A quick update

A quick update It is hard to believe we are nearly half-way through 2022. When I think back to two years ago – still at Level 3 lockdown, not really able to travel, many schools still closed as well as many businesses – things are looking very different now. The Department of Statistics SA recently released an economic update showing our GDP expanded by 1,9% in the first quarter of 2022. The size of the economy is now at pre-pandemic levels, with real GDP slightly higher than what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The report further shows household consumption increased by 1,4% in the first quarter, while the hospitality sector in particular saw a sharp rise in activity as consumer spending on restaurants and hotels increased by 6,5%. So while many businesses are still struggling to make their way out of the post-pandemic depression, there is reason to be optimistic. President Cyril Ramaphosa recently underlined the importance of growing the country’s digital economy, with the release of new broadband spectrum having been identified as a key reform for driving economic growth. While this process has been delayed, South Africa is undertaking other digital reforms, including the publication of the country’s draft national data and cloud policy which ultimately seeks to put in place a conducive and enabling environment for the data ecosystem to thrive. While the past two years helped some online businesses to thrive, it also unfortunately saw many publishers and merchants closing down. It is therefore encouraging to see a pickup in enquiries coming in from new publishers and prospective advertisers wanting to join the network. International travel, which was essentially dead for nearly two years, has picked up steadily though we are yet to see the numbers reach pre-pandemic levels. I believe this will take some time. For those of you who will be taking some time off for the winter school break I wish you a relaxed time ahead. Safe travels to those heading out to different corners of the country and the world. Let us come back rested and ready for whatever the rest of 2022 has to offer. Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO All CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Industry News Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

Getting started with social media-based affiliate marketing


Getting started with social media-based affiliate marketing While traditional affiliate channels like blogs, websites and email marketing can still be very effective, affiliates who have not yet added social media channels to their mix should seriously consider doing so. Not only will this allow you to reach new, highly relevant customers as well as influencers and creators, but most platforms also provide affiliates with the tools they need to create content and seamlessly share referral links to their built-in audience of followers. Here are a few tips to help you get started. Choosing which social media platform really depends on your social media objectives; for example, are you aiming to build your brand or looking for lead generation?  Either way, you need to consider which channels are used by your target audience, the channels that your competitors are using, and the type of content that is most likely to engage with your audience. Facebook – Facebook is by far the biggest channel for posting affiliate marketing links as they now reach around a third of the world’s population. Most businesses consider it as the second website for their products these days. Since their market penetration is so large, you can target almost every age group on Facebook. Start by setting up a business FB page from which you can share your affiliate links. And be sure to keep content fresh, highly relevant and original. Also don’t forget to regularly analyze your stats so you can easily decide your future strategies. Youtube – The video-sharing site now has around 2 billion users so competition for eyeballs is quite stiff, however, there are no limits to the niches for which you can create video content for. As with other social media channels, you can monetize your video content as part of your affiliate marketing campaigns by creating videos and placing affiliate links in the video and the video descriptions. Affiliates can also place a small image overlay on the video with the tracking link. Affiliate marketers can use tracking to redirect the user to the affiliate website or affiliate landing page, where the user will make the purchase and generate the commission. Twitter – Although not as popular as Facebook, Twitter has incredible engagement rates that could benefit your business. Using Twitter for affiliate marketing will help you to increase your brand awareness and most importantly, to start building your own audience of loyal followers. Once you have signed up to Twitter, make sure that you have a good profile for your future visitors to get an idea of who you are, including a short description of you, your hobbies, interests, and the URL of your website as well. You can get followers by following users in your niche first, posting engaging posts with useful advice to your followers, and retweeting advice from trusted users. It’s also very important to get the timing of your Tweets right. B2B posts do well on weekdays whereas, for B2C companies, weekends are the most engaged. Instagram – Insta has grown into a great platform for affiliate marketing since it gives you the chance to monetize your audience easily. Instagrammers can promote a merchant’s products by placing a discrete affiliate link in published content. You can also promote your affiliate offers by just writing them on the images as a text overlay and using a tool to shorten the long tracking URL, for example, Bit.ly. Instagram affiliates can also use coupons instead of tracking links and display the coupon as a text overlay on images to enable affiliate tracking.   There are of course several other social channels like Tiktok, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, Telegram etc. but as a beginner, it is best to start with a few and build it up from there. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need any assistance. Good luck! The Publisher Management Team All CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Industry News Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

