Opera—the software company whose claim to fame was its data-saving web and mobile browser—has launched OLeads to beef up its online advertising service in Nigeria.

OLeads, according to Opera, is an online lead generation platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Hence the name OLeads (a portmanteau of Opera and Leads), I guess. Business owners without prior programming or design knowledge can create a mobile landing page for their businesses using OLeads customizable templates. This gives their business online presence and increase awareness.

OLeads mobile sites templates

Sometime in August 2019, Opera launched OList—a classified ads platform. OList allows anyone intending to sell any goods or properties to create ads, which is reviewed by OList, and connect the seller to buyers. It is similar to Jiji, which acquired OLX Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya Tanzania and Uganda from Naspers, and the defunct Efritin. Can Opera succeed where Naspers and Saltside Technologies—the parent company of Efritin—failed?

It is important to note that while these two products—OLeads and OList—are distinctively different, they are strategically coordinated. They make Opera Ads more valuable and key into Opera's seemingly altruistic mission of supporting the digital transformation of Africa, and to be the de facto internet for the next generation of Africans.

Nigeria is undergoing a rapid digitalization with already more than 110 million people onboarded to the internet, and it is estimated to grow to 188 million people within the next four years. With OLeads, we are enabling millions of businesses to participate in this digital transformation, providing them a platform with user-friendly tools and a fast and easy way to come online, reaching Opera’s massive user base.

Per Wetterdal, Opera's VP of Global Business Development

Ad Money: Opera wants a share of your ad spend

Opera's foray into online advertising began in May 2019 with the launch of Opera Ads—its proprietary native online advertising platform. Opera Ads enables advertisers to target and engage with over 350 million people, including 120 million Africans, using Opera products, including the browsers and news app (Opera News).

Because most people spend as much as a quarter of their day online, it is only commonsensical that businesses, politicians and whoever needs to get people's attention advertise online. eMarketer—a data and research company—projects global online advertising will rise by 17.6% to $333.25 billion in 2019.

Companies such as Google and Facebook have been cashing-in on the billion-dollar industry, ranking atop as the largest digital ad sellers. While Google waited two years after it was founded to launch AdWords—its advertising service, Facebook supported itself with ad revenue from day one.

Preview of OLeads site

Opera is joining the ad party too. Although it does not pose a threat to the incumbent digital ad sellers yet, its aggressive expansion in emerging markets could see it become the biggest digital ad seller in Africa sooner than later.

Related: How Transsion conquered Africa to become biggest smartphone seller on the continent

Currently, Opera Ads can be served on three platforms, namely, Opera Mini, Opera for Android and Opera News. Recently, Opera News has been hiring a lot of journalists, content writers and creators, and influencers as it shifts from being a news aggregator to publishing original contents.

With the launch of OLeads, we are now helping more Nigerian businesses find their target audiences online. We have received very positive feedback from the SMEs we have on-boarded during the soft launch of the platform, and we are excited to now offer this service to millions of businesses in the country.

Per Wetterdal, Opera's VP of Global Business Development

Since creating OLeads account automatically create an Opera Ads account too, it presupposes that business owners will be able to promote their mobile sites through Opera Ads. Opera could also use  the information garnered through OLeads to improve its advertising service.