Pakistan's first auction-based ad tech system - adopted by Coca Cola, P&G, Unilever and More

October 20, 2022

2 min read
Quick Commerce
Sponsored Listings

Integration time (days)


Largest single campaign commitment


Average ROAS of early vendors

In just 2 weeks, Pakistan’s quick commerce leader Airlift launched a full-scale ad platform using Topsort and created a new revenue stream for their marketplace. Through Sponsored Listings and Banner Ads, Airlift vendors saw an average Return on Ad Spend up to 15x

“Topsort has enabled me to have a career in ads and for which I’ll be forever grateful. From studying its API, I learned about auction-based advertising and have built a business unit from the ground up which I enjoyed so much. It's truly breaking the barriers and leading the next-generation of customer friendly retail media solutions.”

Meeran Sheikh, Advertising at Daraz (Ex-Airlift)

Airlift Express is one of Pakistan’s pioneers in online consumer delivery service that offers instant delivery services. They pivoted from transportation to quick commerce and last mile delivery. Since 2019, Airlift has quickly gained primary market share in the sector and took APAC and the world by storm with their $85M series B funding!

This Pakistan-based quick commerce behemoth had 30 dark stores and availability of thousands of products including top CPG brands such as Coca Cola and Unilever.

2020 was a boon for customers purchasing groceries online for the first time, with a 42.6% increase of buyers year-over-year. Globally, the pandemic accelerated this growth with customers valuing convenience and speed. 

Choosing an infrastructure partner to scale with 

Scaling rapidly, Airlift sought new ways to monetize on their platform. They went through a round of very thorough evaluation and use case scenarios with Topsort in both product and engineering assessment. From a period of several months, Topsort’s team showed persistence and warmth in our customer-first approach in answering their questions and walking them through our unique first-principle engineering approach. 

With Topsort’s easy API integration that only requires 3 pieces: catalog, /events and /auctions - integration was quickly under its way when the commercial decision was made. The entire Airlift team was convinced and excited about the prospects of a scalable native media solution that has both intuitive user interface and scalable set of APIs that are constantly adding new features to itself. Ad revenue for Airlift was already seeing growth with Airlift’s in-house tech stack in setting up a manual flow of banners and promotions. With Topsort, the main goal of the team is to scale and automate the flow quickly to all of its CPG partners.

The potential of offering on-site ads to their vendors, including both managed and self-service model were an instant hit and total game changer. Airlift’s team was able to integrate with Topsort in just weeks. Integration was a breeze! The Topsort team set up a joint Slack channel that was closely monitoring and closely answering any questions that might come out of the integration and daily syncs. Topsort’s product helped scale Airlift’s on-site offerings from Sponsored Listings to Banner Advertisements on category and search pages, as well as on the homepage. Airlift was able to render auction winners in as little as 10ms with no UI slow down for their users!

“It’s been truly an honor working with the Topsort team. Support was exceptional from the Topsort team; they were always ready to hop on a call to resolve any issues.”
- Syed Abdul Aala , Senior Software Engineering 

“Thank you! It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Topsort team. The support that [the Topsort engineering team] gave was phenomenal!”
- Shahbaz Ali Shueb, Engineering Manager 

The Results: Vendor Commitment & Revenue Increase

As integration was ongoing the commercial conversations with the brands and vendors started - due to the unique ecommerce landscape of Pakistan and the scale of Airlift, Topsort’s account management team developed a set of unique approaches to the agencies, brands, and distributors in the country and helped set commercial targets with the team. ​​Airlift integrated with Topsort as an ad infrastructure provider to serve on-platform advertisements to their vendors, creating a new stream of revenue for the marketplace. In the first quarter after the launch, Airlift achieved $130,000 USD in commitments from vendors!

Operating with a managed service model, Airlift vendors early to use the Topsort platform saw an average return on ad spend (ROAS) of 15x. The Airlift team was able to aid their vendors in steady state returns at upwards of 4x. 

"It's been an absolute pleasure working with the Topsort team. Thank you for being true partners every step of the way."
- Faizan Athar, Product Manager 

The quick commerce and grocery delivery industry is said to grow to $123.85 B by 2026 with accelerated growth in APAC. Busy and time-pressed customers are leading this growth in APAC with 54% of the growth coming from this region. 

Airlift’s early traction in Pakistan is a window into the future for how quickly commerce will play out in APAC.

Interested in self-service advertising tools or running auction-based native ads? Topsort’s got it all. We provide you a customizable solution and an amazing team that helps you advertise the way you want to. Talk with us today!