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Update on Protection of Personal Information (‘POPI’) Act

On Friday, 08 September 2017, the Information Regulator published draft regulations in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act (‘POPI’). They have very important and have significant implications for direct marketers.

Currently, South African law allows marketers to approach customers via electronic communication to market their goods and services as long as customers are given the opportunity to unsubscribe. When POPI comes into effect (best guess that will be sometime early in next year after which marketers will have a year to become compliant) that will change.

When approaching a customer who has not received direct marketing before the customer must first be approached to obtain their consent. The Information Regulator was given the power to determine what this consent would look like which it has now done. You can find it here:

The prescribed consent is concerning for several reasons. It is two pages long, in legalese and requires a signature. Even though it is supposed to apply to electronic marketing, it seems that the Regulator failed to take digital marketing into account. Luckily, the regulations are still in draft form and we have until 7 November 2017 to comment. The IAB will comment, but this is one of those times when the more voices are heard, the better.


Jerry Mpufane

IAB SA welcomes new Jury President for 2018 Bookmarks

As the IAB SA celebrates its 10th annual Bookmark Awards, it bids farewell to longstanding Jury President John Dixon, who has served for the past four years, and welcomes Jerry Mpufane as Jury President for the #Bookmarks 2018.

“I am personally honoured to be able to lead the Bookmarks in the Jury President role. It is my sincerest hope that my varied experience, having judged at many creative festivals, will add depth to an already strong jury line-up,” says Mpufane.

This year represents a phenomenal landmark for The Bookmarks as it approaches its 10th year as SA’s most coveted awards ceremony in the digital marketing and media industry.

The Bookmarks rewards excellence in digital and recognises the powerful impact interactive has on the overall marketing mix.

“The Bookmark Awards sets the benchmark for the industry by celebrating award-winning work that inspires and educates the market about the power to build brands through creative, high-impact digital executions that deliver measurable results,” says Mpufane.

The digital landscape has evolved extensively over the last decade and the awards have brought together a diverse group of forward thinking, digitally-savvy ad agencies, brands and publishers to celebrate SA digital’s best in class.

Says Dixon, “It’s been a pleasure to serve as Jury President over the last four years. In that time, we’ve seen the Bookmarks continual growth in terms of entries, new categories and reputation. I’d like to thank the Jury Chairs and all the judges who have served along with me for their personal sacrifice.”

This year’s Bookmark Awards will place a special emphasis on the diversity of industry skill sets. In order to enrich the jury panels, we are including industry specialists in the more technical categories that have been introduced.


Digital analytics and evidence obligations in Cybercrimes Bill problematic for IAB SA members

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development published a revised version of the Cybercrimes and Cyber security Bill. By and large the Bill was a welcomed revision of prior drafts. The Bill’s legacy challenges however, with defining electronic equipment and records, creating overreaching cybercrimes, and providing for broad powers of search and surveillance remain.

The IAB SA submitted comments and recommendations as part of the public call for consultation.

In particular, the IAB SA raised the impractical limitations on the use of digital rights management. The Bill does not recognise the use of digital tracking and analytical software as used legitimately by IABSA members to collect, monitor and analyse data traffic and digital communication channels in connection with marketing and advertising intelligence. With the current wording of the section, such legitimate uses would potentially be classified as unlawful.

Moreover, the Bill places onerous evidence preservation and disclosure obligations on persons in control of computer systems. These include taking down data messages in instances where a charge has been laid and providing information including personal information to law enforcement. Typically, co-operation of this nature is subject to court orders or directives. Excessive powers to receive confidential and personal information held by electronic service providers is a global concern and needs to be avoided in South Africa.

The next step for the Bill is in-person submissions in parliament and then we wait for hopefully a more balanced interpretation of cyber security. The Bill is available at

ICASA’s draft regulations are a positive step to transparency and fairness in data pricing

A positive step to promote digital inclusion of all South Africans.

The IAB South Africa (IAB SA) welcomes the Independent Communications Association of South Africa (ICASA)’s market inquiry into data costs in South Africa as well as proposed amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations (Regulations), particularly the extent to which the regulations promote transparency and fairness in data charges.

