In April 2019, we ran an online survey with Meraki Research and it uncovered some fascinating results. For this blog post, for instance, we overlaid our respondent’s age groups with the channels that they prefer to receive promotions on (they could choose more than one). What are the preferred promotional channels by age in South Africa? Here are the results:

Research: The Best Marketing Channels by Age in South Africa | Everlytic | Email marketing platform

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What the Results Mean

Here’s what we’ve assessed from this graph:

  • Email Marketing Wins in Every Age Group

That long blue line you see in every age group? That’s email marketing. It shows that between 83% and 90% of all respondents prefer receiving promotions via email. This suggests that email is the bread and butter of promotional channels. Everlytic anyone?

  • SMS and Facebook Promotions Come Second

SMS and Facebook ads are neck and neck in this race, with 38% to 50% of all age groups preferring promotions on these channels. This suggests that both are great secondary promotional channels – especially if you integrate them with email (like using crowd social proof in email).

Today’s consumers aren’t one-dimensional – your promotions shouldn’t be either. Try an integrated, cross-platform approach with email and SMS and see what a difference it makes to your ROI. Read more on our Email vs SMS Infographic.

  • WhatsApp is Preferred by People Over 36

WhatsApp comes in at a consistent fourth place for all age groups except for 18 to 25-year-olds, where only 22% of the market prefer it. It’s still close in the 26 to 35 age group, where a quarter of respondents favour WhatsApp, but from age 36, 30% to 40% of people prefer it. Are you a fan of WhatsApp promotions? It’ll target these older generations better.

Research: The Best Marketing Channels by Age in South Africa | WhatsApp Marketing is Preferred by People Over 36 | Everlytic | Email marketing platform | A middle-aged / older person on a cell phone

  • TV Commercials Are Still on the Map

Despite the decline of traditional TV, there’s still a surprising number of people in South Africa who prefer TV ads. And interestingly, it’s more prominent in the younger generations with just less than a quarter of 18 to 36-year olds preferring TV. We suspect that there may be some overlap with YouTube’s video advertising here.

  • Instagram is, Unsurprisingly, Preferred by Youth

While Instagram isn’t a strong contender in age groups over 26, it takes a tied fourth place with TV (or video) ads in the 18 to 25 age group, where nearly a quarter of respondents prefer it. So, if you’re targeting people just out of school or varsity, Instagram is also a good place to promote your products and services.

Research: The Best Marketing Channels by Age in South Africa | Instagram is, Unsurprisingly, Preferred by Youth | Everlytic | Email marketing platform | A young person taking a selfie

  • Billboard Preference is Consistently Low

Billboards feature consistently in the bottom three preferred promotions channels, but this may be influenced by the fact that the people taking this online survey are digitally savvy. It’s possible that billboards work better for a less digitally prone (or possibly a lower income) market, but it will need more research to confirm.

Billboard preference also decreases by age, which may be related to younger people potentially having a stronger tolerance for distraction while driving. So, successful promotions in this space appear to be limited to niche brands, products, and services.

  • Newsflash: Telesales Are Preferred by Youth!

Telesales are consistently low in preference, with it only moving from last place to second-last place in age groups over 56. But with that said, the degree of preference for promotions via phone call is notably higher in ages 18 to 35, where the percentage of people who prefer this channel is 13% – over three times higher than the 4% of people over 65 who prefer it.

This suggests to us that if you want to promote via phone, it may be worth sticking to younger audiences – which surprises us. Do your telesales results follow a similar trend? Tell us about it.

Research: The Best Marketing Channels by Age in South Africa | Telesales Are Preferred by Youth | Everlytic | Email marketing platform | A young person excited / happy, talking on the phone

One of the biggest rules in marketing is always: Know your audience. We hope these results are as helpful to you as they are fascinating to us. Check in over the coming months as we uncover more of our research results.