June 1, 2021 [cresta-social-share]

How to leverage Digital in 2021

Wetpaint Strategic Marketing Insights: 7 Ways to leverage the digital opportunity in 2021

1. The rise and rise of online usage in South Africa

Worldwide lockdowns saw many people connected to the internet for the first time in 2020, and according to a study conducted by Hootsuite, 24-37% of users plan to continue with their new online behaviours even post Covid-19. Having said that, it’s easy to just get swept up in ideas or assumptions that seem to be playing out before us. You need to ascertain between what’s hype and a passing fad and what will actually be beneficial to invest in for your business, in 2021. We focus on the bottom line and bring you our findings and top opportunities in the 2021 digital landscape, and what you should consider to help your business grow.

2020 vs 2021 Internet user statistics in SA

Thanks to lockdown, the number of internet users in South Africa increased by 1,7 million (4,5%) in Jan 2021 vs. Jan 2020; Here are some interesting insights:

  • 2020/1 saw a shift in people spending more time on their mobile phones than they do watching TV – if you’re not advertising digitally, you’re going to be left behind by the competition.
  • Many South Africans have more than one phone, and 98% of internet users own a smart phone – the high number of smartphones give advertisers increased opportunity to advertise to and target consumers by device and age group.
  • On average per day, users spend 10 hours on the internet, the global average is only 6 hours. In-fact, South Africa has one of the highest recorded average daily time spent on the internet, and is ranked second in the world, in terms of the highest number of users accessing the internet via a mobile phonethis presents a massive opportunity for brands to be noticed online. If you’re not yet advertising digitally, contact us for a free consultation.
  • Google, YouTube, and Facebook are the most visited websites, and in December 2020 alone, they had a combined total of over 500 million visits, with each visit averaging 21 – 35 minutes long. Wouldn’t you want your brand to be ranked in the top Google searches?
  • Search engines rank the highest in terms of channels where users go to research brands, with 70% of users indicating that they mainly use this platform.
  • There is an equal number of people online above the age of 27 in SA, as there are below the age of 27. This means businesses have a great and unprecedented opportunity to reach the young online community and should look at how they can serve these individuals. Read more about the South African consumer here.

Need an online strategy but don’t know where to start? Contact us now for a free consultation.

2. Social media – now the second-most used channel for brand and product discovery

Remember Mxit? Social media has come a really long way in our country. Previously what was simply a messaging platform, is now one of the most used platforms for digital marketing. In fact, worldwide South Africa now ranks second in terms of countries surveyed that have users who discover new brands and products on social media. This is massive.

Here’s why you need to leverage social media in 2021:

  • 47% Of internet users discover new brands or products from ads on social media (only second after TV advertising), and 34% of users from recommendations or comments.
  • South Africans are spending about 3 hours per day on social media platforms. The worldwide average is 2h 25, so we have an opportunity in this country to reach our potential audience on social media, with a targeted social media strategy.
  • South Africa’s most used social platforms are WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube in that order, and Facebook Messenger is on the rise as a platform many engage in.
  • The number of social media users rose by 3 million, up 14% from Jan 2020 to January 2021. That means a total of about 25 million users countrywide are on social networks. To put that into perspective, we can say 41% of our population is on social media. How about your brand? And we don’t mean simply opening up a Facebook account and hoping for the best.

Do you have a winning social media strategy that will see you nurture raving fans and convert browsers into leads? Did you know that when advertising digitally you can get very granular about your targeting? We can target people by location, age, device type, job title, interests to name but a few. This is readily available on digital media and is easy to track and measure. Contact us for a social media audit and strategy development.

