Report says TikTok is shaking up the SA social media landscape

By our News Team | 2023

Facebook remains number one in South Africa, but TikTok has seen ‘explosive growth’ and surpassed Instagram to claim second position.

The ‘Big Five’ social media platforms in South Africa have been shaken up as TikTok leaps past Instagram into second place and challenges the dominant social network, Facebook, in several segments.

This is one of the key findings of the South African Social Media Landscape 2023 study, released by brand intelligence consultancy Ornico and market research house World Wide Worx.

Social Media Strategy

Photo by Eyestetix Studio on Unsplash

Facebook, with a commanding 56.7% penetration among South Africans aged 15 and over who are living in cities and towns, continues to dominate the social media scene. 

However, TikTok has seen explosive growth and surpassed Instagram to claim second position at 30.6%. Notably, TikTok’s appeal extends beyond its under-15 target audience, making significant inroads into the 15+ market. 

Instagram remains a popular choice among South African social media users, boasting 27.6% penetration, while Twitter retains a significant following despite its troubled takeover by Elon Musk – standing at 22.5%. LinkedIn is far behind, but its 14.7% penetration is healthy for a professional networking platform that does not hold youth appeal.

Data gathered from a variety of sources

Data used in the South African Social Media Landscape 2023 report is based on Ask Afrika’s Target Group Index (TGI), which surveys 16,000 South Africans every six months. 

Ornico and World Wide Worx also conduct a survey of social media usage by South Africa’s biggest brands, and integrate the findings with several additional data sources.

“The youth audience is key to social media in South Africa,” says Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx. “When a platform like TikTok, which has deep reach among those aged under 15, breaks through to this extent in the older youth market, as well as among young adults, we can see the landscape undergoing a significant shift.”

The study highlights the correlation between social media platforms’ popularity and the proportion of highly active users. Facebook emerges as the leader, with nearly 8 out of 10 users being highly active. TikTok and Instagram exhibit similar levels of user engagement, while LinkedIn has a relatively small proportion of highly active users. 

This distinction implies that platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram are deeply integrated into users’ lifestyles, whereas LinkedIn is more closely associated with their ‘workstyles’, says Goldstuck.

You can download the report here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.