Interview with Hans Overbeek, CEO at Cyber Finance

hans overbeek

Interview with Hans Overbeek, CEO at Cyber Finance This month we chat with Hans Overbeek, Founder and CEO of Cyber Finance, a leading financial solutions provider offering a range of effective debt counselling services that provide consumers with an affordable repayment solution and ultimately financial freedom. To date, his company has helped over 5,000 SA consumers become debt free and has been voted Top 10 National Debt Solutions Provider. Describe yourself in 3 words. Precise, modest, no-nonsense approach. Describe the Cyber Finance business model briefly. Cyber Finance operates as a personal debt and financial management company (registered Debt Counsellors). For the last six years, we went for a niche position: “best in the market”. Our personal approach to our clientele, excellence in service and care, and high expertise in solving complicated financial problems for our clients are what sets us apart from other debt counsellors. How do Cyber Finance’s services differ from traditional banks? Cyber Finance is not a bank. We give advice to all consumers in South Africa about their financial situation and wellbeing and offer solutions to improve them. We do this without creating new loans and more debt. What are the main requirements for an individual to be approved for a debt consolidation program with Cyber Finance? The main requirements are; they need to be over-indebted according to regulation 23A of the National Credit Act. This relates to credit risk profile, salary level, debt levels and cost of living. The past two years have been especially hard on consumers. How has that impacted your business? We have had an influx of inquiries and we expect an increased interest in our services for the next 12 months. Especially with our excellent reputation for our “free financial assessments” which enables the consumer to have a 360-degree view of their finances (in-depth analysis). What are the main focus areas in your digital marketing strategy? Communicating clearly and penetrating the awareness of consumers with lots of good articles and honest advice. We strictly follow the code of the NCR. How will developments in technology change business in South Africa in the near future? With the increase of mobile apps, better mobile devices and increased internet access, consumers will have more access to valuable information and make better decisions. The costs of client service can be decreased and translated into better products and services at a lower price. What advice do you have for aspiring tech entrepreneurs? Success comes through hard work and never giving up. Follow the direction of your dreams and don’t deviate. At all times be open to learning and improving. When I’m not working, I’m… Working. I am very passionate and involved and feel dedicated to improving people’s lives. 1 day per week I dedicate to my children, my son who is 8 and my daughter who is 11. In order to balance out my life better I have started my first hobby; making my own salamis, cooked hams and parma hams. This passion started while I worked as a consultant for a meat producer in the Parma, Italy region. All Interviews and Insights Industry News CEO's Thoughts Interviews and Insights Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before 26 Oct 2022 Why Black Friday 2022 will differ from before Despite current downturns in the economy, evidence shows that the e-commerce industry is picking up and going back to pre-pandemic… Read More CEO's Thoughts Never stop marketing 26 Oct 2022 Never stop marketing There’s a LOT going on in the world right now. This is not a political piece, yet it is diffiult to ignore the world-shaping events… Read More Interviews and Insights Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove 26 Oct 2022 Interview with Sandra Jardim, Blogger/Founder of MammaBearLove Our October profile is Sandra Jardim, mom to twins Gisela and Alaia and blogger/owner of MammaBearLove. She uses her blog as… Read More Prev123Next

How influencers are reviving the affiliate model

Influencer marketing

Before the pandemic, the traditional affiliate model’s long-term prospects were questionable. With Facebook ‘s acquisition of Youtube, the phasing out of third-party cookies and the rise in popularity of Instagram, things were looking a bit tough. Now, 2 years into the pandemic, and the outlook has changed somewhat. Statista estimates that spend on affiliate marketing will reach $8.2 billion in 2022 – it’s highest jump since 2015. This is in no small part due to the increase in popularity of influencer marketing and influencers using the commission payment model. Affiliate marketing for influencers is essentially a way to earn a commission payment on the clicks or sales you drive on behalf of brands. In order to earn this commission, influencers will use uniquely trackable links (known as affiliate links) to track how many clicks or sales were made. Some influencers and content creators are making a full-time income just by using affiliate links on their Instagram account. The attraction for influencers lie in the fact that they can share affiliate links  whenever they would use a regular link, with the added bonus that they’ll earn a commission payment on the sales they drive. And there are generally no contractual obligations for how and when they share affiliate links, so they pretty much have control over how the content looks. Of course it is important to appropriately disclose affiliate links and be transparent. It is always a good idea to include a clearly visible label or hashtag. While the “old” way of doing affiliate marketing is still alive and well, it doesn’t always highlight the unique strengths that influencers bring to the table, especially for brands. Many brand affiliates were traditional bloggers or media publishers who had their own websites to promote or review a brand. You could only find product demonstrations, walk-throughs, or reviews from these kinds of publishers. Real, high-quality influencers don’t recommend products they don’t use or trust themselves, and their vast audiences are often aware of that. So this makes influencers one of the best ambassadors you can have for your brand. As true fans of your brand, they’ll champion your products and recommend you more times than the average consumer or traditional publisher. As a brand, looking for influencers to promote your brand there are a few things to bare in mind; always make sure they aren’t already promoting your competitor; create collateral they can use in their accounts; consider launching co-branded landing pages; consider offering an exclusive affiliate rate. Happy selling! The Publisher Management Team

