Social Media breaks barriers in South Africa

Social networking in South Africa has
crossed the age barrier, the urban/rural divide and even the
relationship gap, according to research findings announced today.

The /South African Social Media Landscape 2012/ study, produced by
technology market researchers World Wide Worx and information analysts
Fuseware, shows that the fastest growing age group among Facebook users
in South Africa is the over-60s. From August 2011 to August 2012, the
number of over-60s on Facebook grew by 44%, compared to less than 30%
for those aged 30-60, less than 20% for those aged 19-30, and less than
10% for teenagers.

This is a reflection of Facebook going mainstream in South Africa,
says World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck.  The younger
segments are still far from saturation, but we re not seeing the same
heady pace of growth among the youth as before.

At the end of August, 5.33-million South Africans were using Facebook on
the Web, 2,43-million were on Twitter and 9,35-million on Mxit. Because
Facebook does not measure mobile-only usage among those who have
registered via their cellphones, however, the full extent of its
penetration is significantly understated: primary research among
consumers by World Wide Worx shows that 6.8-million people access
Facebook on their phones.

Twitter use, also measured in this primary research, indicates that its
registered base had grown to 2,2-million by the end of June: 100 000 new
users a month since August last year. Fuseware data, collected directly
from Twitter through an API (application program interface), shows that
the number reached 2,4-million at the end of August, exactly matching
the growth rate measured by World Wide Worx, and validating the earlier
data.

The integrity of data, and its interpretation, is vital for business
decision-makers and marketers who are investing in social media,  says
Fuseware managing director Mike Wronski.  Different methodologies allow
us to gain deeper insights, as well as providing cross-validation for
our data.

Other key findings announced today include:
* Both Facebook and Twitter have grown at a similar rate, at around
100 000 new users a month, for the past year.
* LinkedIn has grown substantially, but at a slightly lower rate, to
reach 1,93-million South Africans.
* Pinterest is the fledgling among the major social networks, with
only 150 000 users in South Africa.
* WhatsApp has become the leading instant messaging tool among South
Africans aged 16 and over, living in cities and towns, with a user
base of 4,6-million.
* The youngest mobile instant messaging tool to emerge on the
measurement radar in South Africa, 2Go, has close to a million adult
users.
* The most common  Check In  sites for Facebook in South Africa are
airports and shopping malls.
* The biggest tweeting day of the week is a Monday, with an average of
9,6-million tweets sent by South Africans on the first working day
of the week. Friday is next, with 9.6-million, while Saturday is the
slowest Twitter day, with 8,4-million tweets.
* Both Facebook and Twitter have crossed the urban/rural divide. The
proportion of urban adults using Facebook is a little less than
double rural users – but rural users are now at the level where
urban users were 18 months ago. Twitter’s urban penetration is a
little more than double its rural penetration, but the rural
proportion has also caught up to where the urban proportion was 18
months ago.

One of the most fascinating findings reported today is that the number
of single users has grown faster than any other relationship group, by
almost 25%, to reach 957 000. The number of married and engaged users
has each grown by 16%, while the category of those  in a relationship
has increased by 9%.

Clearly, Facebook is filling a relationship gap in the lives of many
South Africans,  says Goldstuck.  But social networks are also so much
more   we see them playing the roles of communication, information and
entertainment networks.

Wronski adds:  Social media fatigue has set in for the more over-active
users, who follow too much, communicate too much, and vent too much. But
most users are arriving in this world for the first time, and new users
are going to keep coming. It s mainstream today but, tomorrow, it will
be pervasive.

For more information, visit http://www.worldwideworx.com.

 

Social media goes mainstream in South Africa

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.?

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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

 

 

Cellphone banking surges

February 2, 2010 :- Cellphone banking has surged in the past year, as South African consumers gain confidence in their handheld devices as a tool for both communications and efficiency.

Among urban cellphone users, 44% now use cellphone banking services, compared to 27% a year earlier, according to the Mobility 2011 research project conducted by World Wide Worx and backed by First National Bank. In smaller centres and towns, 27% now use cellphone banking, suggesting that rural areas lag urban users by about a year in take-up of these services. In total, 37% of South Africans in urban and rural areas aged 16 and above now use cellphone banking.

