What is the size of the digital marketing skills gap in Africa?

It is common knowledge in the communications industry that there is a digital marketing skills gap across the world.

But what is the size of the gap in Africa?


About the inspiration for this post

In our drive to contribute to the common language bank of digital marketing, the eNitiaters recently came up with The 5 Blocks of Successful Social Media Marketing. In turn, development of this model was inspired by our recently published ebook on effective measurement of social media marketing.

RELATED POST: 1+4 Metric Matrix: The Perfect Science for Effective Measurement of Social Media Marketing

Development of The 5 Blocks model has resulted in all sorts of questions, especially related to digital marketing skills, one of which is the subject of this post.

However, let me me give brief descriptions of The 5 Blocks before I dig into the subject matter.


Here are the brief descriptions of The 5 Blocks of Successful Social Media Marketing

Based on eNitiate’s many years of providing social media marketing services for many past and present clients across more than 8 economic sectors in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda; we have finally designed a model which we believe is the masterstroke for successful social media marketing.

Let me unpack the 5 elements in the recommended order.

  • 1️⃣ COMPETENCIES. Alternatively called digital marketing skills. In our experience, this element is no doubt the driver of all the other 4 in the model. Without the most requisite skills across the business – from the CEO to Talent Management, CFO to the Marketing team, the success of social media marketing gets directly affected.

  • 2️⃣ DBDF. The full title is Digital Brand Development Funnel. Establishment of the online strength of a brand, determined by plotting it [the brand] along the social netizen relationship funnel, is important as it influences the selection of social media marketing objectives.
    Click here to see the DBDF.

  • 3️⃣ FOCUSED OBJECTIVES. Alignment of social media objectives with a brand’s online strength, determined using the DBDF, adds to selection of effective metrics.

  • 4️⃣ THE 1+4 METRIC MATRIX. We call this model the perfect science for selecting maximum 5 social media metrics – 1 output metric PLUS 1-4 input metrics, for each objective. The rationale is that effective measurement of social media marketing depends on a few, scientifically selected metrics. This ensures that vanity metrics are avoided.

  • 5️⃣ THE SMM PLAN. Full title is Social Media Marketing Plan. As the self-explanatory name goes, and enabled by the other 4 blocks, a more robust, measurable social media marketing plan completes the 5 Blocks.

After the initial putting in place of The 5 Blocks of Successful Social Media Marketing, the continuous interplay between the elements in the model can only enhance the success of this channel.


About digital marketing skills in Africa

As indicated in the brief description of the 5 Blocks model above, we believe COMPETENCIES drive the other 4 elements.

In line with our continental approach, the logical question to ask was:

Has there been an audit of digital marketing skills anywhere on the African continent? So, we Googled it.

See the results 👇🏾

To our dismay, we could not find any related information in this regard – not even for South Africa 🧐🤔.

All over the world jobs are changing – this is taking place at a rapid pace. The discrepancy between the skills people have and those needed for jobs in the digital world is one of the most critical issues in the workplace. It is a problem for businesses, individuals, governments and policy makers. It is in the interest of all stakeholders to collaborate and work together to solve this issue.

Chantal Maritz, PWC South Africa 


UK’s Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark 2018: any learnings for Africa?

Having failed to find information about an audit of the digital marketing skills for any of the African countries, we broadened the Google search, and this lead us to the Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark – the 2018 UK-based annual report. The report tests for levels of competency across 12 skills. Just under 5 000 respondents participated in the latest online research, and they included executives and entry-level Marketers. The survey was also open to all sectors.

Here are the aggregated results of the latest online survey:

Breaking down of the overall picture above by company position paints a more concerning picture for digital marketing and social media skills.

Key findings and insights:

  • 🔎 The overall results show skills with highest competency levels in the UK are Email Marketing, General Marketing and Ecommerce.
  • 🔎 Skills with the lowest competency levels are Content Marketing, Mobile Marketing and Usability.
  • 🔎 More specifically, the digital marketing skills gap is bigger in the senior to executive levels of companies

INVITATION: Click here to participate in the Digital Marketing Skills in Africa Audit 2020

  • ☝🏾 Clearly, there is a digital marketing skills gap in the UK. Common sense tells me that the Brexit country has a bigger digital marketing skills pool than any of the African countries. Thus, my hypothesis is that the skills gap is bigger in the continent.
  • ☝🏾 I suspect that Mobile marketing skill may be higher on “the dark continent” due to the jump made by the majority of the netizens from the 1st screen (TV) straight to the 3rd screen (mobile phones).

Elizabeth Mofokeng of Avatar Agency notes that there is a skills shortage across all digital disciplines, with the possible exception of social media. The digital landscape in South Africa is increasingly in need of niche specialists with a broad overall knowledge of digital

Media Online


  • ❓ Just how big is the digital marketing skills gap in Africa?

  • ❓ Would there be skills where Africa has higher competency levels than the UK, e.g. Mobile Marketing?

  • ❓ How different are the digital marketing skills gaps across the top 7 African countries by active monthly Facebook users?

Given that Africa does not have a digital marketing skills audit report, the 3 questions cannot be answered, let alone conclusively.

According to McKinley, there’s high demand for skilled digital marketers, while a reliable supply of talent is lacking throughout the industry. 

Digital Marketing Institute


Anyone up for the challenge?

Is it time for someone in the digital marketing community to take up the challenge to conduct the digital marketing skills audit for the continent ✋🏾✋🏾?

RELATED POST: 13 stats about South Africa you need to know, from the Global Digital 2019 Report


How important is it to have the digital marketing skills gap benchmark for Africa? Leave an answer in the comment section here below 👇🏾👇🏾.


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