Nigerian online advertising platform Rubiqube has come a long way since it started in 2016. Its reach has gone up from 2 to 10 million unique users; it has recruited key media sites and its CTO got listed in the Forbes Top 30 Under 30. Russell Southwood spoke to its other co-founder, Mukhtar Oyewo about how it has grown
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Rubiqube uses technology to deliver engaging video adverts from its network of brands and advertisers to high value target audience through pre- roll, auto play and expandable video ad formats. It claims to be the only rewarded advertising video service in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Its product VideoPay is a performance based video ad service which uses the technology to enhance the user’s experience and brands pay only after video Ads have been watched completely. These videos are highly targeted and are user-initiated. They win points that they can use to play music tracks (on Boomplayer) or games:”You’re on a music streaming app. You want to pay 50 cents to pay for the song. You can do this or you can pay with airtime. And there’s an additional button to watch a 15 second video advert and then you get the song for free.”
According to Oyewo:”By early 2017, we had got on board Nigeria’s top publishers including Punch, Vanguard, The Nation, Business Day, Independent.ng, Information Nigeria, Naija.com, The Tribune, the Daily Trust, large jobs site Jobberman and Palmchat. They are our publishers and they give us reach. We take video content from brands and run it across these networks”.
“An example is a Smirnoff campaign for Diageo. We ran their video across these networks. It’s just like a TV ad so we’re currently pioneering online video advertising. The network covers Nigeria and other parts of Africa. This kind of ad is delivering about 100,000 views and upwards. We charge on views rather impressions”.
You pay for a certain number of views. An impression is just when a video view has been initiated. For a view it only counts if it has been watched for 5 seconds seconds or more. If the video is off the screen, it doesn’t count. When the view is completed, the video disappears. You pay N5 (US 0.27 cents) per view for 5 seconds and N15 (US 0.41 cents) per completed view.
Revenue from the campaign is shared 60% with the publisher and 40% goes to to Rubiqube:”It’s a different ball game in other countries. We have our eyes on Ghana and we’re already integrating into Ghana’s largest publisher, Ghana Web and Jobberman Ghana. We’re also talking to Tonaton, a classifieds site (owned by Saltside Technologies) and have set our eyes on South Africa but we have not yet spoken to partners”.
It has worked with an impressive list of top brands that almost reads as a Who’s Who of those active in the market. It includes: GSK, Proctor and Gamble, Nestle, Maggi, Hennessey, PZ Cussons, Coke Studio, Alat, Visa, UBA, Zenith Bank, Bua Group, Federal Government of Nigeria (for the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme).
“Campaign spend varies between N2-3 million (US$5,500-US$8,300).You’re paying for what you’re getting. Our reach is 200 million page views per month which equals 10 million unique monthly users, up from 2 million in 2016. You can get between 100-500,000 views per ad. It’s trackable and you can see how many times a person watches. This makes it way better than television. You can’t see the user journey on TV. Once you put in the URL we can show you the user journey”.
The transition to larger digital spend is by brands is slow but it is happening:”They’re testing the waters. We’re building the trust to get them to invest a large budget. I’m very optimistic that beginning next year we’ll be embedded in their budgets and budgets will be way higher”.
Who loses in online vs TV spend?:” I don’t think anyone loses. Read research from Ad Age and you’ll see how spend increases over the years. The overall pool will increase with the push to digital”. Competitors in the digital advertising space are largely the internationals like You Tube and the Facebook ecosystem.
It has partnered with Advrtas, a US company to offer VR-type advertisements. It calls it “super-rich” media:”We’ve been pushing it for the last 6 months but haven’t managed to run any campaigns yet”.
“We have some other new products in the works. We’re working on something for SMEs. Videos are expensive for small companies so we’re looking to build a “co-working space-type” model for small brands”.
For its games platform where it offers users incentives, it has a partner in Israel who is plugged into mobile games across the world:”Users watch videos in exchange for games points to play games. For example, if you need an extra life. Everybody is rewarded”. Games include: Shadow Fight 2, Subway Surfer, Toy Defense, Sonic Dash, Top Eleven, My Talking Angela and Proevolution Soccer.
The demographics vary by product: the gaming products users are younger (15-35) than for the online news media outlets (25-65). They are mostly male although the overall split is 55% male and 45% fenale.
So what kind of publishers or platforms is Rubiqube looking for?:” We’re looking looking for every kind of publisher:News, blogs, fashion. We really need people in sports and fashion”.
The cherry on the cake for Mukhtar Oyewo was that his co-founder and CTO Mahmood Oyewo was selected for the top 30 under 30 list in Forbes in June.