All drives to reduce data costs not only ensure that our members’ industry sectors continue to thrive and contribute to South Africa’s economy, but also empowers more South Africans to access information, news and educational resources.  Ultimately, we believe that reducing high data costs and costs to communicate in general will ensure that all South Africans enjoy the socio-economic benefits of increased internet usage.

In particular, we welcome the service provider obligations such as:

  • ensuring the end-user can opt-out of out-of-bundle charges when their data bundle is depleted,
  • a duty to refrain from automatically applying out of bundle data charges on an end-user whose data bundle has depleted, and
  • mandatory notifications of data depletion.

Included in the regulations are obligations to ensure minimum duration for data bundles before expiry. 50 megabyte (MB) data bundles should last at least 10 days and 10 gigabyte (GB) data bundles should last at least 12 months.

Overall, the draft regulations do well to bring greater transparency to data charges and promote fairness in the structuring of data bundles. This should allow end users to have better control over their data costs.

The IAB SA looks forward to further consultation with ICASA and other stakeholders to lower data costs in South Africa and ensure the continued growth of the digital industry in our market.


Support the Advertising Standards Authority and score valuable BEE points

Agencies and business who are measured on the Marketing, Advertising and Communications (MAC) BEE Sector Charter can score valuable BEE points by making financial contributions to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB SA) and the ASA, working with prominent BEE consultancy Siyakha, have now confirmed that agencies may claim up to 3 scorecard points against the new “Responsible Social Marketing” (RSM) element by providing financial support to the industry self-regulatory body mandated to uphold ethical, honest and responsible marketing practices in South Africa.

The current MAC Charter target for RSM expenditure is 1% of net profit after tax (NPAT), although this will increase to 2.5% of NPAT from 31 March 2018.

What is Responsible Social Marketing?

The MAC Charter defines “social marketing” as “the use of any marketing communications platform for the purpose of encouraging society to embrace habits and practices that contribute to its collective wellbeing and welfare“. This – it explains – can be achieved by cultivating new habits and practices, encouraging adoption of and reinforcing socially good behaviour, discouraging antisocial or socially destructive behaviour, and attending RSM initiatives.

Siyakha CEO Dionne Kerr believes that the inclusion of the RSM element was intended to specifically influence the role that business has to play on transformation through challenging and influencing the norms of a society that still shows strong evidence of its discriminatory past. Says Kerr: “It is pertinent that people with lower levels of education or access to information will make buying decisions that have significant health, lifestyle, societal or financial consequences and so alongside the commitments imposed on industry to make services and products available to previously excluded sectors of society, the MAC sector carries a parallel responsibility to ensure that access to products and services do not serve as a detriment or risk to those individuals”.

The Charter identifies driving under the influence of alcohol as an example of one such destructive behaviour, and explains that expenditure on initiatives intended to combat it would be considered an RSM contribution. The ASA administers and enforces the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA)’s advertising code in Appendix A of the ASA’s Code of Practice, and in so doing plays a critical role in supporting the ARA and promoting socially responsible advertising relating to alcohol consumption.

Industry and ASA support

“We’re absolutely thrilled that we could find a solution which not only helps demystify the new MAC Sector Code and identify a new, easy way for agencies to score much-needed BEE points, but which also supports the ASA and promotes fair and honest marketing practices in areas where they are critically needed”, says Andrew Allison, Head of Regulatory Affairs for the IAB SA. “This is a fantastic example of how BEE can work to protect and improve the lives of South Africans, whilst also advancing the marketing and communications sector”.

According to ASA Interim CEO Gail Schimmel, “the MAC Charter recognises the important role that the ASA plays in responsible marketing and protecting consumers. It is very satisfying to see the Charter used in a manner that supports the ASA at a time that it needs it most.”

For further information or to make a contribution to the ASA, please contact or or

IAB Digital Summit 2017 explores The Power of Digital


On 16 March 2017, the IAB Digital Summit, powered by Accenture Interactive saw top brands, publishers, agencies and creatives gather as SA’s digerati were inspired and entertained by both local and global keynote speakers ready to share insights about the reinvention of media, platforms, creative and business models.

