media update’s Aisling McCarthy attended the release of the results at The Creative Council in Melrose.

Digital marketing is a vital part of any marketing strategy nowadays. Emma Du Preez, marketing manager at Just Play, said that going digital has numerous advantages.

“The beauty of digital marketing is that everything can be measured. There’s a whole lot of data, and a whole lot of magic we can do with it.”

However, Du Preez says that the majority of information available is from an international market – especially from the United States. Although this information does have value, it does not offer a realistic yardstick against which to measure South Africa.

“We look for bigger data to see which trends are emerging, but in South Africa we only really have access to international statistics. It’s great to see where the market is going, but we also need information that is accurate to a South African market.”

Du Preez highlighted how using international information can often be misleading in South Africa, as, according to a survey, 83% of Americans use their cell phones as part of their shopping experience. In South Africa, though, this number is only at 47%.

Using information from Just Play, South Africa’s largest online competition website, the digital influence survey came to light. In order to enter online competitions, Just Play’s 1.5 million registered users have to complete surveys, giving them a large amount of South African-specific data.

The surveyed data came from users in LSM 7 and above, with 66% of the respondents being female, and 34% male. The majority of those surveyed were between the ages of 26 and 45.

The survey revealed that the majority of South African Internet users are only accessing it through one device, with 64% of them accessing through desktop. Although Du Preez said that in the coming years, she expects the number of multi-device users to grow vastly.

One of the most important finds from the survey was that 85% of respondents said that before purchasing a product, they would compare prices online, and 78% of users claimed to look for product or service reviews before purchasing.

“This information offers an opportunity for marketers to understand what South Africans are doing,” Du Preez said.

“They’re more savvy than we give them credit for. So as marketers, we can control the other content that is out there [about prices and reviews].”

Surprisingly, the survey found that 37% of people use their phones to find coupons or discounts while they are in store. Du Preez said this number was surprisingly high, but that undoubtedly it will continue to rise, with applications such as SnapnSave being created.

The research also displays that 68% of people take action after seeing an advert they like on Facebook, whereas only 17% would take action when on Instagram. Lisa Steingold, marketing manager of Popimedia, said that although Instagram has a far higher reach, Facebook has a far better rate of conversion to actual sales.

“We didn’t just want to understand the reach; we wanted to understand the people who are actually driven to buy something.”

Steingold ended the presentation by saying that although the percentages may seem low, it is important to understand that e-commerce is on the rise in South Africa, so those numbers are likely to increase.

Although not all purchases are made online, what the research did show is that when physically going in-store, a large portion of shoppers know exactly what they want, where they want it from, and exactly how much it will cost them.

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The digital marketing trend is here to stay, in South Africa and worldwide. Read more about it in our article, Five global case studies that prove digital marketing works