Thank you 2021


The last term always feels a bit like a race to the finish line. With private schools starting to close from next week, many of you will be looking forward to some well-earned rest. Some of us will be working right up to Christmas, because for the e-commerce industry this is after all the busiest time of the year. Whether you will be working or taking leave, celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or just spending time with family, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support this past year; to our publishers for delivering the results, to our clients for their continued belief in us, and to our employees for going the extra mile every day. AdMarula wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for you. We also wish you a successful Black Friday and hope that it will in part make up for lost revenue during lockdown. It is encouraging to see that some of our programs that were paused have been restarted, and that clients are starting to increase budgets and channels again. (Please note that our office will close on the 23rd of December and re-open on the 3rd January.) We look forward to taking on 2022 with you. Onwards on upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

The power of positivity, patience and persistence


I’m generally quite a positive guy. My wife will tell you I’m the ‘it will be fine’ type who believes that things will generally just always be okay. But let’s be honest, looking around us it’s hard to feel positive right now. Between the pandemic, lockdowns, load shedding, lootings and poor economic forecasts the world seems doomed. But while the media is having a field day with all the negative news, there are positive stories and events happening around us all the time. And choosing to see the positive is in itself a catalyst for being happier. For starters, forcing yourself to smile has a direct positive impact on your health. Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life. It’s a pretty backwards idea, isn’t it? Happiness is what makes us smile; how can the reverse also be true? The fact is a smile spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin. In other words, smiling can trick your brain into believing you’re happy which can then spur actual feelings of happiness. But it doesn’t end there. The physical act of smiling can also make a difference in building your immunity. When you smile, the brain sees the muscle activity and assumes that humour is happening. So even if you may not feel positive at the moment, the general advice is to fake it till you make it! As for running a business in these times, I remember a friend and mentor said something to me ten years ago when we just started the AdMarula journey. His words were: “Building a business is like riding a bicycle, yes you need some capital and people and some luck, but at the end of the day what it comes down to is getting up every morning, getting on that bicycle come rain or shine, and keep cycling. And if you do that consistently and for long enough, you will succeed.” I think that’s pretty sound advice, and something we should all bear in mind right now as we navigate our businesses through unchartered waters. Let’s aim to stay committed to the good, help others where we can, and keep cycling… Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

Affiliate Marketing resilient during crisis

While overall ad spend has dropped during to the Covid-19 crisis, affiliate marketing has been resilient, according to a study by Rakuten Advertising. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, one being a significant and rapid shift in consumer behaviour, which has made affiliate publishers identify opportunities to re-evaluate the way they meet customer’s needs. The survey revealed that 57% of affiliate publishers have continued “business as usual” throughout the pandemic and some were even seeing stronger performance during the crisis. More than quarter of affiliate publishers said they have also launched new inventory or campaigns to fight the crisis. Some are also providing new services and content to site visitors, while 24% of them have invested in different channels to meet new consumer activity. The pay-for-performance model has been an especially attractive proposition for advertisers during the crisis, since they can determine in real time what they are willing to pay for a sale and thus have total control over channel ROI. As consumers have become more cost-conscious, many companies have become promotional and now rely on large affiliates that are very adept at getting their promotional messages out. The expansive models that affiliate marketing covers (on-site promotion to email, social media, paid search, shopping feeds and more) are helping advertisers to get their offers out far and wide. With large parts of the world now coming out of lock-down, advertisers and publishers need to consider how to prepare their businesses for a post-pandemic world, especially in the face of a collapse in customer demand in certain sectors, significant regulatory modifications, supply chain interruptions, unemployment, economic recession, and increased uncertainty. Perhaps the management theorist Henry Mintzberg defined it best as the 5 Ps: plan, ploy, pattern, position, and perspective. What position can you attain during and after the pandemic? What is your plan for bouncing back?  How will your culture and identity change (perspective)?  What new projects do you need to launch, run and coordinate? How prepared are you to execute on these plans and projects? You can download a worksheet for the 5 P’s here. It can help you plot your current and future moves. Best of luck for the coming weeks and months and remember, we are here for you if you ever need guidance or help in how to set up your campaigns or change your messaging. Onwards and upwards! The Publisher Team

