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Social Media in South Africa is Growing

Lockdown has changed our digital behaviours, particularly how we engage with social media. Take a look at how things have changed statistically.

When times were simpler – marketing was easy. People needed your product or service, they got hold of you and that was that. But then things got competitive and crowded. Brand choices were no longer obvious, and companies vied for the attention of their audience. Marketing channels, like print, outdoor, and TV were the go-to. However, these got so expensive so quickly that small to medium businesses struggled to make any kind of impact. It was only a matter of time before something more accessible, like social media in South Africa, changed the game.

The purpose of social networks is to connect people. Families, colleagues, like-minded people – there’s always a route to find something interesting that you’ll care about. It makes sense that businesses advertise here because it puts their messaging in front of new customers. Even though it can get crowded, social media opens the door to dialled-in targeting that was previously unthinkable. 

And then lockdown happened, and the world ground to a halt. The majority of workers had to adapt to a new way of working, some even found themselves without work. But for every hardship, there is an opportunity – and social media marketing took full advantage of this opportunity. We’re eager to dig into some key statistics from the past year about social media in South Africa and look ahead to future developments.

Social Media in South Africa

The Increase in SA Users 

2020 studies show the average South African spent 3 hours and 32 minutes on social media daily. This marks a 27% increase since 2017, and puts South Africa in the upper percentile of time spent on social media. 

This increase has already levelled out, as South Africa navigates through various levels of lockdown. This means it’s safe to say that current statistics can be considered the new normal. There’s every possibility that a higher level of social media usage has entrenched itself into the habits of South Africans. 

Facebook is Still King in South Africa

Despite some challengers in key demographics, like Clubhouse and Tik Tok, Facebook still owns the lion’s share of users, retaining its crown as the world’s most popular social network. This is not to say that a marketing strategy should solely focus on Facebook. It takes in-depth audience knowledge to tailor your approach to ensure you’re on the right platforms. 

Social Medi – It’s Still Growing 

In a poll of business executives, 93% agreed that they are continuing to migrate their e-commerce marketing strategies to social media. This is in recognition of the way that consistent social media marketing strategies connect the dots for users and provide a seamless journey from discovery to purchase that would be impossible to replicate on any other channel. 91% of these executives indicated that they would be increasing their budget for social media expenditure due to these returns, while 89% of them felt that a business which failed to invest in social media marketing would be left behind. 

The Ever-Changing South African Social Media User 

Despite hiccups in user trust due to privacy concerns, the average social media user is becoming more trusting of the social media platforms that they engage on. This has seen social media platforms evolve from simply a place to stay in touch with friends and family, to a place where users feel comfortable to discover new brands and product, search for information during their research phases, and ultimately purchasing and recommending products through it too. In fact, customer reviews have become a vital piece of the puzzle for many users seeking information before making a purchase decision – which puts a large emphasis in how these brand profiles are monitored and the communities are managed. 77% of social media users expect their customer service query to be responded to in less than 24 hours – a benchmark which sadly many in-house communication teams fail to meet. 

So where does that leave you? More people are access social media and spending more time on it. Businesses like yours are looking to improve their social media marketing efforts to better engage with these audiences and to get their products and services in the front of the minds of potential customers. There’s always more you can be doing – and that’s where Digitlab excels at stepping in. 

We consider ourselves digital experts – people who are as in touch with the humans who use technology, as they are with the technology itself. We bring these insights into our strategies, finding the best way to reach more of your target audience so that any investment you make yields results. Our creative team thrive on creating engaging pieces of content, while our community managers are on hand to manage the conversations and steer users to purchase decisions. 

All in all, we’re the partner you need as you explore how best to leverage social media to meet your business goals. Take a look at some of the ways our social media team can help you. 


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