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Online Advertising is Growing in South Africa

by on June 27, 2010

The Internet – it’s everywhere, even in South Africa. South Africa is a moderately developed nation that is experiencing growth in the digital arena. My research led me to find two very important insights that could be used for businesses and companies of any magnitude. The first is the demographics of South African Internet users and the second is the growth of online advertising.

According to, one in nine South Africans use the Internet. This is a total of 4.59-million local web users, which represent approximately 10 percent of the population. also noted that in 2008, 58 percent of the users are males, with the majority of them being 18-29 years old. Seventy-nine percent of Internet users have some further education; 39 percent of Internet users have a household income over R150,000 and 18 percent have a household income over R400,000 (sawebstats, pg. 1). This information is important when creating targeted online advertising.

According to, online advertising spending increased 32 percent in 2008, reaching a total of R319-million, up from 2007 when online advertising spending was R240-million. The 2007 growth was 27 percent.

These two key insights are information gold mine for businesses and companies as they include digital strategies in their marketing communications plans. When people hear the term social media, they immediately think of creating Facebook and twitter accounts, and they forget that these sites also have online advertising opportunities. Online banner ads allow companies to reach out to their target audience wherever they are. Another way businesses can reach their target audience is by having a Google AdWords campaign, posting text ads on the highest viewed search engine sites. And since online ad spending is growing, it’s safe to assume, that there is a significant return on investment (ROI), because if not, this advertising sector would not be growing. Both strategies are low in cost, in comparison to traditional advertising, so companies and businesses can easily see a significant ROI.

The increase in online advertising and the demographics of the Internet users will help any company or business in South Africa as they get away from traditional advertising and expand into the digital arena. This information will help them target a specific audience, males ages 18-29, and will provide them with a different way to look at social media strategies. While Facebook and twitter accounts are good to have, there are other ways to leverage these sites, other than creating a page on each site. The Google AdWords campaign will be better used when there is a specific promotion taking placed or if the company wants their target audience to take a specific action.

*Please note: While this blog post talked about targeting males, businesses and companies can also target females using the same tactics. The only reason that men were the focus of the blog post is because they use the Internet more than women.


From → South Africa

  1. shinetteb permalink

    It’d be interesting to know whether females make most of the buying decisions for South African households as is the case with U.S. households. Here’s one of many posts on the topic:

  2. This post shares a good collection of statistics and starts to get at the underlying lesson for brands, yet sometimes when you have this many pure numbers it becomes hard to put it in context. Your point of view about what they all mean didn’t quite come through in this post – as you seem to say the numbers point to one conclusion about social media being good for reaching males 18-29, you also talk about reaching women and everything from banner ads to search marketing. Ultimately the point you seem to be making is that online advertising is growing in South Africa, but a clearer picture of where you feel the biggest opportunity is for brands would be the one thing that could help you get a stronger core message across with your post. (3)

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