3. The e-commerce bubble has ballooned, and is here to stay – here’s why

Since its introduction about 40 years ago, e-commerce has helped categories in B2B and B2C drive traffic and generate leads. When the world closed up shop in 2020, e-commerce shifted into a new gear. But how consumers shop online is set to change. With the help of new technologies, improved internet accessibility and added security, we see e-commerce on the rise in 2021 and here are our top 4 reasons why:

  • South Africa saw an increase in 21% of adoption in e-commerce.
  • There are now over 21 million users in our nation purchasing goods via the internet.
  • The total value of the consumer goods e-commerce market grew by 24,1% 2020/2021 compared to a 1,7% growth in 2019/2020.
  • 70% Of 45–54-year-olds reported purchasing a product in the past month – this is the highest recorded percentage across the age groups.

If that doesn’t convince you to jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon, all we can say is, you could be sharing in the reported US $4 billion worth value of the consumer goods market (as at Jan 2021). Contact us at Wetpaint, we’re a leading e-commerce Website Design Company based in Johannesburg. We’ll help you design and develop fast, reliable, and effective websites with mobile-ready storefront and integration with some of the leading technologies out there – from Shopify to WooCommerce, we’ll take care of everything for you.

4. Is content still king, or is content dead?

Content marketing is so popular, that many have forgotten – or never really knew – what it’s really about. For a refresher, you can read all about the fundamentals of content marketing here.

Many say content is dead, influencers and storytelling are now the way for 2021. While we agree, we disagree at the same time. Let me explain.

When talking about your integrated marketing plan, content usually features in some way or form. From leading video content, to emailers, websites, infographics and more, content is used widely by leading media communications agencies – like us to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action for our clients. In our opinion, when we generate so many leads from winning content marketing that convert into sales – then content is still king! It just has to be well thought out.

However, where we do agree, is clickbait is out, and value is in. Just because TikTok experienced growth of gargantuan proportions, doesn’t mean you should simply rush to add video content on this platform, or spend thousands of precious rands, curating video that may not be relatable. Sadly, if your content strategy does not align with your brand goals, your content could very well die a sudden death, even if you are on the leading video content platform.

Here are our 4 recommendations to make sure your content strategies reign supreme in 2021:

  1. As internet usage continues to rise, companies must rethink the type of readers or customers they are trying to attract and build the kind of site that people come back to over and over. Afterall, they want your wisdom on topics they find of interest, and don’t just want hard sales.
  2. Users can spend an average of 30 minutes on a search engine looking for a particular topic, they need to get value for their time. Ideally, your content is creating a community of people who feel positively about you and want to purchase your exclusive content or product. No-one will spend their time on content that’s of no value.
  3. Craft value and content that will stand out amongst the vast knowledge pool, that is the internet! Create a content strategy that appeals to your audience and ensure to have the applicable call-to-action at the right time, to increase your leads. Like this:
    Don’t know how to create a content plan or how to integrate it with your other marketing activities? Contact Wetpaint – we’re a full service B2B agency that will help build a strategic and integrated marketing and communications strategy to drive leads and sales. Find out more here
  4. Avoid the 5 steepest struggles in content marketing

5. The 1 significant way SEO marketing changed in 2020, and where it’s going this year

Google is known for changing its algorithms to keep SEO marketers on their toes. A significant change was introduced in 2020 that you need to know about – however, this time, it’s not, just another algorithm change in the rankings.

In 2020, Google placed a growing emphasis on “answers”, its purpose – to provide internet users with quick and easy solutions (answers) to their search queries, without users having to search through websites. This included featured snippets and collated information from the web.

So, if you’re a company who wants to gain both visibility and clicks on Google, this could present you with new challenges. You need to win a coveted answer spot – which has the benefit of higher CTRs, yet leads to more nuanced keyword research. You’ll need a good chunk of on-page optimisation to get to that spot! Smart marketers are learning to take advantage of Google Answers for increased visibility in 2021.

While we can explain the fundamentals of SEO, a deeper understanding of website analytics is involved to stay on top of all those 2020 SEO trends well into 2021 and beyond. Take advantage of our SEO expertise, improve your website rankings, and drive new visitors to your website, get in touch with Wetpaint today.

