Greater use of mobile apps, multimedia and social media are three of the ways superannuation funds expect to increase their digital communication strategy, according to a report by Towers Watson.

Superannuation funds are positioning themselves to increasingly engage their members online, but a steep road lies ahead. The survey found that the current overall average take-up rate by funds of digital technology across eight categories identified in our survey was 45 per cent, but funds expect this to increase to 77 per cent by 2017.

The report, Changing times – The digital shift in superannuation education and communication, shows the industry has been slow to adopt digital technologies. Only 4 per cent of survey respondents describe themselves as early adopters of technology, and 19 per cent as innovators in technology-based member education. The main reasons for the conservative approach are compliance and regulatory issues, along with protecting the security of data, resource and time constraints, and the challenge of connecting with members who are not always motivated to understand their superannuation.

Funds expect the biggest change in take-up rate by funds will occur in the use of mobile apps and online games – predicted to increase by 77 per cent and 58 per cent respectively over the next five years.

While highlighting the challenges faced, the report also provides funds with some practical steps for how they can embrace technology and increase their digital footprint.