Optimism – the force that pushes us onwards

I don’t know about you, but the last five months have been a real roller coaster for the AdMarula team. From suddenly having to work remotely, schooling kids at home, to doing virtual client meetings and eventually dealing with the reality and adjustments of returning back to the office, life has certainly thrown us a few curve balls. While this time has forced many of us to stretch ourselves further than we ever thought possible, it has also shown us what we can achieve when we have no other choice. And it’s this realisation, that I think will have a profound impact on how many of us approach life, business and our futures going forward. Yes, it has been (and still is) scary fearing for our own health and that of our loved ones. Fear of the unknown, what the future will bring. I find myself wondering, will there ever be a vaccine? Will we ever travel long-haul for holidays again? Will I need to fly to Durban and Johannesburg for client meetings again? Are business networking events a thing of the past? Now that we’ve seen how things can be done differently, and more efficiently at that, it’s hard to return to the old normal. Perhaps this crisis really is the universe’s way of telling us to wake up, to change our bad habits, to simplify our lives, to be kinder to the environment and to our planet, to make time for ourselves and those we love, to stop being greedy, and to see the beauty in every day. Because our health is everything. Once that is gone, nothing else matters. Having said that, I have definitely in the last week or so noticed that life is slowly starting to return to a new normal. Once empty cafes now have quite a few customers, hair dressers are open and busy, and when I tried to book a place for myself and my family to go away somewhere local over the long weekend EVERYTHING was fully booked. That’s encouraging. Not only does it mean our local tourism and hospitality businesses are finally making a turnover again, but it also shows how resilient humans are. We have an inherent desire to explore, live and be around other people. We just need to keep in mind that this thing isn’t over yet and the rules, although they seem unreasonable and frustrating at times, are there for a reason. For our safety. Back to business: naturally and like most other businesses, AdMarula has also felt the pinch of the economic crisis that we now find ourselves in, with Travel being by far our hardest hit vertical. But five months in and we are already seeing a doubling in transactions from last month, and with local leisure travel given the green light we remain optimistic that our local tourism sector will start to make a recovery after months of lockdown. The entire AdMarula team, management included, have taken a 25% pay cut since the start of the lockdown in order to preserve cash and jobs and I am glad to say that so far we have not needed to retrench people or take any other drastic measures besides keeping our spending down. We have also done an intensive business development drive during the lockdown period which has resulted in several new clients coming on board. You can read more about these in our ‘Featured offers’ section further down. Finally I would like to pass on my condolences to anyone in our business community (publishers, clients, partners, suppliers and friends) who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you have lost loved ones, lost your business, are suffering financially or been ill yourself, we wish you strength and recovery in the coming months. This storm too shall pass, and we will find light in the darkness once again. As per the words of the Dalai Lama: “Choose optimism, it feels better”. All the best for the rest of August, stay warm and stay safe. Daniel Gross – CEO

