Recently World Wide Worx, one of our partner companies, released the definitive study on the social media landscape in South Africa. Instead of simply republishing the press release with the research findings, I also include a short email interview with the co-author, Mike Wronski.

The questions we answer in the report deal with the specific demographics and user base sizes of the major social networks in use in South Africa. We have also in depth analysis of some top social media campaigns conducted in
South Africa.

1. What conclusions can you draw from your research on the impact of social media on the intimacy or bonding that takes place online, and offline?

It is fairly obvious from the analysis of words being used that people use social media to discuss matters that are important and intimate to them. With some of the top words in all conversations including “people, today, think, see, need”, it shows that people are not afraid to voice their opinions and talk about their daily interactions.

2. What are the differences or similarities between male and female users of social media in South Africa?

We do not have specific data on this metric.

3. What is the profile (including LSM) of the average/typical users of social media given your recent study?

We analysed available online data for the report. No surveying was done in our social media stats, so there is no clear indication of LSM. However, the overarching stats for Facebook, the most balanced social media platform, are as follows:

  • 2 million males – 2.2 million females
  • 1.15 million university graduates
  • 68,000 still in university
  • Users most concentrated in the 23-36 year old age bracket
  • Johannesburg has 1.9m users
  • Cape Town 900k, a surprisingly low number given its large population size

Social media goes mainstream in South Africa

26 October 2011:- South Africans have embraced social media as a core pillar of Internet activity in this country, along with e-mail, news and banking. MXit and Facebook lead the way in user numbers, while Twitter has seen the most dramatic growth in social networking in the past year, and BlackBerry Messenger is the fastest growing network in the second half of 2011.

These are among the key findings of a new study released today by Fuseware and World Wide Worx, entitled South African Social Media Landscape 2011.

?The question of how many South Africans use each of the major social networks comes up so often, it became a priority for us to pin down the numbers,? says Michal Wronski, Managing Director of information analysts Fuseware and co-author of the report. ?The data was collected through a combination of Fuseware?s analysis of social network
databases, information provided directly by social networks, and World Wide Worx?s consumer market research.?

An analysis of Fuseware?s extensive database of Twitter usage, in conjunction with World Wide Worx?s consumer market research, shows that there were 1,1-million Twitter users in South Africa in mid-2011. This is a 20-fold increase in a little more than a year.

?One of the drivers of growth of Twitter is the media obsession with the network,? says report co-author Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. ?Most radio and TV personalities with large audiences are engaged in intensive campaigns to drive their listeners and viewers to both Twitter and Facebook. The former, coming off a very
low base, is therefore seeing the greatest growth.?

As in the global environment, not all Twitter users are active users, with only 40% tweeting, but probably as many simply watching, following and using it as a breaking news service.

MXit remains the most popular social network in South Africa, with approximately 10-million active users. Its demographic mix runs counter to the popular media image of MXit as a teen-dominated environment. No less than 76% of the male user base of MXit and 73% of female users are aged 18 or over.

A surprising finding emerged from analysis of Facebook data. Of approximately 4.2-million Facebook users in South Africa by August 2011, only 3.2 million had visited the site in the year-to-date.

?This is partly a factor of many users moving on once the novelty of the site had worn off, as well as a result of the fickle nature of the youth market,? says Wronski. ?Once BBM picked up significant traction in private schools, for example, many teenagers who had previously flocked to Facebook, opted for BBM?s greater immediacy.?

While LinkedIn, aimed at professional users, also reached the 1,1-million mark, it came off a far higher base ? but still saw 83% growth of South African users from 2010 to 2011. Of these, 112 000 or 10% are business owners.

Consumer research analysed in the report revealed that future intention of usage of most social networks is strongly related to age. The younger the user, the greater the intention of usage.

?This is only one of many micro-trends shaping social networking,? says Goldstuck. ?MXit, Facebook and BBM statistics illustrate, for example, that as social networks become more mainstream, their penetration within
all age ranges deepens. This, in turn, will result in the continualflattening of the age curve as social networks mature.?

(ends)

Media Contacts:

  • Fuseware: Michal Wronski (in Cape Town) on Tel: 021 930 9171
  • World Wide Worx: Arthur Goldstuck (in Johannesburg) on Tel: 011 782 7003