Unlocking the online parent audience in South Africa

The IAB recently polled over 5,000 parents across their publisher base on both web and mobile devices in order to get a better understanding of the parenting market as a premium display audience. The result is an in-depth analysis into the needs and behaviours of parents online.

By far the biggest finding we’ve discovered with this data is how much of an impact becoming a parent has on individuals and how it makes consumers reassess almost all aspects of their lives,” says Gustav Goosen, CEO of The SpaceStation. “We also know that this is a highly influential and influenced market. Parents actively seek trustworthy information, very often online.”

The IAB results show a very powerful shift in purchase patterns by parents. This significant phase of reassessment has them completely relooking at their lifestyles, from how they spend their money (85% of parents say that having a child has had them reassessing the way they spend money) to the area they live in (66%), the type of holidays they take (68%), the food they buy (83%), their careers (61%), the car they drive (49%) and their insurance requirements (72%). This is an extremely important phase for relevant brands to be present.

Mobile internet usage was prevalent amongst this audience. 85% of the respondents felt that accessing information on their mobile phone is a ‘lifesaver’ due to the on-the-go convenience. While 74% said they were accessing the internet with their phones more this year than last year. Content wise, there is a definite shift towards quick, convenient and useful content. 76% of respondents say they appreciate useful parenting tips with step by step demonstrations. It’s interesting to note that the emphasis is placed on locally relevant content with 68% saying they prefer articles that are written from a South African perspective on parenting

“Because there is such a time tax on parents as they juggle work and family life, we see the appeal of consuming more and more content on mobile. Parents are telling us that the internet saves them time and advertisers that choose to speak to this audience online, particularly via mobile, will have access to a powerful market that uses the internet as inspiration on what to buy, how to live, to do comparisons and to shop,” says Nina Reich, Business Development Manager at The SpaceStation.

The IAB poll showed that 80% worry about whether their child is happy and content, these concerns range from the safety and security of their children to their stress levels and health. Parents make a conscious change in behavior to protect their children. Parents are also very concerned with what content their children are exposed to with 89% actively managing what content their children consume and 95% appreciate children’s content that has an educational focus.

While 41% say that their children spend too much time in front of screens, a large portion of parents have purchased or will be purchasing digital devices for their children. 32% say they will soon purchase a tablet for their kids, 34% a computer and 29% a smartphone.

“It is very apparent through this data that brands need to be up front and centre during this time of reassessment. Parents are actively looking for information and advice and are driven by a need to do what’s best for their children,” adds Reich.