A Review of Social Media Stats South Africa

With barely any change from 2015 to 2016 in the social media stats South Africa, brands are left questioning “How can we improve & where are our gaps?”

In the latest release at the Social Media landscape event held in Johannesburg, our very own expert in content strategy and social media – Jessica McEndoo – gathered the latest insights for 2016 and shares exactly what is happening in Social Media from a South African perspective and where brands need to be headed to achieve their Social Media Marketing goals.

Inforgraphic Social Media Statistics South Africa 2016

Effective or Not?
116 of South Africa’s top brands took part in the annual survey and the results were shocking. Brands are throwing money into Facebook (surprise surprise) however 12% still believe that they are ineffective. Even more surprising was that the “not effective” results for the other platforms and left questions as to why:

  • Twitter: only 46% of brands believed they are effective
  • LinkedIn: only 29% believed they are effective
  • YouTube: only 20% felt that they are effective

The reasons believed for the above 3 results were as follows:

  • Twitter still lacks buy-in from the top (no moral support and no budget from the CEO)
  • LinkedIn is believed to be seen as “boring” and there is no buy-in from the team
  • YouTube has a low investment as brands feel their presence is ineffectual

With all the above insights the top 2 investments that brands are looking at making for 2016 – 2017 are investing in their own people (not outsourcing) and increasing spend by a whopping 77%.

There is a definite shift in the Social Media usage in South Africa.

Social Media Trends South Africa 2012 to 2016

Year of explosion for South Africa Social Media

Social media managers were cited as abandoning tools that are not working for them. In 2015 analytics investment was top of the agenda, however this year it moved into second place and was over taken by Multi-media Content. Why? Engagement, Engagement, Engagement.

2016 social networks in South Africa saw a dramatic increase of engagement across the board. However content did not increase… Brands are now “catching the imaginations of the users”. Twitter for example saw a 50% increase, proportionately in Retweets YoY.

While Instagram saw an increase of average followers they were awarded the “key platform in South Africa i.t.o. engagement” and unlike Twitter a Friday at 3pm will get you the most engagement on Instagram.

Normalisation of the times to post
In 2015 Twitter was an hour earlier than Facebook and this year they are mirrored with the best time to post being 9am – 10am.  South African social media stats proved that Social Media usage i.e. top hours are driven by our data constraints and habits. A perfect example of this is Instagram, which is data heavy, where main usage begins between 8am – 9am and the usage stops after 3pm, proving that Instagram users are relying on work Wi-Fi to share their content!

Twitter on the other hand is used before work and then starts again after working hours and peeks at 9pm in the evening. Tweeting stops at midnight and in terms of days; Monday and Friday are slow days while Saturday is non-existent proving South Africans no longer “live for Twitter”.

Evolving eco-system
Touching on WeChat, Snapchat and WhatsApp as the “newbies” to social networks in South Africa, brands believe they are ineffective and social media managers still need convincing of their place within the ecosystem of their social media marketing strategy.

Good old Facebook grew to an impressive 14 million users which is just over a quarter of the entire South African population. 85% of these users access Facebook via their mobile every day! That means that 11, 9 million South Africans are not concerned over data usage via Facebook.

Twitter was the slowest in terms of growth of all the social networks in South Africa, growing a mere 4% to 7, 4 million users, however even though they suffered in growth Twitter saw the highest growth of engagement of all social media in South Africa. For South Africans it is a place of expression and airing their views, think #datamustfall and #feesmustfall. The impact of the “mere #” on public experience is something brands need to harness moving forward.

A perfect example of “# success” where the award of “Social Media Star of 2016” went to South African recording artist Cassper Nyovest. Not because he has the biggest following or fan base but because he #FilledUpTheDome with his “Fill up the Dome” concert invite. Boasting concert attendees of 20 thousand which made his album the fastest to ever get to gold.

Let me entertain you
YouTube saw a drop in growth and only grew 40% of its growth in 2015. The experts believe however that YouTube is “take over on-demand TV” and is the future of news broadcasting. With 8, 74 million South Africans active on the platform the top brands boast an average of 34 thousand views per video.

Latest Sightings was top of the charts (better known as KrugerSightings which was created by Nadav Ossendryver, while still in school) taking 5 of the top spots and their channel’s greatest competitor was, drum roll please… Die Antwoord.
Entertainment is the biggest interest, as listed by South Africans, at a staggering 10 million on Facebook, followed closely by tech. This lead to debate as the South African market matures and technology has become a part of our everyday lives. Shopping and fashion sported interest of 7, 7 million on the platform.

Instagram “homogeneity” came as a surprise and brands need to sit up and take note. If you are not a celeb then do not expect to be in the top 10. It is believed that the original leap of Insta was due to Android. And in 2016 they only saw a growth of 31% compared to the 133% reported on in 2015.

Getting down to business
We were quite sad to see that brands and social media managers think that LinkedIn is “boring”. Even more disturbing is that the growth reflected that of last year at 19%. The younger generation see the platform a key tool to advance themselves and they want to improve. So why are brands ignoring the potential? LinkedIn has hit the $1 billion revenue mark, globally a person joins the platform every 2 seconds. Africa has seen massive growth, especially in Nigeria.

Why would you not want to invest in the platform that holds 5, 5 million active users?

It is a content hub. People have the ability to power, through social media, research as well as promotion. LinkedIn is the highest quality content feed of all the social networks in South Africa.

There has also been a shift in that content is now being written in “own name”. No longer can brands afford to ignore this and what is even scarier is that brands seem to be missing a critical point here. They do not own this content. Real life scenarios, where people buy from people have moved into the social media landscape. LinkedIn is more focused on keeping the user happy than the brand, which makes the platform very appealing. The highest adoption and joiners of LinkedIn are of the ages of 25 – 34.  The question no one has thought to pose is “what happens when your employee leaves?”

Social media statistics South Africa Round up
Brands in South Africa are still challenged in Social Media. The question on everyone’s lips is “what is going to move behavior to the benefit of brands?” Don’t let the user think “ugh why is this here!”

Brands need to invest in:

  • Bedding down a clear social media strategy
  • Understanding and using their data more effectively
  • Becoming niche and resonate authenticity
  • Engaging and keeping the users interest
  • Adding fluidity and taking down business silos

For every action brands need to be asking “How do I serve?” and show that you care. Get to grips with the platforms you do not feel comfortable with. After all there are 9000 Snaps / minute, 35% of Snapchat users are there because their parents are not there. 13 – 18 year olds are leaving Facebook while the ages of 19 -23 years has seen no growth since 2015.

Tell the right stories at the right time on the right platform. Start with the customer journey always and deal with your influencers who are familiar with your brand and want to hear what you have to say.

Download the State of Social Media South Africa – 2012 to 2016 Growth Deck here.

See also:

The State of Social Media in South Africa 2015
The State of Social Media in South Africa 2014
The State of Social Media in South Africa 2013
The State of Social Media in South Africa 2012

Author: Jessica McEndoo, Head of Social Media & Content Strategies at BlueMagnet