DATA DRIVES INSIGHTS

INSIGHTS INFORM

STRATEGY

As technology evolves and more people sign on, companies are committing increasingly more resources to meet the demands and possibilities that come with social media. The question is no longer which platform to use, but which are most effective to drive customer engagement – and translate into sales.

The South African Social Media Landscape Report 2021issued by media monitoring agency Ornico and independent technology market research company World Wide Worx – comprises feedback from South Africa’s leading voices in marketing, advertising and media. It draws insights from an industry survey of 111 participants and offers demographic, behavioural and usage statistics from more than 24,000 rural and urban participants.

What these numerous data points provide, is arguably the most in-depth perspective into online behaviour, trends, and the shifts currently unfolding in the space.

Notable platform changes

The Ornico report also tracked some of the notable changes that have been introduced to popular social media platforms and unpacked what these could potentially mean for users and businesses alike:

Twitter

The social network has prioritised giving new features such as its clubhouse-style audio room, called Spaces. The platform is also now focusing on the influencer and content creator space, recently launching its first subscription service called Twitter Blue, designed for users willing to pay a monthly fee for exclusive features.

Instagram

Instagram Live is fast becoming popular for both consumers and businesses to engage with their audiences. This feature has recently added support for an additional speaker during a live session, thus enabling a more natural, two-way conversation.

Facebook

The addition of Stories and the upcoming global release of Live Audio streams is likely to make an impact in the coming year. These multimedia-rich features add a new experience for users outside the traditional timeline. This, in turn, creates huge potential for advertisers on the platform.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the strongest platforms for advertisers, since ads play before, during, and after video content, with the potential of showing a viewer up to 5 ads in a 10-minute segment of video. For this reason, the platform can reach around 51.9% of South Africans with ads. It is also planning new monetisation tools, such as the "applause" feature that allows users to tip creators, and an integrated shopping tool to allow viewers to shop directly from channels they visit.

Data drives insights

insights inform

strategy

As technology evolves and more people sign on, companies are committing increasingly more resources to meet the demands and possibilities that come with social media. The question is no longer which platform to use, but which are most effective to drive customer engagement – and translate into sales.

The South African Social Media Landscape Report 2021issued by media monitoring agency Ornico and independent technology market research company World Wide Worx – comprises feedback from South Africa’s leading voices in marketing, advertising and media. It draws insights from an industry survey of 111 participants and offers demographic, behavioural and usage statistics from more than 24,000 rural and urban participants.

What these numerous data points provide, is arguably the most in-depth perspective into online behaviour, trends, and the shifts currently unfolding in the space.

Notable platform changes

The Ornico report also tracked some of the notable changes that have been introduced to popular social media platforms and unpacked what these could potentially mean for users and businesses alike:

Twitter

The social network has prioritised giving new features such as its clubhouse-style audio room, called Spaces. The platform is also now focusing on the influencer and content creator space, recently launching its first subscription service called Twitter Blue, designed for users willing to pay a monthly fee for exclusive features.

Instagram

Instagram Live is fast becoming popular for both consumers and businesses to engage with their audiences. This feature has recently added support for an additional speaker during a live session, thus enabling a more natural, two-way conversation.

Facebook

The addition of Stories and the upcoming global release of Live Audio streams is likely to make an impact in the coming year. These multimedia-rich features add a new experience for users outside the traditional timeline. This, in turn, creates huge potential for advertisers on the platform.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the strongest platforms for advertisers, since ads play before, during, and after video content, with the potential of showing a viewer up to 5 ads in a 10-minute segment of video. For this reason, the platform can reach around 51.9% of South Africans with ads. It is also planning new monetisation tools, such as the "applause" feature that allows users to tip creators, and an integrated shopping tool to allow viewers to shop directly from channels they visit.

According to the report:

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9 out of 10 strongly agree that social media has the potential as a tool to help their business grow

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77.5% of brands see social media as a core part of their marketing campaign; 50.5% use it for customer lead generation (sales), 36.9% see it as an effective public relations channel and 27% use it to lower the cost of communication

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The top three outcomes brands seek from social media include: Brand awareness (64%), Sales (35.1%) and Customer insights (31.5%)

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However, only 12.6% of brands believe that they have the optimal skill sets needed to leverage and manage social media effectively

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Nearly 3 in 4 businesses are using a team or agency to manage their social media

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1 in 5 major brands are spending more than R50,000 a month on social media advertising

The use of influencers is now an established market practise

Influencer Marketing Hub’s Research Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2021 projects that the influencer marketing industry will be valued at just under $14 billion by the end of 2021, clearly signalling that the use of influencers to drive campaigns is now an established practice. Interestingly, there was a major slow-down in influencer marketing spend in the early days of the pandemic (March – July 2020), but from August 2020, campaigns began to increase.

 

In South Africa, there are clear legislative guidelines governing the advertiser and influencer relationship, such as the South African Advertising Regulatory Board’s Social Media Code (2019). For example, it now enforces that any promoted posts be identified as such – by using terminology such as #AD, #Advertisement, #Sponsored. 

 

Something worth considering is whether authenticity; as the currency of influencers; will be affected by the influencers having to identify their content as paid-for, and are additional, more stringent regulations that govern sponsored content still to come?

Rise of digital fraud

Lockdowns drove traffic through digital channels, as consumers sought new ways of staying entertained, connecting with friends and family, and shopping. 


This growth coincided with an exponential rise in online fraud. An April 2021 report by TransUnion reveals that suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts against South African businesses increased by 43.62% when compared to March 2020, with 37% of South African consumers having recently been targeted by COVID-19-related digital fraud.

Chatbots and AI

The Ornico report reveals that the use of chatbots is steadily increasing. As software applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to understand what a human wants, chatbots guide them to their desired outcome with as little work for the end user as possible. 

Like a virtual assistant to attend to customer experience touchpoints, chatbots provide unique advantages such as offering audiences a more personalised experience, the ability to reach a wider audience, gather and analyse customer feedback and data, as well as move customers seamlessly through the sales funnel.

Create brand trust

Finally, the survey quizzed communicators on what type of social media strategies they are planning on implementing in the next twelve months. The top three responses were: Social media analytics (54.1%), Multimedia content (50.5%) and Cross-platform campaigns (46.8%). 

Continuing the dominance of analytic and content-driven strategies which has been the norm in previous years. While not included in the top three responses, the option of hiring agencies solely for social media is gaining popularity, as more marketers choose to outsource digital specialization and expertise. 

Eager to leverage and manage social media effectively to better understand your digital audiences and take your business to the next level? Send an email to info@eclipsecomms.com and one of our experts will be in touch.