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Telco-driven advertising is also about using telco networks to maximise the reach and scale of ad campaigns. Picture: SUPPLIED/OUT THERE MEDIA
Telco-driven advertising is also about using telco networks to maximise the reach and scale of ad campaigns. Picture: SUPPLIED/OUT THERE MEDIA

There’s no doubt South Africans continue to love advertising. For brands and advertisers, that’s great news. Advertising allows them to engage with their customers, showcase new products and offerings, and generate new revenue. More brands are fighting for attention — more engagement, more click-throughs, and increased return on investment (ROI). For many brands and advertisers, this increased competition is adding pressure to deliver ad-driven results. 

But what happens when the traditional advertising channels no longer deliver the engagement that brands expect? Who can brands turn to as an alternative? 

Enter the age of telco-driven advertising

Telcos provide the connectivity we need to lead our digital lives — to stay in touch with our friends and family, work, shop, manage our finances, and more. 

Telcos’ role in our every day lives means they are best placed when it comes to knowing who their subscribers are. In fact, telcos collect and store huge amounts of data — everything from age, gender and location to what device subscribers use and what over-the-top services they regularly purchase. This wealth of information is underused by telcos, but for brands, it can be valuable. By leveraging this data, brands can better understand who they’re targeting, ensuring that ad campaigns resonate better with their audiences. 

Telco-driven advertising is also about using telco networks to maximise the reach and scale of ad campaigns. Many brands opt to run ad campaigns via Facebook as it’s often seen as the most popular channel for reaching consumers. But in SA, Facebook has only 22-million yearly users. This pales in comparison to telcos’ reach. The two major telcos in SA, Vodacom and MTN, have 40-million and 25-million subscribers respectively: that’s almost 65-million connections primed for targeted and personalised advertising. 

Combine this reach with native mobile messaging channels as the mode of communication and engagement, and brands have a new way to launch powerful mobile messaging ad campaigns. While over-the-top apps such as WhatsApp, Viber or Facebook Messenger have long been the most popular choice for consumers, these apps all have to be downloaded. This often eating up device storage, and caters only to those with smartphones, excluding a significant part of the population. 

On the other hand, native messaging technology — SMS, MMS, PCM (please call me) or RCS (rich communications services) — places brands right in the hands of the consumer, without requiring them to download yet another app.

The additional benefit for brands is that native messaging technology spans all device generations, allowing them to reach consumers using the oldest handsets as well as those with the latest smartphones. This enables them to launch inclusive messaging campaigns that take into consideration different messaging functionalities and formats, providing the best experience regardless of device type. 

By working with telcos, brands can also provide additional benefits to their audiences. South Africans are particularly price conscious and when it comes to advertising, brands need to think about how their ads affect their consumers from a data usage perspective. For example, if consumers engage with an ad, they will want to ensure it doesn’t eat into their data allowance.

By working with telcos, brands can offset this cost by launching zero-rated mobile messaging campaigns, where the telco absorbs the cost for the data usage when subscribers interact with ads. This encourages consumers to engage with the campaign and ensures they are not negatively affected while doing so. 

By leveraging telco-owned data, their reach and scale, and their native messaging technology, brands have the opportunity to launch impactful, targeted and personalised telco-driven mobile advertising campaigns like never before. In doing so, brands will enjoy greater ROI, higher click-through rates, and will see campaigns that exceed industry benchmarks for engagement and conversion by up to 70 times. 

Conquering the telco world requires the right tools and the right partner

Brands are always looking for new ways to engage with consumers — new platforms, new technologies and new channels. While the traditional digital channels may have once served their purpose, the time has come to look elsewhere. Brands need tangible results—numbers that speak for themselves where engagement, clicks and sales are concerned. 

While telcos are an obvious choice, conquering the world will be no easy feat. Brands will need to ensure they are armed with the right tools, and the right partner, to help them navigate telco relationships to maximise campaign ROIs.

Brands are staring in the face of a huge growth opportunity to increase their reach, scale and engagement, and generate new revenue. Failure to act now could have them relegated to the back of the line when it comes to consumer attention.  

This article was paid for by Out There Media.

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