3rd Apr, 2020
2019 has come and gone, and it's very evident that the digital landscape in South Africa is “hotting” up. So what will 2020 have in store for us?
Internet stats are telling a super story, and the future is not all doom and gloom as lots of us often seem to think. South Africa is rife with opportunity if you are willing to embrace digital fully. Understanding how to engage with our ever-growing digital audience will be critical for all businesses in the future.
- South Africa has 31.18 million active internet users. More than half of our population is online. 54% internet penetration.
- We have 28.99 million active mobile internet users.
- South Africans spend an average of 8 hours and 32 minutes on the internet per day via any device
- The top 3 websites in South Africa based on average monthly traffic in 2019: Google.com, Facebook.com, Youtube.com.
To unpack this further, we need to consider what these top 3 websites actual functions are. Google is the globe's biggest search engine, and it has but one purpose, and that is to give people answers. This is then a clear indicator that tells me that most people in South Africa are using Google to find things.
Services, Products, and Information are what Google lives on. If you are not actively making sure your business is a contender for the search results google serves, then pack up shop and throw in the towel now—don't even continue reading this.
Half of our country is actively engaged online, so I don't understand why all small businesses in South Africa are not putting themselves out there.
A common misconception that I have encountered on several occasions with business owners is that if you have a website, then you are sorted... that's just not true anymore! A website with pretty pictures and five pages of copy explaining what it's all about is just not going to cut it.
1)Facebook - Facebook is the biggest social networking site. It’s the platform that makes it easy for you to connect and share with family and friends online. Being the second most visited platform in our country, tells us that South Africa is Social, and our people are sharing stories about their personal lives, their friends, and the brands and businesses that they want to engage with.
2)And then YouTube - The globe’s second biggest search engine that's entirely dedicated to Video. The third of the most visited sites in SA and as per the Google example, this also tells us all that we have a nation of information-hungry people who have a preference for Video Search.
Now that we have some context and a basic understanding of the size of the digital landscape in SA, we need to consider the following:
As a sample of one, I know that I use the web to look for information, and I'm willing to hazard a very educated and experienced guess, that if you are reading this, you have also used the web to look for information in the past or will do so in the future.
This is my whole point?
If you own, manage, or run and business, you should be producing content.
Why, you ask?
Because nowadays people gather information by reading and watching. When a person visits a company's website to get information about a particular product or service, best that company have all the relevant information on hand.
Educating a potential customer via informative content, in the form of the written word and/or videos will go a long way in turning that person from a prospect into a profit-generating customer transaction. Information ultimately drives sales.
Many people have heard that content is king. Still, most companies fail to create compelling foundational content and or content marketing campaigns that assist with organic traffic and educating the end-user.
Good content can connect any brand with a company's audience and creating it can be fun and cost-effective.
The most common type of content is written content, in any form, that is published to the web. Written content is searchable: For many online businesses, organic search is their primary source of traffic. Google loves content, so you have an advantage on search engines if you create written content that is indexed by Google and answers a possible search query. Written content is cheap to produce and requires less time than Video. Written content can also be updated, and it's possible to break it down into pieces and share it in multiple channels.
Videos tend to have more engagement than written content on most platforms. Users can watch videos passively, so there are more chances to watch a part of it and take some action like leaving a comment or sharing the Video. When you create a video, it is easier to communicate with your audience and explain anything you want. You can use the tone of your voice, facial expressions, and emotional music to create the feelings you want to the viewers. The result of effective communication is to build trust and relationships with your audience. Videos also allow you to get more conversions because you can show the product to the audience and evoke emotions that can motivate the viewers to take action. Many companies use videos on their sales page to get better results.
As more and more companies join the digital fold, it will become harder to compete for the attention of the end-user. Companies with integrated digital marketing strategies will outperform their competitors who remain in the dark ages, because they will win over the trust of Google and gain access to the millions of South Africans who are online.
Content will drive authenticity and trust with digital consumers.
We will see the rise of new platforms like TikTok that cater to unique audiences and disrupt some of the major platforms. Providing businesses with unique opportunities to engage in new ways.
Companies that get into the content game while it is still a relatively untouched landscape in South Africa, will have the best chance of surviving and remaining relevant in our digital future.
Companies that embrace content as part of the digital marketing mix, will win! The good news, is that if you can communicate with your audience through your content, you will get results. Content marketing works when people consume your content and fully understand your brand.
Content marketing is significant for every company that want to grow sales. If you are willing to create quality content regularly and share it on the internet, you can drive results.
Become the expert and educate people by telling them your story and why they should consider doing business with you vs. anybody else.
The digital wave has hit our land, and it's not a wave that is going to get smaller. It grows daily!
Brand Strategy and Creative Consulting Director.
Full report here!