OLX to Launch a Self-Serve Ad Platform for Small Businesses


OLX is preparing to launch a self-serve ad platform in Pakistan for small businesses.

“It’s the next evolution in marketing for small businesses,” said Aneeb Faizi, Head of Digital Advertising at OLX Pakistan, in an exclusive interview with ProPakistani.

The first-of-its-kind tool in Pakistan will allow users to devise their own targeted campaigns based on desired outcomes like the number of clicks, downloads, or branding and filter OLX’s audience based on budget, campaign days, and other metrics.

This tool is designed by keeping small businesses in view who are looking for a targeted approach. At present, it is in the process of automation and it will help in the evolution of small businesses.

The self-serve ad platform is expected to go live next month.

When asked about the similarity to ad platforms like those offered by Facebook and Google, Faizi dismissed it as an unfair comparison.

“They’re different things,” he explained. “Our solution is going to be targeted towards small businesses. We’ll be offering them lower rates. The platform will have some built-in limitations to make sure it won’t be abused. For instance, we’ll limit businesses to buying 500,000 impressions at most. We want to empower small businesses by giving them low rates and a high ROI.”

How COVID-19 has Affected OLX Pakistan

OLX has seen a 60% in traffic volume because of COVID-19, with the best performing categories being autos, mobiles, property, and appliances.

“Retailers are shifting online because visits to brick and mortar stores have decreased,” said Faizi. “Small businesses now realize that attracting physical footfall to their shops remains an inconsistent and unpredictable process during lockdown situations.”

“In view of the tough economic situation due to Covid-19, we have added some flexibility in our offerings to accommodate the smaller SMEs that have been most affected by this pandemic.”

General Trends of Advertising in Pakistan

Aneeb Faizi: Pakistan’s current digital policy and strategy have created a digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for the rapid delivery of innovative digital services, applications, and content. Digital advertising today is more sophisticated, personalized, and relevant, therefore, Pakistani advertisers are also focusing on digital mediums more than ever to disseminate their advertising messages.

The growing availability of smartphones, tablets, and mobile broadband is extending the reach of advertisers to digital media.

Programmatic advertising has been popular in Pakistan in the past few years. It refers to the use of automated systems and data to make media buying decisions without human interference. Ad spaces are bid upon by brands and advertisers, which are auctioned off to the highest bidder with their ad placed- all in a fraction of a second.

Through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to provide a more optimized and cost-effective Pay-Per-Click campaign that can maximize the ROI for the advertiser/brand. In this manner, the right audience is found at the right time for the right placement.

OLX is providing one of its kind platform where we enable businesses to connect directly with their customers by posting free ads, said Faizi.

As recently observed, classified ads posted on OLX in the business to consumer category in Pakistan, specifically related to garments including printed textile lawn for women, kids’ readymade garments, and accessories witnessed a 100% increase. While ad postings related to footwear and electronic items saw a 50% increase as compared to the previous month.

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