A changed world


The world we suddenly find ourselves in feels surreal – a bit like stepping into a sci-fi movie from the 90’s, and yet here it is, playing out right in front of our eyes on our social media rolls and in our neighbourhoods. Overnight we’ve all had to radically change the way we live, work, school, shop and do business. It’s scary to read about large, established businesses filing for bankruptcy, to see the Rand fall to over R19 to the dollar, and about South Africa’s new junk status. But from the ashes rises the phoenix, so what positive lessons can we learn so far from this global crisis? Perhaps the most prominent that comes to my mind is prudence. Something that seems to have become lost, even considered boring and narrow-minded in the modern world. The world before Covid-19 was one where more is never enough, fast is too slow, and where we were all victims of the break-necking pace that life and society has somehow come to expect of us. Made to believe that more equals productivity, we worked too hard, exercised too little, filled our children’s schedules with one structured activity after the next, planned our holidays a year in advance to some exotic destination, and lied awake at night thinking about how we can make more money to keep on affording that life. Instead of being prudent and investing for a rainy day, businesses that flourished focused their resources and energy on further increasing their size and profits. Large-scale events featured on everyone’s agenda, and large organisations were flying executives in from all parts of the globe for 2 or 3 day-long visits. With half of the world now in some form of lockdown, we are forced to take a step back and re-assess ourselves. Despite the initial disbelief when we learned about the lockdown in SA, we all eventually had to accept it. Whether we liked it or not, we had no choice but to change our behaviour. Suddenly instead of flying we are doing business meetings through Zoom, instead of going to the gym we are doing virtual exercise classes from the comfort of our homes, instead of sitting in hours of traffic we are working from our home office. Instead of spending our hard-earned money on stuff, we realise that we don’t really need all of that. Suddenly we are home schooling our children and spending more time playing and interacting with them than ever before. Just in the past week my two boys have learnt to make their beds, cook, unpack a dishwasher, operate a vacuum cleaner, play Rummi, read more books, use the garage wall to improve their tennis shots and build the biggest blanket fort I’ve ever seen. Would they have done any of these things if we had still been stuck in our old life? From a business perspective AdMarula has of course been affected by the lockdown just like every other business. Many of our clients in the travel industry have been hit hard, some even doubt they will survive. This is tragic. The retail industry, which was already struggling before this crisis, is fighting for survival and we will no doubt see many brands and shops disappearing from our malls in the near future. On the flip side we have seen businesses take amazing initiative to make certain products and services available to customers during this difficult time. From crisis often comes innovation. Online food delivery services, health stores, e-commerce,  finance and tech clients are finding new ways to expand and adapt their offering to benefit clients. It really is amazing what can be achieved when the situation is dire. Someone else put it perfectly: “Companies and publishers who can work together to help bring solutions, products and services to people functioning in this new world will come out on top. In our industry, we have a chance to really help people stay healthy, happy and productive right when they need it the most”. Looking at myself, I now think twice before going to the store, and instead chose to order food online. I value space and distance and hygiene. I appreciate our beautiful blue South African skies and see every new day as a gift. I realise that as long as I have a roof over my heads, food on the table, and my loved ones around me, nothing else really matters. I realise that perhaps our life was too busy, and our priorities not exactly what they should have been. I realise how stressed I often felt, when I am now forced to operate at a slower pace. I realise that it’s rather nice not to hear any traffic outside my window, and that I actually enjoy having a wide, open schedule for the next few months. And perhaps more than anything, I appreciate my freedom. My final thought is how amazingly adaptable the human race is. When it really matters, when we have no other choice, we CAN turn things around and drastically change our behaviour in basically no time. We CAN find solutions where we never saw them before, and we DO have the intelligence and insight to learn from our mistakes. I’m sure that when this crisis is over we will all look back and miss the time we were forced to slow down, and maybe we will all come out of this with some positive changes and healthier habits. Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep innovating! Danie Gross – CEO

Merchants, Publishers: Are you ready?

With exactly four weeks to Christmas Eve, the end of another year is in sight, and most South Africans will be getting ready to take their annual holiday and get their gift shopping sorted.  For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales with hobby, toy and game stores reporting the highest percentage. However, with the current dip in our economy, customers will be more selective than ever about where they spend their hard earned cash. Here are a few tips for optimising your site to attract more eyeballs this festive season. Beyond ensuring fast, efficient website performance, there are a few other things you should keep in mind when prepping your e-commerce website for increased holiday traffic. Display, display, display – Physical retail stores often set up special holiday displays during the shopping season. You can take a similar approach to your website. Dress up your digital channel just like you do your brick and mortar. But this doesn’t necessarily mean adding Christmas trees and flashing lights to your homepage. Update your content to be more upbeat, and tie offers of your products to festive dates like Christmas, New Years, Black Friday etc. and highlight why this product or offer will delight the customer. Check your site speed –  Large photos and interactive elements could slow your site down significantly, meaning all your effort to make a gorgeous website could get wasted because the page doesn’t load in time for the consumer. Make sure your Web hosting solution has the necessary bandwidth and speed to support higher holiday traffic. Customer support – Holiday shoppers want a positive customer experience, so make your contact details easy to find on all pages of your website in case customers have questions about their orders. You may even want to consider adding temporary help to answer the additional calls, if you think you will need it. Security – With the increase in online activity, hackers are sitting ready to make the most of this opportunity. Educate your time on recognising cyber attacks and ensure you have a solution in place to deal with such an attack, should it occur. Make them laugh –  the use of humor is a good way to stand out during a very competitive shopping season. JibJab allows visitors to personalize hilarious videos and send them to friends and family. Special offers & discounts – Make sure that your holiday offers are featured prominently on your home page and post post your special offers to your top social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Email marketing – It’s easy to get caught up in making sure your website is perfectly festive. However, remember that many customers won’t see it — unless you email them with a link and a good reason to return to your homepage.  After all, your subscribers opted into your email list for a reason. Give back – remember that although your thoughts will be on the bottom line, this is the season of giving so give back to your customers.  For instance, you could make a donation to a charitable organization or sponsor a company-wide day of service. Hope you find these ideas useful, and remember the AdMarula Team is here to assist if you get stuck. Happy selling! The Publisher Team.