Social media and mobile in South Africa.

A 2015 report on the number of social media users in South Africa indicated that there has been a steady increase since 2014.

According to one report there were 24 percent more internet users in the country, bringing the figure to 25 million in 2015. (  Furthermore, the number of social media accounts grew by 20% to 11.8 million users. Importantly, surveys indicate that social media was the most prevalent online activity and that mobile social usage was extremely high. The top social networks used in South Africa are Facebook and WhatsApp.(HTXT)

Figures from the entire Africa are also enlightening. Statistics show that in 2014, 100 million people were using Facebook each month across Africa, with over 80% of these users accessing the network via mobile. According to a CNN survey however, this figure has now increased to over 120 million. ( CNN) More specifically, four and a half million of those Facebook users are based in Kenya, 15 million in Nigeria and 12 million in South Africa.

Another important insight is that South African social media users tend to spend more time on-line compared other countries. “Overall, around 9% of Africans use social media, with South Africans among the world leaders in time spent on social networks with an average of 3.2 hours a day, compared to a global average of 2.4 hours, …” (CNN)

It should also be noted that the there are social media platforms that are challenging the hegemony of Facebook. The number of YouTube and Instagram users in South Africa increased, respectively, by 53% and 65% over the past year, according to the findings of the SA Social Media Landscape 2015 study. By the end of 2014 YouTube had reached an active user base of 7,2-million South Africans, making it second only to Facebook’s 11,8-million in social network use in South Africa. Instagram grew from 680 000 active users in 2013 to 1,1-million.

This also relates to the increase of video as a marketing and social media phenomenon – which is also linked to the increase of smart phones, which will be discussed later. “The global rise of video is now making itself felt here. Once the cost of mobile data comes down for the emerging smartphone market, video will become a dominant medium, strongly supported by other visual media.” While South African activity on Twitter has begun to slow down to almost 7 million users, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of South African Linkedin users – an increase of 40 percent to nearly 4 million users in the country” (worldwideworx)

The rise of Mobile social networking

One statistic stands out above the rest when it comes to social media and South Africa. This is the worldwide trend to mobile usage and mobile social media usage. As a report from We Are Social points out.

“A glance at Digital in 2016 confirms that mobile is fast becoming the ‘primary’ device for many online adults. Smartphone penetration is reaching new heights around the globe, and we are fast approaching the point where being an internet user means being a smartphone user.”
( We are Social)


Growth in Internet marketing therefore translates into growth in mobile and more specifically in mobile social interaction. This is an area that we will be reporting ion in future blog posts at Imaginet.