Vodacom trials location-based ads

2 June 2009

Cellular operator Vodacom is currently conducting a trial on a new location-based advertising offering – the first of its kind in South Africa – on its mobile social network, the grid.

The trial run is being conducted in partnership with Nando’s, Sportscene, Jay Jays and Cape Town-based pharmacy group Synergy. The ads are delivered within a 10-kilometre radius of the user’s location, making it possible to promote a special offer available at a specific store.

“Delivering advertising which is contextually relevant is one of the key goals of any advertising … and we are launching what is likely to be the first in a range of location targeting propositions which form part of Vodacom’s overall location-based services strategy,” Vodacom Mobile Media head Rick Joubert said in a statement last week.

Location-specific ads

According to its website, the grid connects a user’s mobile phone and web browser into a social network that uses cellphone mast triangulation to detect where the user and their friends are and helps users leave notes on the places they go to.

When accessing the grid through a web browser on a PC, location-specific banner ads are delivered to a user’s dashboard once logged in. A web-based location targeted ad will tell a user how far they are from the store’s physical location.

On mobile phones, the grid Java application delivers location-specific text link ads to a user’s dashboard. Once a user clicks on an ad, they are taken through to the location of that store on a Grid map.


The ads are charged on a cost-per-click model, making it affordable and possible for companies and brands to tailor their advertising needs to specific stores or promotions.

“The power of location-based advertising is that it suddenly makes something as global as the web incredibly local,” said Joubert, adding that this was a new way of advertising that was more like the livery of a shop-front than an anonymous and arbitrary display of commercial messaging.

“It is deeply personal and actionable information.”

‘Embodies youth’

“Jay Jays is a brand that embodies the on the go lifestyle of the youth,” said Jay Jays merchandise manager Brendan Moran. “Now with LBS advertising, wherever they are, they know where to find us.”

Nando’s Western Cape regional manager Gary Matz said his company was always looking for exciting, innovative and relevant ways of promoting the company, which was why location-based advertising caught their attention.

“There’s no wastage here, the ad is relevant to the customer down to the nearest street block,” he said. “What better way to spoil our customers, than telling them that the Nando’s down the road is offering something extra special this week?”

SAinfo reporter

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