Online media and billboard advertising marketplace in Malaysia

Cutting out middlemen seems to be a common concept that many startups are grappling with these days as demand for more affordable access to the end product increases.

Sharing the same sentiments, the Adwork team arrived at a flash point and thought, why not cut the middleman for the advertisers?

98.5% of businesses in Malaysia are SMEs, which is almost a million of them. Yet we don’t see as much representation of SMEs on large scale advertisements like billboards, radio, TV, movies, etc. compared to large organizations.

“This is largely caused by a lack of awareness, fear of high costs and the complexity of booking an ad through a media agency or the media owner directly. In addition, SMEs with a small budget (less than 10,000 RM) will hardly be entertained by news agencies, ”Kumaresh Visvanathan, CEO of Adwork, told Vulcan Post.

Connect SMEs directly to media owners

Adwork, in simple terms, is akin to Lazada for any form of advertising. This is a marketplace where media owners can choose which media packages they want to purchase and advertise with.

This idea is the brainchild of media industry veterans Sivanathan and Beverly, with Kumaresh as CEO and Elaia as their CTO.

Say if you want to make an ad reservation, you’ll simply head to their site, choose your price range, select the gender, language, and age range of your target audience, and you’re good to go.

That being said, since you wouldn’t be in touch with a media agency to develop your advertising, you would have to rely on your own creativity or outsource someone to work on your advertising with you. In other words, you will have to prepare yourself.

On their site, some advertising space includes TGV Cinemas, TV3, New Straits Times,, Astro Talk Show, as well as billboards around Bukit Bintang, Times Square, etc.

“We have integrated almost 95% of the mainstream media owners on Adwork, including Media Prima, Astro, The Star, BigTree, etc.,” Kumaresh said.

Know your audience through ads

In addition to these large scale ads, they always have social media ad packages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Spotify and more. You will also be able to get analytics and insights from these advertisements within the platform, similar to what you would get by working with a media agency that typically provides this as well.

One thing to note though is that their products are set as stated on the site and you can’t much customize the duration of an ad, start and end date of an ad, etc. Kumaresh compares its products on the market to those of “ready-to-use” products.

When you book through a media agency, you will normally have to pay a commission of around 15% if you hire them for campaign planning, management and acquisition. On the other hand, Adwork charges a 5% commission for each transaction.

Since its inception in December 2019, the Adwork team has made 40 bookings for a total of over RM1 million in revenue, the biggest deal they have facilitated to date being a 6 month digital billboard that has cost RM180K.

Some of the display work they did for their clients / Image Credit: Adwork

A range of prices for businesses of all sizes

Adwork offers static and digital billboards with the cheapest priced at RM 2,660, and prices can go up to RM 100,000 per month, depending on your choice of location and the size of your billboard. display.

But generally most of the digital billboards you will pass through in Klang Valley like Bukit Bintang, Times Square, Jalan Bangsar, Sultan Ismail, etc. all cost around RM20,000 per month.

Currently, the most affordable ads you can get through Adwork can be found on news media sites like SME Daily, NST, Berita Harian, etc. Social media plans like TikTok and Twitter cost around RM2,000 per month, while Facebook and Instagram cost around RM4,000 per month.

A direct competitor would be AdEasy, although based on our observations Adwork is able to personalize the ads immediately to your preferences. For example, an SME can first choose its budget, the target sex of the ad, the target language and the target age group, and the results will be given according to these filters.

On the other hand, AdEasy currently only allows users to browse major categories like website, TV, movie, or billboard, for example, to choose what suits their needs. However, if you already know which media company you want to advertise with, you can simply research them.

Capture the US $ 12 billion market in SEA

According to Kumaresh, Adwork has nearly 2,000 SMEs registered on their platform and 42 media owners to choose from. Currently, the estimated size of the SME advertising market is US $ 1.2 billion for Malaysia, and they have captured around 1% so far.

However, Adwork plans to go regional to capture more SME advertising markets in SEA countries, which total up to $ 12 billion, including Malaysia. Prior to regional expansion however, they plan to reach 1,400 transactions worth RM6 million in the total reservation value.

To do this, they aim to raise RM2 million in their ongoing pre-series A funding round on pitchIN. The total equity offered will be 10% and their minimum fundraising goal for this round is RM500,000.

“We want to make everyone a media owner, literally. The next platform will allow anyone with an asset to own a media, including someone who wants to use their back as media and walk around the city. “

Kumaresh Visvanathan, CEO of Adwork

  • You can read more about Adwork here.
  • You can read more about their fundraising on pitchIN here.

Featured Image Credit: Kumaresh Visvanathan, CEO of Adwork

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