“Our predominant customer base resides within the mainstream market: 65% of FNB’s 2.6 million customer base earns less than R100 000 per annum and are between the ages of 18 – 40 years old. Cellphone Banking is becoming the preferred alternative as people across the board are driven by the ‘anywhere, anytime’ concept of banking.” says Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions

Usage of cellphone banking peaks in the 26-34 age group, at 41%, and drops to 11% in the over-45 group. Male usage far outpaces that of females, at 56% against 44%. While education is a factor in usage of cellphone banking, with 43% of cellphone banking users having matric, and 38% with post-matric qualifications, the biggest proportion of cellphone banking users – no less than 27% – earn less than a R1000 a month.

The vast majority of cellphone banking customers still use the basic services, such as balance enquiries (78%) and notifications (58%).

However, transactional services are for the first time major components of cellphone banking services, with half of respondents buying airtime, 24% paying accounts, and 17% transferring funds between accounts. Emerging Mobile commerce transactions such as purchases and sending money to another persons’ cellphone are also appearing on the radar screen for the first time. 12% of cellphone banking users also sending money to other individuals, and 11% making a purchase via their cellphone.

For most of these services, urban respondents are far more likely to have made use of them, except in the case of sending airtime to someone: 33% of rural users of cellphone banking have done so, versus 22% of urban users.

“Products like the FNB eWallet are allowing us to bridge the gap between the banked and the unbanked and address the real need of access to financial services. This also allows for the transfer of cash and airtime to be done safely and easily.” says Yolande van Wyk CEO of FNB Smart Services.

Most of this growth in usage comes off the back of another surprising finding: more than 80% of cellphone banking users are satisfied with the security of cellphone banking. The proportion of urban users slightly outweighs that of rural users, but not significantly so.

“Previous studies had shown satisfaction with security as below 60%, indicating that market education and experience has made the difference in uptake,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

The Mobility 2011 project comprises two reports, namely the Mobile Consumer in SA 2011 and the Mobile Internet in SA 2011. It is based on face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of South Africans, conducted towards the end of 2010.

 

Smartphone the surprise newcomer in mobile race

Johannesburg:- Smartphones have made a dramatic entry into corporate South Africa, far surpassing general consumer use or small business use.

This is a surprise finding from a new research study released today by World Wide Worx. The Mobile Corporation in SA 2010 report reveals that three quarters of South African companies have deployed smartphones within their organisations, compared to almost none two years ago.

The study, backed by First National Bank (FNB), leaders in cellphone banking in Africa, and Research In Motion (RIM), the developer of the BlackBerry solution, shows that saturation point has almost been reached by large South African companies in the use of fixed landlines (96%) and ordinary cellphones (92%). And, as forecast in 2007, 3G data card penetration has also reached near saturation, with 94% of large companies deploying it. Now the focus has turned to integration of smartphones with business processes.

“These results show that enterprise mobility solutions are no longer just nice to have. They’re essential for businesses that want to be competitive, responsive and efficient in a world where a customer won’t wait for a salesperson who is visiting customers and where project flow can’t stop because a manager is at a full-day meeting,” says Deon Liebenberg, Regional Director for Sub Sahara Africa at RIM. “Not only does mobility allow companies to improve internal efficiencies and communications, it also enables them to interact more effectively with their increasingly mobile customers.”

The study also showed that corporate South Africa expects to embrace the new world of online services to an extent that was not even anticipated as recently as one year ago.

“Until last year, concepts like Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing were regarded as little more than buzzwords,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.

Continue reading “Smartphone the surprise newcomer in mobile race”

 

New editor for SA's oldest online tech mag

Sean Bacher journalist editor technology gadgetsVeteran technology journalist Sean Bacher has been appointed editor of South Africa’s longest-running online technology magazine, Gadget. The appointment comes as Gadget prepares to celebrate its 12th year online, and plans a heavy focus on the technology of the World Cup.

“It’s a landmark year for South Africa, so it is a privilege for me to be at the heart of covering the developments that help shape its outcome,” says Bacher.

He started his journalistic career writing for the technology section of The Star in 1999, reviewing high-end technical products, and gradually evolving to consumer and business technology. He has had stints with FHM, Africa Geographic and Elle, before taking up a technical journalist position at Computing SA. He then moved on to become editor of Computing SA in 2005.

“The market has changed dramatically in the past 12 years, both in gadgetry and in media,” says Bacher, “and this year promises to increase that pace of change even more dramatically. It’s the right place and the right time to be in online media.”

Gadget is published by World Wide Worx. The company’s MD, Arthur Goldstuck, who previously won the Electronic category in the Telkom ICT Journalist of the Year awards for his work in Gadget, will continue to act as editor-in-chief. Gadget’s senior reviewer, Steven Ambrose, who is also MD of WWW Strategy, is appointed associate editor.