Ferial Hafajee, TBO Touch, Didier Uljasz, Lee Naik and Ryan Smit – amongst many others – tackled topics that included content marketing, fake news, streaming and big data.  These were just a handful of the trend forecasts shared on the day that may change the way businesses engage with the digital space.

As the sun set, the sneakers and sandals were swapped out for suits and sequins as the Summit digerati departed and the Bookmark hopefuls arrived. The IAB Bookmark Awards 2017, an IAB SA initiative, celebrated its ninth year of rewarding excellence in digital and recognising the powerful impact interactive has on the overall marketing mix.  This year Ogilvy was recognised as the best agency, with the KFC brand, one of its clients, recognised as the brand of the year.




The IAB extends its condolences on the sad passing of Ed Linington

The Press Council of South Africa is saddened by the death of Ed Linington, who served it for 10 years as its Press Ombudsman. A giant of South African journalism, Ed was also a catalyst in the evolution of the council.

He retired as editor of the South African Press Agency (SAPA) in 1992, but five years later became the Press Ombudsman in what was then named the Office of the Press Ombudsman.  Ten years later he recruited the current executive director of the council, Joe Thloloe, to succeed him as Ombudsman.

Ed was never one for the limelight, but he did sterling work, quietly serving his craft of journalism, his nation and its democracy.

It was during his stewardship that the Press Council shifted gears a few times to align itself with the emerging democracy, transforming what was the Constituent Bodies of the Ombudsman’s Office into the Press Council and then increasing the public participation in its affairs to the level of five public representatives against six press ones. (Today the non-media voice in the Press Council is bigger than the media voice.)

The Press Council will miss his wisdom and his vast knowledge of the history of media regulation in South Africa.

Our condolences go to his widow, Vivien, his children and the rest of the Linington family.

Reach thousands of automotive enthusiasts

SPARK Ignition Target has got this market covered

SPARK Ignition Target is SPARK’s programmatic and direct audience solution which, through our Data Management Platform (DMP), has the capability to collect and deliver relevant, customised interest based audiences. This provides advertisers with the opportunity to speak to potential buyers across the Caxton network of premium news and lifestyle focused publisher websites, in a brand safe environment.

Since its inception in 2016, our DMP has collected an audience in excess of 2.9 million people contributing to various interest categories making Spark Ignition Target a valuable channel for large effective reach.

About Audience Spotlight

Every month we will be putting the spotlight on relevant audience clusters by interest group. Clients can then buy these appropriate segments via various options (either directly or programmatically).

What is an interest based audience?

These people are sorted into specific interest categories according to their browsing behaviour across a network of websites. For example, if a user visits automotive focused pages on website(s) within the Caxton network during a rolling 90 day period, that user is pulled into an automotive enthusiast group (also known as an interest based audience).

It enables publishers to;

  1. Offer advertisers the opportunity to advertise to a specific audience with a specific message (banner advertising with an audience target)
  2. Offer advertisers the opportunity to buy this audience and target them with their programmatic buying desks (data buying)
  3. Ensure site content is matching the interests expressed by users

This month the Spotlight is on: THE AUTOMOTIVE ENTHUSIAST

Across SPARK Ignition Target we can reach 372 000 automotive enthusiasts and have 8.8 million impressions available across our network, monthly. We can target 207 600 female and 41 700 male automotive enthusiasts.



  1. DIRECT:
    • Premium, targeted banner advertising at R200 CPM
    • Inventory with automotive audience overlay at R80 CPM
    • Automotive audience data only at R40 CPM

Are you interested in this audience or is there another interest category that you would like to reach?
Contact us on or chat to your sales contact for a custom package (010 492 8385)

Programmatic for dummies


SPARK Media’s programmatic arm – SPARK ignition launched in November. Here are some tips on how to get your programmatic advertising started.

