, Cape Ads, JobMail and four vehicle sales publications.
Understanding the needs and buying patterns of the South African market has been key to Junk Mail's success. We have 20 years of experience in the classified ads business, we know this market intimately, and we've designed our categories, our publications and our online sites around that knowledge. That's why we're not unduly worried by the influx of global competitors. Someone planning their company out of Seattle or London would never dream of publishing print classifieds because that's not how their world works.
What global competitors miss is that while print is no longer in its heyday, it's never declined at anything like the rate people predicted. Our print publications are still a good, profitable business that delivers great value to buyers and sellers alike. If you want to sell something, your chances are best with us.
Not that Junk Mail is resting on its laurels. In 2010 the company took the bold step of removing paywalls from all its online properties, and separated the online business completely from print. We still want to optimise all the opportunities that remain in print, without diluting the focus of the online team. So our print and online teams are often competing for the same customers, which keeps them on their toes.
The company is also ramping up its mobile presence, recently re-launching a much faster version of its mobile sites. Mobile is a completely different environment from the desktop and people use it in a very particular way. Mobile ad placements have gone from zero three years ago to 17% now, and we expect that to take off in the next few years.
Classified advertising is a ruthlessly competitive business. What has kept us ahead for 20 years is understanding that it's also extremely local. Whatever medium our customers find most convenient, that's what we give them. We're also a very results-driven organisation - we look after what works, even if it's not trendy.

Published in Print

The SA Leader Magazine

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