Kijiji adds hyper-local focus to national Autos campaign

Ten months into the launch of the vertical, the e-commerce site is zeroing in on communities, both geographical and interest-based.

After making a play for broad awareness, Kijiji Autos is now pivoting to focus on sponsorship.

Natalie Cunningham, head of brand marketing for Kijiji, explains its new media buying strategy to MiC. “We’re still in launch mode,” she says, referring to the ongoing efforts to introduce Canada to the Kijiji Autos vertical. The service went live in January, and the first half of the year was focused on mass media to introduce Canadians.

The second stage, which kicked off this past October, has Kijiji going more local with some ads, and more niche with its targeting through sponsorships. “We’ve really focused on communities – communities being geographic, but also in terms of interest-based communities.” The media strategy is to align closely with sports, having renewed its sponsorship with the Raptors for a second year. Kijiji has also added a sponsorship with the Ottawa Senators, and will be integrated as a sponsor into the upcoming CFL Grey Cup playoffs.

It’s also continued on with its national digital media buys. But, Cunningham says, as “families and dealers are moving inside,” Kijiji has added hyper-local, community-based sponsorships for the first time.

Kijiji has tested the local waters previously, sponsoring junior-league hockey in Quebec (although this was for the broader Kijiji brand and not Kijiji Autos). Cunningham says this generated “high brand recall” and was an overall success. Now, she says, it’s expanding that hyper-local mandate across Canada. Besides the major markets – Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and other big metropolitan areas – it’s also targeting community arenas in mid-sized cities such as Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Halifax, Winnipeg and Regina.

Sports are an easy alignment, says Cunningham, because they’re broad enough to ensure that the ads get plenty of eyeballs but still have something that “communities feel a deep connection to.” Because auto dealers are common sponsors of sports at a local level, she says, the local arena strategy makes sense in context.

Although Kijiji works primarily with its media AOR MediaCom, the sports sponsorships were executed by CloudRaker, which has handled Kijiji’s sponsorship spend in the past. The local buys will extend until the end of December, while other national sponsorships are set to go into the spring of 2020, depending on how the regular seasons shape up.