(ends)

* Sean Bacher can be contacted on:

Tel: +27 82 9951510

Email: sean.bacher@gmail.com

Web: www.gadget.co.za

Skype: seanbacherza

 

South Africa's Internet growth accelerates

Arthur Goldstuck researcher World Wide WorxThe number of South African Internet users has passed the 5-million mark for the first time, finally breaking through the 10% mark in Internet penetration for the country.

This is the key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2010 study, conducted by World Wide Worx and jointly sponsored by Cisco. The headline data, released today, shows that the Internet user base grew by 15% last year, from 4,6-million to 5,3-million, and is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2010.

“The good news is that we will continue to see strong growth in 2010, and we should reach the 6-million mark by the end of the year,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.

“A sustained growth in Internet penetration is a key factor that will positively influence the economy of South Africa”, says Reshaad Sha, Senior Manager for Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. “The varied range of application services and social networking platforms used by local consumers has fuelled the uptake that we see today.”

Growth in the number of Internet users in South Africa was relatively stagnant from 2002 to 2007
, when it never rose above 7%. However, this rate almost doubled in 2008, and continued accelerating in 2009.

World Wide Worx found that the landing of a new undersea cable on the South African coast was only one of a range of factors behind the growth. Of greater significance was the granting of Electronic Communications Network Service licenses to more than 400 organisations. This meant that service providers that were previously required to buy their network access from one of the major providers, could now build their own networks or choose where they wanted to buy their access.

The result was that a market previously characterised by a limited range of providers and services suddenly exploded as small providers were able to repackage the services provided by the large telecommunications corporations in any way they wished. The large providers, in turn, began to offer far more competitive packages to both customers and resellers.

World Wide Worx found that a second key factor in growth over the past two years has been the continued uptake of broadband connectivity by small and medium enterprises migrating from dial-up connectivity. Each company moving from dial-up to ADSL, for example, extended Internet access to general office staff. This process was found to add an additional one to 20 new users to the Internet user base for every small business installing ADSL.

While the headline findings examine the general numbers of users, the final Internet Access in SA 2010 report, due to be released in March, will highlight the extent of new fibre-optic networks laid down across South African cities and between the cities. It will also examine the impact of the range of new undersea cables that will be in place by the end of 2011, and which is expected to enhance competitiveness even further.

“In the coming year, operators will begin to leverage the combination of new undersea cable capacity and new fibre-optic networks to supply corporate clients and resellers with bigger, faster and more flexible capacity,” says Goldstuck. “Almost every large player in the communications industry has realigned its business to take advantage of this relentless change.”

“South African consumers and businesses are demanding access to online applications and services that can only be experienced via high speed connectivity, such as fibre-optic networks. The year ahead will see the proliferation of high speed connectivity materialising more widely than ever before”, concludes Sha.

 

More people banking on their cellphones than on their PCs

The number of people banking from their cellphones has exceeded that of people banking from their PCs in South Africa, with more than a quarter of bank customers turning to their cellphones for services ranging from informational transaction types such as balance enquiries to financial transaction types which include account payments.

This was one of the key findings from the consumer phase of the Mobility 2009 research project, released today by leading market research organisation World Wide Worx. The study was backed by First National Bank (FNB), leaders in cellphone banking in Africa, and Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry solution.

“It is encouraging to see that not only in FNB, but across the country, cellphone banking is now part of people’s lives,” says Len Pienaar, CEO, FNB mCommerce.

The Mobility 2009 study is being conducted in four phases, with the first three looking at the use of mobile technologies by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Consumers and Corporations, and the final phase exploring the Mobile Internet.

 

Mobility 2009 reveals South Africa's cellular gap

FNB and Blackberry back 2009 study

The South African cellular market reached a milestone of 50-milion connections at the end of 2008 – but only 68% of these represented individual users.

This is the first key finding from preliminary research conducted by World Wide Worx for its 2009 annual Mobility study, backed by First National Bank (FNB), leaders in cellphone banking in Africa, and Research In Motion (RIM), the developer of the BlackBerry solution.

Their sponsorship will make it possible to uncover the most significant trends shaping smartphone usage, mobile technology, mobile commerce, the mobile Internet and cellphone banking in South Africa. The Mobility project is respected in the mobile industry for its in-depth research into mobile trends across the corporate, SME and consumer sectors.

“The research will assist in amplifying investment opportunities in the technology, says Len Pienaar, CEO, FNB`s Mobile and Transact Solutions. “In South Africa, cellphones have become the most easily accessible and convenient way of offering services to remote areas, and an understanding of cellphone usage and trends is necessary to leverage the technology effectively.”

