Raeesa Bagus
Raeesa Bagus 27 August 2015

Social Media - South Africa: The Fact You Need To Know

Understanding the Social Media uniqueness of the South African marketing landscape.

Up until now we struggled as digital marketers and strategists to push the need for a budget, an increase in budget and more capacity to take advantage on the online world.


But a recent research study done by world wide worx and Fuseware have given us some insight into the social media landscape in South Africa in 2015 that may help us be more persuasive.


So what did the research actually say, aside from it being fairly easy to translate into the pretty picture that I created below. Well it’s fairly simple. As always...



There are 5 key trends that we can extrapolate from the research.


1. Your Audience Is On Social Media, Are You?


11.8 million of our estimated 54 million South Africans have active social media accounts, Whatsapp takes the cake with 31%, Facebook following close behind with 26% and LinkedIn at 12%. These numbers are all on the rise, with more and more people opening social media accounts everyday.


Whether you sell a product or a service, know that your audience is online, ready and engaged, if you can provide meaningful content, relevant information or entertaining updates you will win their hearts. South African advertisers don’t seem to be getting this right yet, the tools available to us to create consistent, targeting stories are not being used effectively. Ask yourself why?


2. Mobile Is The Only Way, Don’t Get Confused With Online And Mobile. They Are Different!


10.6 million South Africans access social media platforms via a mobile device. Google has already punted the importance of a mobile optimised site for SEO and now the people are talking too. You need to have a mobile optimised website (or app, if applicable, with smartphones a website can be saved to your home screen – everyone doesn’t need an app just because that’s what we think people want)


We have 146% mobile penetration in the country, this means we have 46% more phones than we have people. 83% of those mobile phones are on pre-paid subscriptions, take this into account when creating your website with exciting dynamic media and all those beautiful high res pictures. Data is still an expensive commodity in SA and we are still an emerging market – so until such a point that we have cheaper data, be aware of who your audiences are and how cautious they may/ may not be with their data. 


3. The Gender Divide Has Fallen Away, Finally.


We finally have a 50/50 male/female split on Facebook. This means that we have an equal opportunity to reach our gender specific audience if required. In light of some recent tension on Facebook, keep in mind that you need to consider how your message is going to be received by both males and females.


Use targeting to narrow your advertising to the audience you’re aiming your messaging at. The reward for getting this right is worth ensuring you do. You finally get to play on the same field as the big boys, make it count by showing them that you can beat them at their own game.


4. The Worldwide Visual Data Trend Has Landed.


We have all seen the global take-up of video marketing with YouTube being the second largest search engine behind Google. And its nice to see

SA is catching up, YouTube is on the rise with 7.2 million users in 2015, having witnessed a 53% increase in active users over the last year. Instagram has also seen an impressive increase of 63% to 1.1 million users.


What is important here is to be aware of this, but don’t go there because there are users, you need to be active on the platform if you see the benefit because firstly, your audience is there and secondly, you have the ability to create content.


If you have one because someone insisted you have to be there, because “that’s what everyone is doing”, you aren’t just renting prime online real estate for free, you are paying a heavy tax by having a presence that people can find but no relevant information.


5. Time To Engage Is Plentiful, Use It Wisely.


On average South Africans spend 5 hours and 6 mins on the Internet, while the average daily use of social media is 3 hours. This means that of the time spent on the Internet 60% of it is spent on social media.


Facebook provided insights into when your audience in online and best posts and engagement metrics. Use this to tailor your content strategy based on when people are actually receptive i.e. on social media. We are also witnessing a nice increase in researching products online, with people spending 32% of their waking hours online. It’s not sensible to not be online and not take advantage of what they are looking for, especially if that is you.







1. What do SA’s 24.9 mil internet users spend most of their time doing online? –

2. Social Media Landscape in South Africa 2015 Report

For more insights on simple brand leadership ideas, visit iMarketing @


Original Article


Find out more on the future of Content Marketing at our DLUK - Trends briefing on the 24th September 2015

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