For Local Businesses, both small and large, marketing has changed drastically in the last decade. Websites, Mobile Apps and Social Networks have completely evolved to allow businesses to reach local consumers with ease.
While Print, Radio, and Television advertising can still be effective channels for some types of local businesses, for most small local businesses, free online marketing platforms like Jiji are the perfect sweet spot.
To keep up with the competitive and ever-changing local marketplaces, business owners are forced to constantly stay one step ahead of both their consumers and their competitors. Jiji is one of the best platforms for local businesses to leverage that competitive edge. And the best part? It’s Free!
What is Jiji?
Jiji is a free online classifieds website where local businesses and customers meet and engage. The platform connects buyers to sellers within their local regions and makes it easier for sellers to showcase their products online with a free account.
You are probably wondering – Free? How can it all be free? Well, Jiji’s business model is quite interesting.
How does Jiji make money?
Like most online classifieds websites, Jiji doesn’t charge sellers to publish their listings. The first and perhaps most obvious way that Jiji makes money is through traffic monetization. The website monetizes its traffic through third-party networks such as Google Adsense. While ad networks offer relatively low RPM, the website could easily generate lots of income thanks to their huge daily traffic.
Secondly, Jiji recently introduced its latest business model – Premium Listings. Basically, the company allows sellers to advertise their products for a certain fee in exchange for more visibility and a higher click-through rate.
Premium Listings were introduced on Jiji after the company was rebranded from its old classifieds version, OLX. Jiji currently operates actively in Nigeria and Kenya with most of its revenue coming from premium listings.
So from a seller’s perspective, the million-dollar question then becomes – Are Jiji Ads worth paying for?
Are Jiji Ads Worth Paying For?
The simple answer to this question is Yes and No. To better understand this answer, we carried out a low-budget campaign to test a few theories we had.
Jiji is easily the most popular online classifieds website in Kenya today. It’s pretty straight-forward to use, has a huge network of buyers and sellers, and despite the tittle-tattle around, it’s actually very secure for anyone with an average knowledge of how the internet works.
Logic would dictate that Jiji premium listings are a great idea, especially for businesses with a low marketing budget. Their tier packages go for as low as Ksh 450 per week! Considering the vast network of users on the platform, this is extremely cheap. But before you rush to cough out your pocket, check out our case study below.
The Case Study
We did a one-week paid listing on Jiji to test out its premium features. For a start, we paid for the basic Top Ad package which promises 15x times more views than free ads for only Ksh.450.
Top ads allow you to display your ad in the Top Ad section of its category for 7 days. A yellow background makes your ad visible for more clients, responses, and sales. In theory, the more tops you use on one advert, the more clients you get. Essentially, you dominate all top positions in your specific category.
Our Top Ad on Jiji ran for one week – but the results were not any interesting. We had about 45 impressions, 1 view on the phone number, and 1 chat request. The chat request was a cold lead. A very cold lead. We also had one user who favourited our ad – whatever that means.
Jiji Premium Ads Vs Google Ads
Our Jiji Top Ad ran concurrently with one simple search campaign on Google. In the spirit of fairness, we allocated a very small budget on the Google search Ad so that we could give both platforms an equal chance to perform. Our Google search ad ran for 4 days at $1 per day. That brings the total spend to about Ksh. 430 in 4 days.
Surprisingly, the Google Search Ad had 2 hot leads within the first 3 hours. One of the leads converted the same day while the other lead converted a week later. The ad had only spent $0.3 before converting.
The Flaw in Jiji Ads
While it is true that Jiji Premium Ads are a good idea for local sellers to gain visibility, they still have a lot of ground to cover before they become nearly as effective as Ad networks such as Google and Facebook.
Here are a few reasons why Jiji Ads might not work for you as the advertiser.
Paid listings are a great source of impressions and traffic. But they are not customer creators. In my experience, the bounce rate is usually very high on paid listings. And things are no different on Jiji.
Here’s a better way to put it. A paid listing will give users a reason to come visit, but not necessarily a reason to come back. Organic traffic on your listings is different. Jiji matches keywords to user intent. So it’s very likely that free listings on Jiji could actually prove more relevant to your potential buyers.
Many studies have shown that people are less likely to click on paid ads than organic search engine results. The theory is, if you are paying to appear at the top, you probably didn’t put in the work. People are more likely to trust listings that appear organically than those that have been boosted.
Google and Facebook have found a simple solution to this problem – Ads on both platforms blend seamlessly with organic content. Facebook simply adds a short “Sponsored” label on all ads, while Google adds a tag on the top left position to show that it’s an Ad
Jiji, for some reason, decided colouring was the way to go. And it makes a lot of sense to add coloured labels and backgrounds, considering the structure of their platform. Nonetheless, it is very likely that this is the same reason why a good number of potential buyers may not click on your premium listings. They are just too “screaming”.
Unlike Google and Facebook, Jiji Premium Ads have a long way to go in terms of reporting. The “Statistics” tab is very vanilla and doesn’t have much to offer. As a serious advertiser, you want to track all the relevant metrics that contribute to your overall ROI.
When to use Jiji Premium Ads
Interestingly, Jiji Premium Ads have proved to be quite effective when you are selling property. When I was doing my survey, a few real estate agents and vehicle brokers admitted that they have actually found success in Jiji Paid ads. This is particularly helpful in painting a clear picture of the kind of audience that uses the platform.
Jiji itself admits that Promotion in Property and Cars categories requires a specific Premium Package. So if this is your niche, Jiji should be at the top of your marketing bucket list. Businesses that sell electronics have also had their fair share of success after investing in premium Jiji ads
As a rule of thumb, if your business deals in physical goods (particularly land, vehicles, and perhaps electronics), Jiji might be a great idea to pour in your marketing efforts and budget.
However, if you are a services business, you will probably find more success in other platforms such as Google and Facebook.
Of course, this makes perfect sense. Most people visit Jiji to buy stuff they can use or consume. The platform is highly favoured because it’s less sophisticated and has a large pool of ready buyers and sellers. People who are looking for help, on the other hand, rush to Google for help.