The 2018 Digital Trends in South Africa report, based on the eighth annual trends survey conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, looks at the most significant trends that will impact South African companies in the short to medium term.

The research is based on a sample of almost 230 digital professionals based in South Africa who were among around 13,000 respondents taking part in the annual Digital Trends survey.

The following sections are featured in the report:

  • Current state of digital maturity
  • Customer journeys are the priority as channel choice increases
  • Social media remains king but content is chasing the throne
  • Design-led thinking impeded by a lack of internal process and tech
  • The future is personalised, but not yet automated
  • Fit for the future: five areas South African marketers should focus on

Findings include:

  • Perceptions of digital maturity may have become more realistic.  Only 12% of companies claimed to be digital-first this year; a drop on last year’s 17%. Compared to last year, respondents are less likely to describe their organisations as design-driven, with those responding as such dropping to 54% from 69% last year.
  • Optimising journeys across channels is a priority, but it’s hindered by technology. Optimising the customer journey across multiple touchpoints is the most important factor for companies responding to the survey: the vast majority (83%) said this was ‘very important’ to their digital marketing over the next few years.
  • Mobile focus does not yet equal mobile traffic. South Africa is mobile-led, with over 75% of internet traffic coming from mobile. However, only 9% of companies said mobile optimisation was a top priority for 2018, compared to 20% of agencies.
  • Social media remains a focus as companies optimise their content efforts. Social media engagement is the top digital related priority for companies and agencies in 2018, selected by 27% and 39% respectively. Seven in ten (71%) company respondents see ‘optimising creative workflows to facilitate the rapid creation and deployment of content across multiple platforms’ as very important for CX success over the next year.
  • Use of emerging technology remains a distant future for the majority. South African companies are, relative to their international peers, more likely to be using artificial intelligence, though this group is still the minority (20%). Almost half have no plans to use AI, due to a lack of knowledge and resource (42% each), while a larger proportion (47%) haven’t put thought into how they could use the technology in their business.

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