Getting started if you have a buying desk:

ignition SELL. is an ad exchange that enables buyers to buy display and mobile advertising space through preferred deals and private, real-time auctions. Publishers that form part of this offering include the likes of the Citizen, Woman and Home Magazine, Caxton’s Local News Network (+76 local news websites), All4Women and many more premium publishers.

ignition TARGET. is run off an internationally recognised DMP (data management platform). It is a programmatic and direct audience (IO buys) solution providing advertisers with the opportunity to target unique audiences across a network of premium, news and lifestyle focused publisher websites. Advertisers have the option to target audiences based on their browsing behaviour as well as demographic targeting.

Getting started with ignition SELL. and/or TARGET. :

  1. Contact our programmatic team with the following information
    • Target market segments (audiences) and volume requirements
    • Inventory volumes requirements
    • eCPM rate expectations
  2. We will then create preferred deals with your programmatic buying desk and/or add your desk into a private auction
  3. We will inform your buying desk by email/telephone that the deals and auctions have been set-up
  4. Your buying desk will accept and/or negotiate rates and can then start trading and running campaigns

Getting started if you don’t have a buying desk:

In addition to ignition SELL. and TARGET. we offer a programmatic buying service to clients who do not have direct access to programmatic buying desks. ignition BUY. has access to an array of websites and can target users specifically to meet clients’ objectives.

Getting Started with ignition BUY.:

  1. Contact our programmatic team with the following information
    • Target market segments (audiences) and volumes
    • Inventory volumes
  2. We will come back to you with an eCPM or eCPC rate, then you approve rate
  3. We will generate an IO to be signed and approved
  4. You will provide your creative
  5. We will provide you with a tracking pixel to be placed on your landing/conversion page
  6. Once the pixel has been placed and is firing, the campaign will begin

SPARK Media will guide you – we want to make Programmatic advertising easy for you!

Contact for more information



SPARK Media has officially launched its Programmatic advertising offering entitled SPARK ignition BUY. SELL. TARGET.

ignition SELL. is a private market place (PMP) tool incorporating premium South African websites that are part of, or affiliated to, the Caxton CTP Group of Publishers.

This PMP is unique to the South African digital advertising market not only because it has access to inventory that is hyper-local (owing to the local newspaper websites), but it also has access to inventory that covers a broad range of interests such as breaking news, female lifestyle interests, sports, business and many more.

“This is a very important step taken by SPARK Media in allowing advertisers to target relevant audience segments across our Group’s sites as an alternative to buying site specific impressions,” says Marc du Plessis, SPARK Media’s Joint CEO.

“We know that more advertisers are starting to allocate increasing budgets to Programmatic advertising buys, but often are not certain of the quality of the inventory they’re buying, or where their brand actually ends up.  This is where a PMP comes in, eliminating transparency and brand safety issues.”

“While we’re very excited about the prospects of ignition SELL. we’re still firm in the belief that a true and transparent South African market place should exist for South African publishers.  Something we would most certainly support and become a part of,” added du Plessis.

SPARK Media believes that the success of programmatic advertising relies heavily on the ability to target the right audience, with the right message in the right place.

Inventory bought through ignition SELL. can be overlaid with audience data layers improving the quality of inventory to buyers, further enhancing and improving the user experience and performance metrics. In simple terms we can target the right person with the right message on the right website.

ignition SELL is the perfect one-stop online display and mobile shop for clients who want to buy advertising space through premium direct (IO buys), preferred deals or private auctions. Reaching 6.1 million unique browsers, 31 million page views (Effective Measure: October 2016) and over 50 million ad impressions every month.

Publishers that form part of this offering include The Citizen, Woman and Home magazine, Caxton’s Local News Network (LNN) (+76 local news websites), All4Women and many more premium publishers.

ignition TARGET. is an offering run off an internationally recognised DMP (data management platform). It is a programmatic and direct audience (IO buys) solution providing advertisers with the opportunity to target unique audiences across a network of premium, news and lifestyle focused publisher websites. Advertisers have the option to target audiences based on their browsing behaviour as well as demographic targeting.

For more information about our ignition BUY. SELL or TARGET offerings please send an email to Ashleigh Footit on or call us on 010 492 8390