There is a newer version of this report available: Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2018 Digital Trends in South Africa

The 2017 Digital Trends in South Africa report highlights the key digital trends, challenges and opportunities which South African marketers need to be aware of during 2017, covering topics ranging from customer experience and social media marketing to mobile and artificial intelligence.

The research, conducted by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, is based on data from almost 250 South Africa-based respondents who were among more than 14,000 digital professionals taking part in the seventh annual Digital Trends survey, carried out in November and December 2016.

The following sections are featured in the report:

  • Striving for digital maturity as nation catches smartphone bug
  • Social media and brand building are top priorities
  • Future of the customer experience
  • Fit for the future: three key areas South African marketers should focus on

Findings include:

  • Companies strive for integrated approach to digital marketing activities. Around a third of in-company respondents say their businesses are either digital-first (17%), or that digital permeates all their marketing activities (15%). Asked about their clients, agency respondents are significantly more likely than their client-side counterparts to say that digital marketing is very much separate (30%), and correspondingly less likely to say their clients are digital-first (only 1%).
  • Agencies are more focused than their client-side peers on how mobile is changing the business landscape as South Africa transitions from being a feature phone nation to a smartphone nation. More than three-quarters (77%) of supply-side respondents report that understanding how mobile users research/buy products is ‘very important’, 17 percentage points higher than for company respondents (60%).
  • Customer experience and cross-channel marketing are major areas of strategic focus. Almost nine in ten (89%) South African companies say that CX is one of their top-three strategic areas of priority for 2017, including 58% who make it their first choice. They are 54% more likely than their international counterparts to rank cross-channel marketing as their first choice (20% versus 13% for the rest of the world).
  • Companies are embracing the burgeoning marketing opportunity afforded by social platforms, with social media engagement and brand building / viral marketing sharing first place in terms of tactical priorities for businesses in South Africa. More than a third of respondents (37%) say these tactics are among their top three priorities.

Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by Adobe, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.