Just did this interview for the Kulula inflight mag on online advertising and promoting your website. Thought I’d publish it here too:

1. Why does online advertising account for so little of the advertising pie in SA?

For various reasons — and it’s not only a story about low internet penetration. Many South African products and services play in local markets that have high penetration, upwards of 80%. I think online advertising is slow as there are institutional biases in traditional media companies and the industry that push revenue through the tried-and-tested channels they know.

I also think that the online advertising sector also has itself to blame. Apart from Google’s advertising offerings, there’s a general lack of innovation in the sector, not making it the attractive proposition it should be.

2. Do you think the internet is a good place to advertise in SA? Why?

I think it’s a great place to advertise. You are reaching professionals with disposable income and your ads are highly measurable. It should become an even better place to advertise as online media companies offer more innovative online ad models, more sophisticated targeting, and push more aggressively into multimedia.

3. How do you attract customers to your website?

The main way you attract users to your site is by displaying quality, relevant, compelling content on a website that is usable, fast and viral. You can also boost your web presence in search engines by employing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) techniques — most of which you will solve via good, standardised web development. You could also advertise via Google Ads or buy online advertising on one of the major local sites.

4. How do you get people to stay on your site for longer i.e. enhance the “stickiness” of your site?

Offer your users relevant and related content or services. Get your users to register with your site so you can offer him or her a richer experience. But they’ll only register though if you make it compelling to do so. Allow your users to share content and integrate with their social network and email services.

5. Which is better – launching an ad campaign or opting for paid search instead?

It depends what you want out of the campaign. If you want a bigger, branding campaign then advertise on one of the country’s main online publishing sites. If you are focused on acquisitions then use paid search services, such as Google’s advertising services. Smaller businesses prefer Google advertising as they find impression-based online advertising expensive and branding campaigns are not a priority for them.

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