OLX finally grows up, introduces banner ads & premium listings to monetize



Naspers’ backed horizontal classifieds platform OLX, has finally introduced premium featured listings in a heavy monetization push after spending millions of dollars on marketing and customer acquisition in Kenya, and various markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

The move will see its over 150,000 daily users pay between Ksh.999 to Ksh. 5,499, depending on the category of item for sale and the number of days one wants their advert to remain at the top ad section. One can opt to position their advert at the top section for one, three and seven days. All payments will be done via MPESA.

OLX will also allow brands and organizations that want to reach users who visit OLX on a daily basis, to place banners on the home page and the different category pages. Mr. Ndiang’ui said that the advantage the platform has is that their users already have the intent to buy hence are easy to convert, making it a great opportunity to reach out to ready market.

In a statement, Mr. Peter Ndiang’ui, OLX Kenya country manager said,“We realized that some sellers, who come to OLX, wish to sell their items quickly to make money and do not mind paying a small fee to appear at the top. Our ads are relatively cheaper compared to placing an advertisement in any other platform.”

OLX, which has been free for all since its launch was actually running out of time and money to move from fremium as other classified platforms pitched their premium featured sections to small businesses over a year ago. Either Naspers was going to invest more money into OLX in Africa or find a suitable buyer willing to burn money for one more year.

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Though late, by introducing such a feature months before the festive season, OLX Kenya aims to at least make some money out of the platform. This won’t make the firm billions overnight but as small businesses and individuals accept the change; huge volumes will mean more transactions hence some revenue for the firm.

Fremium wasn’t totally bad for OLX and it’s not going away. Firstly, it helped OLX to bulk up the user base for a deeper, making OLX  household name among most Kenyans. It also build the firm credibility, so it sign up more partners and even build relationships with most of these small businesses and individuals.

It also helped the firm learn ways for fighting online fraud and introduced various user awareness and education initiatives and helped depend use too.

”It is important to note that posting on OLX will always be free. We have added a pay option feature for those seeking to sell their items faster by increasing visibility”.  Mr. Ndiang’ui added.

The firm adds that by allowing users to pay a small fee and have their adverts remain at the top section of the listings page, they will not only increase thier adverts’ or listings’ visibility but will in turn increase the chances of selling by up to 10 times.