The growth of digital in the mass market

24 Jun 2016

The Daily Sun Facebook page recently hit the one million mark in likes, and counting. This is an amazing achievement in the five years since Daily Sun launched its Facebook page in 2011. There is now a full-time digital team which creates about 100 posts a week with about 80 000 interactions daily. Growth is steady at between 12 000 and 17 000 new fans every seven days.
Thabiso Sekhula, Digital Editor: Daily Sun, explains the significance of this, “We have a bigger audience which means we can do a lot more, we get exposure to a wider audience, our native content has the potential to go viral the more it’s shared to our fans and their friends. We repurpose some of the content from Daily Sun to the website. And like our print product the Daily Sun online and on social media is fearless and bold in our reporting.”

People across all ages use the Daily Sun’s social media, but mostly between 18 and 34 year old, 62% are men and 38% women. The Daily Sun has a number of digital properties, website for Daily and Sunday Sun, Facebook pages: Sun Sport, Daily Sun and Sunday Sun, Twitter: @dailysunsa @sundaysunsa, Youtube: Daily Sun channel, Instagram @dailysunsa @sundaysunsa and We Chat ID: dailysunsa.

When asked which social media sites are most popular Sekhula says, “Facebook and Twitter are big in our market and for our brands, the Daily and Sunday Sun. Most of our traffic to the website comes through social media because people prefer a space where they can talk to each other and interact about the content. Although this also happens on the site, they interact a lot more on Facebook.”

Sekhula says that there has been a big increase in mass market digital readers in the past few years because, “Smartphones are getting cheaper and more accessible. People know there’s a big world available on the net and they want to access it, we need to place ourselves strategically so that they spend some of that time on our pages. People want ‘quick and easy’ to find updates, all they do to find it is follow the people and publications they find interesting.”

The mass market digital reader is different from the print reader in the way they consume news. Sekhula says, “The print reader likes the experience of having a physical copy to page through and read through and you can always come back to reference something. The digital reader just wants to know what’s happening, they aren’t as patient as the print reader and they want punchy, short and eye catching content.’

“The digital reader consumes from Tweets, Facebook posts, websites, even Instagram. Visuals are big, people would rather see what you are saying than read it. Pictures are also great to tell digital stories. The content needs to be fast, engaging, needs to attract attention quickly and you are competing with all the things that person does on their small phone screen, you need to be loud and entertaining.”

Digital offers unique opportunities to advertisers targeting the mass market. Sekhula says, “Feedback is immediate on social media. You get to know what people think of your product and services now. But it also offers you the opportunity to shape the conversations people are having online about you by taking part in the conversations, learn from what people are saying. Daily Sun digital specifically provides solutions for those clients that want to go into the online space but don’t know how to, we know how to talk to the audience, entertain them, make them laugh, talk to them in a way they talk to their friends and we are a little online community. We cry together and go through different challenges with them. There’s loyalty.”

The convergence of digital and print is upon us and keeping a finger on the pulse of the South African consumer means communicating a brand message across multiple platforms, in a way that in uniquely suited to each. The digital reach of the Daily Sun and Soccer Laduma combined is over 2 million. The print reach of Daily Sun, Soccer Laduma, Son and Illanga is over 9 million. The combined unduplicated reach of the Ads24 mass market bundle which includes Daily Sun, Soccer Laduma, Son and Illanga is about 9.5 million.

The increasingly tech-savvy mass market not only has huge collective spending power, but it is not yet saturated and is in a phase of active acquisition. It is a brand conscious market that is influenced by advertising. In terms of newspapers, which are still a massively popular medium in this market, Ads24 represents a considerable number of the most read titles, which lie in the hearts of their communities.