Knowledge Bridge

Global Intelligence for the Digital Transition

Invest in audience measurement to keep track of changing market

In the early stages of a digital transition, the audience is often dominated by elites, (the well educated and the affluent), and the young, however, as new research in South Africa shows, as its digital market has developed, the audience has broadened, reaching down into the middle class and up to older South Africans.

The study revealed that “internet users (in the country) are mainly from the ‘working middle class’, as opposed to upper (as defined by living standards measures)”, Joanna Wright wrote in the Media Online. Internet penetration is still low in the country, with upper estimates standing at 35.2 percent, according to the Stats SA 2011 Census. The Census also looked at where South Africans had access, either at home, at work, via mobile phone or some other location. It is important to note that twice as many South Africans had access via mobile phones, 16.3 percent, than had access at home.

However, while internet penetration might be low, this new study by online research firm Columinate, which was commissioned by the Digital Media and Marketing Association in South Africa, shows that use is expanding beyond higher income levels.

The Columinate study also challenged another assumption about the digital market in South Africa, that it is predominantly young. The study found that 11 percent of users were over 50 years old, and most, 60 percent, were between 25 and 49 years old.

“(It’s) not necessarily a youth market. You are accessing South Africans who work, who have disposable income,” said Elna Smit of Columinate, the online research group responsible for the study.

And internet users in South Africa are well educated. The research found that 13 percent of internet users in the country have a degree, while only one percent of the total population has a higher education degree.

Publishers need to leverage data to woo advertisers

Research like this is key to helping you win over advertisers who might be sceptical about the reachReach1) unique users that visited the site over the course of the reporting period,…

“Marketers often complain that digital won’t give them the mass market, the bulk of South Africans,” Smit told Media Online, but added that advertisers need to look beyond simple reach. “You should be asking: What percentage of the people who spend on your brand are you reaching?” Smit said.

To win over advertisers, you need the data to answer this question. In the early days of the digital transition, audiences might appear small when compared to traditional media, but if you have effective audience measurementAudience MeasurementThe counting of unique users (i.e. audience) and their interaction with online…

You can begin your audience measurement work by investing in services such as ComScore, and you can also monitor your social media metrics using Facebook’s built in tools or other social media metrics tools such as Chartbeat. Data is becoming even more important to ad sales as even real-time bidding or programmatic buying reaches larger emerging markets such as Russia and Malaysia.

Even as you grow your audience, you will still need to make sure that you speak not just of the size of your audience but the income, age and geographic distribution of your audience. News publishers and broadcasters who invest in knowing their audience will find it easier to win over advertisers and compete more effectively against targeted advertising from search engines and social networks.

Article by Kevin Anderson

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