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Thu, 16 Mar 2017
How Visual Advertising Will Change Marketing In 2017

Today, digital advertising is expected to grow to an annual spend over $335 billion by 2020. The industry is booming, taking over search ad spend at #1 in 2016. However, with constant increases in ad volume and spend, what’s happening to returns?


The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats and placements is a miniscule fraction of a percent: 0.06%. Even of this small amount, over half of mobile ad clicks are reportedly accidental—and that’s if you can reach the user in the first place.


Conversely, ad blocking tools are growing explosively, with usage up 41% on the year globally. The number is even higher among younger generations:  nearly two in three millennials report using ad block software.

Some predict an advertising Armageddon stemming from cheap or fake impressions, especially considering that Methbot, a Russian ad arbitrage fraud bot was amassing $5 million dollars in daily earnings. Others harp that the future is in engaging, rich content aimed at millennials seeking authentic brand experiences. However, neither is correct—entirely.


When real-time bidding (RTB) for ad inventory went mainstream in 2011, programmatic ads began their half-decade, exponential climb to domination. In 2016 alone, over 96% of advertisers reported using programmatic advertising, with over half of the digital ad market traded via programmatic exchanges.

Advertisers have now grown use to the ability to making automatic, data-based decisions with programmatic and buy at-scale from a virtually infinite ad inventory.


That’s a long way from when—then known as TeknoSurf—announced (what is credited with being) the first cost-per-click (CPC) model for digital advertising, in 1998, virtually inventing performance-based marketing. Prior to this, most Internet advertisers had simply adopted the age-old CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model used by print.

This created a dichotomy that has persisted for decades in digital marketing strategy: brand advertisers generate widespread awareness paying for low CPMs, while performance/direct marketers engineer sales funnels to fuel with CPC traffic.


Over the years, many corporations divided the roles into separate silos. It seems intuitive. Let PR and creatives handle brand messaging while sales focus on optimizing funnels and bidding. But this isn’t 1998. Since then, human attention spans have dropped by over half, despite a five-fold increase in average daily information intake.


Many of today’s youngest consumers grew up with the luxury of having digital content their whole lives. Avid Internet users are effective and unforgiving skimmers who demand high-quality content constantly.

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Thu, 16 Mar 2017
Many reasons Durban lost chance to host 2022 Commonwealth Games

Durban was stripped of the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Monday because the South African government couldn’t provide financial guarantees, plus other commitments made when it won the bid had still not been met nearly two years later.

Durban presented a revised budget and hosting proposal to the Commonwealth Games Federation at a last-ditch meeting last weekend to save Africa’s first international multi-sport event.

“It is with disappointment that the detailed review has concluded that there is a significant departure from the undertakings provided in Durban’s bid and as a result a number of key obligations and commitments in areas such as governance, venues, funding and risk management/assurance have not been met under the revised proposition,” the CGF said in a statement.

The CGF was “actively exploring alternative options, including a potential replacement host,” CGF president Louise Martin said.

Liverpool has already expressed interest in replacing Durban.

Durban’s failure is a major embarrassment for South Africa, with the bid initially hailed as historic as the first African host of the Commonwealth Games.

But ever since it won the games as the sole bidder in September 2015, Durban missed deadlines to provide the financial guarantees.

“It’s a big disappointment for Africa,” South African Olympic committee president and CGF vice president Gideon Sam told The Associated Press.

Money was a major problem, though. Durban’s fate was another indicator of the heavy cost countries must pay to put on major sports events.

Up to Saturday, when the CGF met with South African officials in London, there was still no signed document from the South African government guaranteeing it would pay for the games, CGF vice president Sam said.

So, Durban presented a scaled-down version of the games to the CGF.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation said, ‘That’s not going to work. We’ll look for another city,'” Sam said.

South Africa has also been touted as a possible Olympic host, and was considering bidding for the Summer Games in as early as 2028. Sam said that any Olympic bid was “definitely not on the table” for South Africa now. Durban is the country’s preferred choice as an Olympic host, and the 2022 Commonwealth Games were seen as an important stepping stone.

“For now, I don’t think anybody (in South Africa) wants to open their mouth about the Olympics,” Sam said.

Gold Coast in Australia will host the next Commonwealth Games next year.

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Thu, 16 Mar 2017
Facebook Users Make Their Own News Bubbles

Facebook users who are the most news-obsessed are also the most likely to interact with a small number of news sources, new research finds.

The study is a look at the architecture of social media polarization — essentially, how people are so effective at sorting themselves into opposing groups and filtering out alternative opinions. Though Facebook has algorithms that feed users content they’re likely to enjoy, previous research has found that people’s own choices on the social network are a stronger influence on the sorts of opinions those individuals see. (Politics conversations on Twitter aren’t much different.)

The new research, published today (March 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also found that choices matter. The study focused on the activities of 376 million Facebook users between January 2010 and December 2015, as those users interacted with what turned out to be 920 different news outlets

Facebook engagement

By tracking likes, shares and comments on news stories posted on Facebook, researchers led by Walter Quattrociocchi of the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, Italy, determined what news sources people were engaging with and for how long.

The most striking finding was that despite the huge number of news sources to choose from, Facebook users each typically fixated on just a handful of pages to engage with. And the more active the user was in doling out likes, shares and comments, the more likely that person was to focus his or her energy on fewer sources. The news outlets found in the study ranged from Reuters to Human Rights Watch to the Houston Chronicle, to niche publications like the Cyprus Expat.

“There is a natural tendency of the users to confine their activity on a limited set of pages,” Quattrociocchi and his colleagues wrote. “According to our findings, news consumption on Facebook is dominated by selective exposure.”

Each person also looked at a limited constellation of news outlets, the researchers found. User activity clustered within certain subsets of news organizations, and there was very little cross-pollination between these subsets. (Someone sharing a lot of Greenpeace posts is probably not going to be engaging with the conservative The Daily Caller, for example.)

The study, based on a large dataset, is a welcome addition to the research literature on social-media polarization, said Ben Schneiderian, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland who researches social media.

“It adds further evidence to confirm what we and others have seen, which is the so-called filter bubbles or the partitioned way that people get their information,” Schneiderian, who was not involved in the new study, told Live Science.

Confirmation-bias clusters

Users were more cosmopolitan than news agencies themselves, however, the researchers noted, at least geographically. That is, while news pages can “like” one another or pass on each other’s content, those networks were more geographically constrained than users’ networks. Regular users tended to interact with more international, if still polarized networks of pages, the researchers said.

To see how these user interactions might arise, the researchers created a computer model in [...]

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