What is the most-used social media platform in SA?

According to the 2024 South African Social Media Landscape Report there has been a noticable decrease in the use of X (formerly Twitter), and a significant rise in TikTok’s popularity.

These are just some of the takeaways from the latest report by brand intelligence and media analysis company Ornico, in partnership with tech market researchers World Wide Worx.

Facebook still dominates

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, local surveys have indicated that Facebook remains the most popular platform amongst South Africans, with usage increasing from 56.7% in 2022 to 59.6% in 2023.

This growth suggests that Facebook continues to enjoy a strong user base. TikTok meanwhile follows as the second most popular platform, rising from 30.6% in 2022 to 34.0% in 2023, while Instagram dropped by 0.7%.

This rest of the leaderboard (2023 figures) is as follows:

  1. Facebook (59.6%)
  2. TikTok (34.0%)
  3. Instagram (26.9%)
  4. Twitter/ X (18.8%)
  5. LinkedIn (12.2%)

Twitter’s decline from 22.5% in 2022 has been attributed to several factors, including changes in user preferences. The impact of new features or policies on the platform could also be a cause, the report says.

What are brands using?

When the biggest brands were asked what social media platforms they use, and plan to use in the coming year, the major shifts were also on TikTok and Twitter/ X.

According to the report, it had been forecast that brands would abandon X, mainly due to the bizarre management of the platform by its new owner, Elon Musk.

The abandonment of X has been so dramatic, it has gone from 90% of brands using it in 2018 to a new low of 51% in 2024.

TikTok’s favourableness amongst brands on the other hand has grown exponentially, going up 5% from 28% in 2023 to 33% in 2024.

The rest of the list is as follows:

  1. Facebook (78%)
  2. LinkedIn (72%)
  3. Instagram (56%)
  4. X (Twitter) (51%)
  5. YouTube (51%)
  6. WhatsApp (49%)
  7. TikTok (33%)

That said, downward figures in spend and in building branding awareness and engagement suggests that brands are falling out of love with social media.

This is partly to do with the instability across all platforms and the lack of differentiation between the tools that are being used, the report said.

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