Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

It’s no secret that mobile is becoming an increasingly effective means of communication, and many argue that mobile-first strategies are the only way forward for maximum reach and impact.  Of course, any strategic changes in this regard must be locally relevant, which is why Popimedia has commissioned an independent research agency to produce the “Digital Influence in South Africa” study. The findings have been combined with other publically available research.

What’s unique about the study is that it tracks consumer behaviour and how mobile and digital media affect consumers and their purchasing decisions in an environment that up to now has focused merely on usage trends.

The big take-out:

According to recent research it’s not yet time to abandon all media platforms in favour of a mobile-first approach, as consumers still seem to prefer a blended approach that covers the bases between the digital and physical world and provides a seamless experience across the consumer journey. 

The study says that 99% of South Africans now have mobile phones. It says that a tipping point is approaching where Internet connectivity and smartphone usage in Africa is set to increase dramatically in the next few years. The study also provides usage and trends information that may help direct marketers in terms of their mobile strategies. 

The research reveals that 77% of mobile users check their phones on waking, before they do anything else. It’s validation that a mobile-first approach is something to look into.

Gil Sperling, Popimedia co-founder and chief technology officer points out, however, that before marketers abandon all other mediums in favour of mobile, it’s important to note that the study reports that a blended approach of traditional media and digital media is likely to yield the most effective results.

Different platforms are used with different purposes along the consumer journey, he explains, adding that the research shows that more and more online and offline shopping experiences are becoming blended. Physical stores remain where most purchases take place, yet the online environment is where people do price comparisons, read reviews and research products. It is interesting that this often happens while the consumer is in the store, sometimes even standing in the queue.

Other insights revealed by the study are that while Generation Z (18-25 year olds) are happy to adopt in-store mobile payments, their millennial counterparts have not embraced this trend.

Relevance, resonance and personalisation are also key aspects of digital effectiveness, the study reveals. While the majority of people surveyed don’t mind being contacted by brands over social media, the messages must be relevant and personal.

The research suggests what we have known for some time – a holistic approach is the best way forward and the online and offline experiences must be seamless, creating a “no-line” environment that focuses on experience.

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