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The 2016 Digital Marketing year in review

Research - Trends and Insights


- Bianca Quinn-Diavastos, Managing Director, 25AM

South Africa’s digital year was a big one in 2016 as marketing trends in this space continued to improve and grow. Here is a wrap up of the biggest developments over the past 12 months:


Mobile continued to dominate as the digital consumer platform of choice

According to Google, consumers check their phones on average 150 times a day. In fact, users are 74% more likely to use the internet through their smartphones as opposed to a tablet or a laptop. Right here at home, at least 92% of South Africans own a mobile phone and 69% of these are smartphones; indicating a massive potential reach for brands which are looking to expand and grow. Outside of internet based activities, videos and photographs remain the most popular features of mobile use.

Video shows massive growth in mobile Youtube consumption

In a world where video popularity shows massive growth, it is not surprising that Youtube has grown almost 70% year on year, while mobile Youtube consumption has expanded by 140%. It is clear though that consumers prefer shorter, snack-able pieces of content that are easy to watch and share. Most consumers use their mobile phone when they consume video and are often looking for quick answers to questions or a video that helps them solve a problem. Increasingly, social media platforms have integrated short video options and it has also become important to be able to convey this messaging through soundless videos. In fact, according to Digiday, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound as many consumers are often not in the appropriate environment for sound.  

Programmatic Media Buying grows dramatically

In 2016, 67% of all digital spend in the USA went to programmatic media buying and predictions are that this will increase even further to 75% in 2017.  At 25AM we continued to witness fantastic results with programmatic buying in creating both awareness and lead generation. This is one to watch for the coming year and something which brands should look at adopting as soon as possible.

Instagram dominates social media growth but Facebook remains the most popular platform

Instagram has witnessed the biggest growth of all social media platforms in 2016, expanding by 32% and now has 3.5 million active users in South Africa.  In 2016, 62% of brands are making use of Instagram compared to the 42% who were active on this platform in 2015.

In South Africa we have also seen that social media plays an increasingly prominent role in the public debate space, with online campaigns such as the #feesmustfall movement for example.  Facebook remains the most popular Social Media platform in South Africa however, with 14 million active users, while YouTube overtook Twitter and is now second with 8.74 million active users.

It has been a big year in the digital space with the continued optimization and improvement of marketing platforms. South African brands have embraced many new and exciting online innovations and we can’t wait to see what 2017 has to hold!


Bianca Quinn-Diavastos - Managing Director | 25AM
t: +27 11 549 6107  |  s: quinnbee1

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