Marshi - free data for ad interactions

Whether you turn the corner, turn online, turn the page or turn on the television you see advertisements spamming and luring you to buy their products. As an everyday occurrence, it’s interesting how we have come to ignore what happens around us.

Advertisers picked up on this in recent years and had to create more advertisements to get the same interactions and impressions. 

WhatIf Creative approached Effectify with an innovative idea where users will be rewarded for interacting with advertisements willingly. The vision was to reward users for meaningful interactions. This was in the form of answering a simple question correctly and being rewarded by receiving free data. 

Whatif Creative wanted a mobile browser where users can view advertisements free of charge. The data earned can be exchanged for electricity vouchers or used to surf using the Marshi browser.

The challenge

As Marshi would have to pay for the data, there was a dependency on mobile network service providers to supply the data to the clients. They had to supply it at no cost to the client.

There was also technical barriers that had to be overcome, including tracking all data, monitoring and reporting.

Planning and Solutioning

Effectify breaks down projects to four phases – Diagnostics, UI/UX, coding and project management, maintenance and enhancements. 

During the diagnostics phase, a blueprint was created. The diagnostics included:

  • The goals of the project (technical and business),
  • Third party integrations – identification, risk analysis and requirements gathering
  • Solution risks
  • Skills and resources requirements, 
  • Technological/architectural choices based on the technical requirements
  • How to allow the client to do troubleshooting themselves 

Our client, a design agency,  supplied the user interfaces with a high fidelity mockup. Adobe XD was used to implement the process flows and details on how the app should function. 

During the coding phase, we started with adding infrastructural code. This included tracking, analysis and logging to make any bug tracking in future simpler and more effective. 

With the blueprint in place, we were able to break down features in bite-sized chunks. This enabled us to establish the weakness in our solution – third party API and network integrations.

Effectify was able to find solutions for weaknesses that were critical to the success of the project.      

The coding process

We communicated with the client on a regular basis through weekly progress meetings and project through demos.

Although it was requested to launch earlier with the solution, Effectify took it in its stride to prioritise the core functions and complete them. 

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Marshi was launched a month early and had a takeup of 10 000 people within the first month. 

With a selection of dashboards and reports, the client is able to monitor the health of their business with a quick glance. Reports allow the client to give specifics on takeup, ad performance and interactions and cost. 

With more features being added monthly, the door has been opened for the commoditization of data – allowing people to exchange data for electricity, vouchers and other products.

As the dataset grows with the userbase and interactions, the client can in the near future start with data mining to understand customer interactions on certain products, services and brands.  


In an everchanging world we need to be ready for disruptive innovation. 

The commoditization of data is ground breaking and unheard of in the South African market.

And now you can buy the things you need with data – and the data did not cost you anything.

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