“The findings of the preliminary research for the annual Mobility survey confirm that South Africa’s cellular market continues to enjoy robust growth, even with market penetration at around 100%,” says Deon Liebenberg, Regional Director for Sub Sahara Africa at RIM.

“Our own experience reflects that it is not only the number of cellular connections that is growing, but also the applications for which subscribers are using their smartphones. Mobility is changing people’s personal and business lives by allowing them to stay in touch with information, applications and other people wherever they are.”

Preliminary research for Mobility 2009 was based on analysis of Government and institutional data, as well as personal interviews with key role players in the cellular sector, including network operators and wireless application service providers.

The research shows that the average number of SIM connections, or active cellphone accounts, per cellphone user in South Africa began to grow steadily after pre-paid accounts were introduced in 1996. It grew from an average of 1 SIM card per phone user in 1997 to 1.2 per user in 2003 and to 1.47 per user at the end of 2008. The gap between users and connections is expected to continue to grow as both consumers and businesses find more innovative approaches to cellphone usage.

“This gives the impression that every South African has a cellphone, but that is obviously not possible,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who is leading the Mobility 2009 project. “It’s become clear that many pre-paid users have a SIM card for each major network, to avoid incurring the interconnection fee charged for calls between networks. The low cost of new SIM cards – as little as 50c for a starter pack – also gives anyone the ability to have more than one number.”

The interconnect fee adds R1.25 to the cost of every call, and has prompted new approaches to cellphone usage in South Africa. Mobility 2009 will also reveal further innovative approaches taken by both consumers and business users to make their cellular lives more effective.

“Cellphone functionality has progressively grown beyond the traditional voice and SMS. With the growing trend towards cellphone banking, mobile media, mobile marketing and mobile internet access. In-depth understanding of consumer perceptions and trends is critical in addressing the needs of the consumer,” says Pienaar.

“RIM looks forward to seeing further findings from Mobility 2009. The research should paint an interesting picture of how people and businesses in South Africa are using their smartphones to be more productive and efficient,” says Liebenberg. “It will be particularly interesting to see what the latest trends in the mobile Internet space are. We believe that there is a massive opportunity to bring mobile Internet services to more of the country’s people through affordable pre-paid services.”

ConnectionsvsUsers94-08

For more information, contact:

· Virginia Magapatona, FNB, Head of Corporate Communications, on + 27 (0) 11 371 9330 or + 27 83 257 2777 or by e-mail on VMagapatona@fnb.co.za

· Christa Botha, Corporate Communications: Sub-Sahara Africa Research In Motion, on +27 82 562 5264 or by e-mail on cbotha@rim.com

* Arthur Goldstuck, MD, World Wide Worx, on +27 11 782-7003 or by e-mail on arthur@worldwideworx.com

 

New undersea cable part of 100-fold bandwidth increase

The announcement today of a formal agreement for the construction of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) by all South Africa’s major telecommunications operators sets the scene for total international bandwidth capacity coming into Africa growing more than a hundredfold by the end of 2011.

The Internet Access in South Africa 2008 study, conducted by World Wide Worx and supported by Cisco Systems, shows that international bandwidth available to sub-Saharan Africa was a mere 80 Gigabits per second at the end of 2008. This was split between the Telkom-controlled SAT3/SAFE cable and the West African Atlantis-2 cable.

But, according to the report, the capacity will rise to around 10 Terabits per second by the end of 2011, or 120 times the 208 capacity. This growth will be the cumulative result of the existing SAT3 cable being upgraded, three major new cables becoming operational this year, another two in 2010, and the WACS cable in 2011.

These figures exclude capacity available to North African countries that have access to a network of cables criss-crossing the Mediterranean.

Says Reshaad Sha, Senior Manager of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, “It is encouraging to witness and be part of the telecommunications revolution that Africa is currently undergoing. The role that the undersea cable operators will play is crucial to both the developmental and economic agendas that have and are being set by African Governments.”

The confirmed new cables due to serve West, East and Southern Africa are:

  • SEACOM, East and Southern Africa, 1.28Tb/s – Due end June 2009
  • GLO-1, West Africa,640 Gb/s, ready for operations, 2009
  • TEAMS, East and Southern Africa, 120Gb/s – Due September 2009
  • EASSy East and Southern Africa, 1.Tb/s – Due June 2010
  • MainOne, West Africa, 1.92Tb/s, due 2010
  • WACS, West and Southern Africa, 3.8Tb/s, Due 2011

“The WACS agreement puts in place the final spark for the broadband revolution that is about to sweep Africa,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “The real significance of all these undersea cables is that they will in turn lead to further infrastructure expansion to bring this bandwidth to end-users, especially in the business world.”

