local media insider

French newspaper group launches SopenAds to support small businesses

The DIY portal lets small businesses design, buy and launch turnkey marketing campaigns


 Sud Ouest Publicité, a group of five French newspapers, has launched an innovative platform that allows small businesses to design, build and launch multi-media advertising - all DIY. 

The launch is a huge coup for the French company, its tech partner iPublish Media, and, if it works, for small businesses in France. Typically multi-media campaigns have to be manually crafted, either in-house by the newspaper's or another digital agency at cost prohibitive pricing, or by the SMB owner or employee who can spend hours designing graphics and placing ads on multiple channels.

Sud Ouest teamed up  with iPublish Media to build a  customized platform, white-labeled as Sopenadsto automate the entire workflow. Now a small business in any of the French cities served by these newspapers can design and purchase a mulit-media buy DIY in minutes without a sales rep, or design department involved.

Sud Ouest is also the rare newspaper company that also understands marketing. Their new campaign to market the programs is aimed at  “Artisans, merchants and small businesses”    and tells them that   “Marketing is child’s play” using Sopenads.

“We wanted to be able to offer discounted advertising incentives to small-to-medium-sized businesses as they recover from Covid-19,” said Katia Doublet,  Customer Relations Manager at Sud Ouest, headquartered in Bordeaux.

Sopenads now supports  5 print publications, including Sud Ouest, L’Eclair, La République des Pyrénées, Charente Libre, Dordogne Libre. 

The launch is not only a first for Sud Oest, but also for iPublish Media, the leader in self-serve advertising technology for media companies. It is their first AdPortal SMB installation in Europe, first site developed to meet  GDPR requirements, and first French/English language platform.  James Allen, Senior Sales Engineer at iPublish Media Solutions, explained that even the underlying AdPortal code and Publishing Platform were translated to French, requiring thousands of lines of code.

Advertisers can simply toggle a country specific flag to switch the language between French and  English.

The stylish Sopenads home page explains the program and starts the SMB advertiser through the sales funnel, a set of user-friendly choices:  Pick a template and design the ad, select a packages, choose targets and pay online. 

 A video on the home page  demonstrates how small businesses can create, schedule and purchase single and multi-channel targeted display ad campaigns  24/7 . 


The bundled ad packages offer a few simple combinations that include  1 or 2 column color print display ads, O&O digital display campaigns, targeted digital display and targeted Facebook campaigns. 

Then advertisers then select from 42 digital zones that align with 8 zoned print editions in Béarn, Charente Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, and Pays Basque. The Facebook interface even shows advertisers their potential reach based on duration and geo location. 

The  platform integrates with with the Sud Ouest advertising system, Ingenico billing system, and third-party platforms, Google Ad Manager and Facebook, so the entire workflow is automated, keeping prices low and margins for the newspaper higher.

Project managers from Sud Ouest who acted as co-creators of the site include Jean Bernard Fourthon in IT; Katia Doublet, Customer Relations Center Manager, Delphine Taillade, Interface Queen, and Christelle Laborde, Customer Success Manager. 

For iPublish, whose mission is  “Any Ad., Any Time., Anywhere" and who is a thought leader in the self-serve advertising media space, the launch is a huge leap forward. While the company has more than 700 self-serve newspaper platforms, including obituaries, real estate, and other verticals, it is just gearing up its AdPortal SMB initiatives in multiple markets , including a large Canadian newspaper chain still under wraps. It has yet to produce a clean case study that shows the metrics of the new revenue model: DIY marketing for any small business without a vericalized site.

Sud Ouest brings marketing gravitas to the initiative, a rare skill set in the newspaper world.

With the right tech partner and chops to sell the new revenue model to small businesses, Sud Ouest looks like it has a winner on its hands. Watch this space for the case study.