6. The Impact of user privacy – do South Africans really care?

Think Facebook v Apple iOS14 update! This has been widely publicised with advertisers like Facebook scrambling to court to get much needed data to serve targeted personalised ads. The issue according to Facebook – Apple will begin to require that all apps in the App Store show a discouraging prompt to users on iOS 14 devices, in accordance with their App Tracking Transparency framework. This will likely lead to a drop in some audience sizes and data tracking. However, to circumvent this, Facebook have implemented many features to assist social media marketers like us, such as statistical data modelling.

As digital citizens leave a breadcrumb trail of personal data behind them every day online, and as online usage, and recent scandals on privacy increase, users have become troubled. In 2021, South Africa is ranked 6 in the world in terms of countries with the most users who have expressed concern about misuse of information on digital. This is just one of the consumer shifts we have observed regarding data privacy.

Smart companies, who want to dominate their competitors, will have to nurture the new relationship between consumers and their online privacy. POPI compliance, transparency and adherence to privacy and other digital media policies is key in 2021.

Find out how to dominate your competitors and gain quality leads here

7. 8 Top 2021 marketing predictions from the digital powers that “be”

A lot has changed in a year and one of the largest trends worldwide is an increase in online media consumption. For instance, if your business heavily relied on events, you’d be familiar with the need to quickly pivot and adapt your strategy so your business can operate and thrive in a time where large gatherings are not allowed. Here’s what we believe we will see in 2021:

  1. With such a growing increase in the number of internet and social media users in South Africa, brands will need to get their digital marketing strategies into high gear, to ensure they’re not left in the cold.
  2. In 2021, brands will need to harness emerging tools and formats to foster creativity and participation on social media.
  3. Mark Zuckerberg says – and we agree – that messaging is the foundation of Facebook’s future. “It’s no surprise that the fastest growing ways we’re communicating online are private messaging, and in small groups, and stories. A private social platform can start to become the centre of your social experience. That’s why I believe that the future is private. This is the next chapter for our services.” With WhatsApp as the top social platform, and Facebook Messenger on the rise in 2021, brands should consider personal one-on-one interactions with their customers.
  4. Using influencers sourced from reputable influencer marketing companies should be considered as the primary goal when seeking a leading influencer campaign. Recent backlash with regards to influencers shows that brands will need to be careful about who they partner with and why. People want more than just a pretty face, and these influencers need to prove themselves valuable to be in people’s feed.
  5. Certain games like Fortnight, have become social platforms in their own right! Gaming communities are transforming into social networks designed around online video games. In 2021, savvy digital brands, will have to consider building meaningful brand moments that exist entirely within these games.
  6. According to Hootsuite, using social media to recover revenue lost due to the pandemic will be a high priority in 2021. Its best however, to use social to reconnect with your audience, and provide leading customer experience.
  7. 2020 Was a tipping point for baby boomers in digital media and e-commerce. Online marketing agencies, and companies, should diversify how they reach this increasingly digitally savvy and lucrative audience.
  8. With more consumers set to shop online, and brick-and-mortar down in many locations, a new competitive frontier will make its presence known in retail. With more activity online, the competition will be just a click away. It will be harder for brands to stand out, and to guide their customers to the products they want.
  9. Strong marketers, and CEOs, will use intelligence gathered by their social teams and agencies, to help their company adapt to the new buyer believes whilst balancing the demands of building a business.

If you’ve read all the way to here, we know that you’re serious about leveraging the best digital opportunities for your company, but you may be wondering how, or where to start. Fortunately, you don’t have to suddenly enrol in digital marketing courses to figure out where to go from here. Wetpaint is a leading, full service, digital advertising agency, and we can assist you with all your awareness and lead generation campaigns, to help grow your business.

Whether you don’t have a clue where to start, or you’ve set out your goals and know exactly who you want to target, we can assist with every aspect of your digital marketing campaign. From targeting individuals, by device and location, writing content that encourages and tracks app installs, we can reach your targeted audience wherever they are, to assist you to reach your goals. Contact the best digital advertising agency today.

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