OLX is the world’s leading classifieds platform in growth markets and is available in more than 45 countries and over 50 languages. The OLX Group connects local people to buy, sell or exchange used goods and services by making it fast and easy for anyone to post a listing through their mobile phone or on the web. The brand’s online marketplaces generate more than 1.7 billion page visits and 54 million listings every month.

OLX Arabia is actively expanding in the MENA region in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The OLX Arabia app is the region’s leading shopping app, and ranks among the top 10 in Egypt.1The OLX Egypt team wanted to acquire new app users who were likely to contribute listings. At the same time, they wanted to find a way to test the relative performance of different creatives and assess the return on investment (ROI) of digital versus TV. They saw that YouTube provided a great way to reach target users while simultaneously tackling branding and performance objectives.

The machine learning offered by Google required little manual optimization and helped us to focus on cost per lead and reaching a better ROI compared to TV.

Shanil Jagatia, Head of Performance MEAP OLX

“In Egypt, internet penetration is around 59%,”2 explains Shanil Jagatia, Head of Performance Marketing. “OLX provides an online service and already has a large user base. In 2016, Egyptians spent a total of over 220 million minutes browsing OLX Egypt and uploaded more than 5.5 million listings. YouTube was a way to only reach users with mobile phones who didn’t already have the app – meaning we could have no media wastage.”

OLX Egypt launched a two-week TV campaign followed by a 40-day YouTube campaign targeting online users in Egypt. The YouTube app install ads used videos of different lengths and formats, including a Bumper ad and three videos of up to 12 seconds. The team then optimized across different formats using Conversion Optimizer.

“We measured return on investment for both channels using the same KPI: cost for new active listers,” Shanil Jagatia says. In 40 days, OLX Egypt was able to generate more than 75,000 installs with a cost per install lower than $1 and an overall cost per listing around $1 per new active lister. “YouTube helped us to acquire a large number of new active users on our app with an ROI that was slightly lower than TV, but with much more flexibility in terms of geographical focus and ability to target active users on mobile. Considering that this time we used TV creatives that were expensive, we could probably get even better total media and creative ROI with creatives made for digital.”

Via a Brand Lift Study, OLX Egypt also measured the impact of the YouTube campaign on ad recall, brand awareness and interest – something not possible in a standard TV campaign. As it happens, the brand produced best-in-class results, coming in the top 25% among similar companies.

The results have already inspired new marketing approaches within OLX. “This was for us a positive campaign,” affirms Momtaz Moussa, OLX EG country manager. “We are thinking about challenging our traditional marketing mix. As well as exploring scale (in other words, how many new users we can capture via YouTube), we’re also testing different media strategies (such as always-on versus burst) and different creative approaches (such as using specific online video creatives instead of TV commercials).”

Sources
  • 1Google Play and Apple Store, December 2016
  • 2Media Use in the Middle East, 2016, A six-nation survey by Northwestern University in Qatar in partnership with Doha Film Institute