Digital marketing in South Africa: Consumers ditching TV for mobile and web

Technology & Convergence

South Africans are reading fewer newspapers and magazines and watching less TV because they are spending more time online, according to a new study.

The research, from the Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA), also indicates that three out of four South Africans access the internet on their mobile phones.

The DMMA conducted the quantitative survey among 2232 South Africans between 21 September and 5 October 2012, to help advertisers understand South African online consumers better.

The survey found that the majority of internet users, which totalled up to 95%, use the internet mostly for emailing, followed by 84% who use it for internet browsing and thereafter a total of 78% use it for social networking. The findings also revealed that three out of four South Africans access the internet on their mobile phones which shows how easily we are able to gain access to the internet.

When focusing specifically on social networking, the study asked which social network was most commonly used. 88% of the participants stated that they were active members of Facebook, compared to 50% who are active members on Twitter. The study also revealed that one in five users spend more hours a day on Facebook than any other social network.

Jarred Cinman, last year’s Deputy Chair of the DMMA and its newly appointed Director and Chair of the Steering Committee, says: “We undertook to assess the state of the online and digital landscape so that we could offer advertisers viable avenues through which they could enhance engagement with consumers.”

Key findings from the report are below:

Media use:

The majority of internet users (95%) used the internet mainly for email, followed by web browsing (84%) and social networking (78%), with respondents citing their home as their preferred location to access the internet. The most popular browser proved to be Internet Explorer (63%), followed by Google Chrome (40%). In terms of users who access the internet via their mobile phones, three out of four said they do so every day. When users were asked the question: “Does the internet displace other media?” users responded with a resounding “Yes”. It was revealed that newspapers were used 62% less, followed by magazines (59% less). Television and radio were also impacted, albeit to a lesser extent, with a 45% and 28% decline in audience attention respectively.

Online Advertising:

59% of users found adverts placed on websites most relevant to their needs, followed by social networks (36%), with mobile applications (3%) and mobile sites (2%) being least relevant. The majority of users also found adverts on websites more noticeable than those on applications, and graphical adverts (images and animation) were found to be most attractive.

Social Networking:

Unsurprisingly, of those who were surveyed that made use of social networks, Facebook proved to be the most popular, with 88% admitting they were members. This was followed by Twitter (50%) and business networking site LinkedIn (36%). 72% of users follow brands on social networks, and 60% of the content created by page members or followers about brands was said to be positive. It was found that positive comment had greater impact than negative comment on other users potentially looking for more information on a brand. It was also revealed that one in five users spent five or more hours a day on Facebook.

Online Shopping:

After five years of internet use, respondents were 50% more likely to shop online, and of those that did not shop online, concern regarding security was the primary reason given. 45% of users that shopped online in 2012 admitted to spending more than the previous year.

“By collecting this information we hope to provide a more comprehensive perspective of the online consumer and gain a deeper understanding of the potential of the market, therein assisting our members in utilising these channels effectively,” says Cinman.

The full report is available to DMMA members free of charge and to non-DMMA members at a cost. Contact info(@) for more information.