Cisco’s Sha concurs: “The telecoms operators and governments are still required to fulfil the role of delivering this connectivity to their citizens. This will probably be the most challenging role in realising the benefits of the terabits of bandwidth that will be reaching the African coastlines.”

The Internet Access in South Africa 2008 report includes an overview of each of these cables and a timeline for their implementation.

Media contacts

For comment on this press release, please contact Zweli Mnisi, PR Manager: Cisco South Africa

Cell: +27 83 616 6175 Email: zmnisi@cisco.com

For further information, please contact Arthur Goldstuck at World Wide Worx, on 011 782 7003 or 083 326 4345, or e-mail arthur@worldwideworx.com

 

Democratic Alliance leads elections race in Internet performance

An in-depth analysis of the Internet strategy of the main political parties in South Afrca’s 2009 general elections reveals that the Democratic Alliance has a substantial lead in online performance over its rivals. The African National Congress comes in a distant second, narrowly ahead of the Congress of the People. The United Democratic Movement and Independent Democrats, in turn, are well behind COPE, while the Inkatha Freedom Party trails so far behind, its web presence is described as “damaging”.

The first formal web site benchmarking survey of South African political parties was released today by World Wide Worx, which uses its Webagility system to evaluate and benchmark web site usability and strategy of companies, organisations and institutions in South Africa and globally.

The Webagility system breaks the analysis down into several modules, including usability, social media, campaign effectiveness, and content strategy. Each module contains up to 30 micro-elements, which are each assigned a score, providing a detailed measure of overall effectiveness of online presence. Webagility has been used to analyse sites for clients as diverse as major retailers, banks, bookstores, the City of Jo’burg, SA Revenue Services, the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and Wits University.

“The DA site achieves only an average score from a usability point of view, but their content strategy sets them apart,” says Steven Ambrose, manage director of WWW Strategy, which conducts the Webagility analyses on behalf of World Wide Worx. Ambrose heads up the Webagility team of analysts. “Benchmarked against global best practise, the DA scores 81% on content strategy, against 64% by the ANC and 60% by COPE.”

In usability, the DA score drops to 69%, while the ANC is consistent at 63% and COPE drops to 57%. Campaign effectiveness sees similar ratings for the DA, at 65%, while the ANC scores only 48%, COPE 45% and the UDM comparing well with these at 43%.

The much vaunted use of social media like blogging, Facebook and YouTube by the political parties is revealed by the analysis to lag behind global best practise. While the DA still leads substantially here, its benchmarked score drops to 69%. The ANC plummets to 47% and COPE 43%.

“The difference lies not so much in what they are doing, but in how they are doing it,” says Ambrose. “The ANC have clearly invested heavily in their online presence, and their YouTube site looks most impressive at first sight. But it is put to very poor use, with uninspiring content, and little opportunity for voter engagement. The DA, on the other hand, has spent less money on the Internet, but scores far higher due to the direct engagement of its own representatives. Their blogs are not only relevant, but interesting, so it comes across as real engagement rather than a public relations exercise.”

The overall Webagility scores of the major parties, benchmarked against global best practice, are:

  • DA: 76%
  • ANC: 61%
  • COPE: 56%
  • UDM: 43%
  • ID: 32%
  • IFP: 23%

“The poor performance of the IFP web site, which our system characterises as ‘potentially damaging’, is a reflection of the reality that the IFP does not expect its target voter audience to be found among Internet users,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “It is probably not vote-effective for them to spend too much energy online. The ID’s performance is more a reflection of poor understanding of online strategy, with its leader famous for her attacks on blogs.”

Goldstuck adds that the DA has clearly done its homework on the Obama campaign in the USA, which set the standard globally for embracing the Internet in political campaigning.

Says Goldstuck, “We have nothing like that kind of sophistication in South Africa, but lessons are being learned fast.”

A PowerPoint presentation summarising the Webagility analysis can be downloaded at the World Wide Worx web site.

Media contacts

· * For comment on this press release, please contact Steven Ambrose, MD of WWW Strategy, on 011 782 0045 or 083 601 0333, or e-mail steven@wwwstrategy.co.za

· * For further information, please contact Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, on 011 782 7003 or 083 326 4345, or e-mail arthur@worldwideworx.com