South Africa’s top magazines according to Facebook

Last week, I was interested to read a post by MediaSlut that listed the top South African magazine brands in terms of Twitter followers. I decided to do a corresponding survey of SA magazine brands on Facebook.

I used the Audit Bureau of Circulation(ABC) list of South African consumer magazines and searched for more than 100 of the titles on Facebook. Unfortunately, Facebook’s search is not great and there are many unofficial pages and groups. I also looked on magazine websites for links to their fan pages.

Where publications have international versions, the numbers given are for the South African titles’ Fan Pages. I’ve indicated where groups or people are being used rather than pages. Fan numbers are as of 16 and 17 February 2011.

No. Magazine No.of Fans
1 Huisgenoot 136831
2 Baba & Kleuter 43570
3 SA Sports Illustrated 29011
4 Getaway 24344
5 YOU 21226
6 Shape 18998
7 Leef 18900
8 Speed and Sound 17041
9 KickOff 15349
10 Cosmopolitan

Five points of interest:

  1. Dominance of female conversation
  2. Six of the top 10 SA magazines on Facebook could be considered women’s titles. It’s becoming generally recognised that social media is dominated by women (see this TED talk on ‘Social Media and the End of Gender‘). This seems to confirm the female bias of social media for South African magazine brands.

  3. Social media audiences overtake print
  4. Already many print publications are seeing their combined digital audiences outgrow their print readership. Baba & Kleuter shows how this can happen on a single social media platform. The magazine’s ABC print circulation is just more than 17 700 but they have 43 570 Facebook fans. Sports Illustrated is another title whose 29 000+ Facebook fans outnumber their ABC of 24 788.

  5. And social media audiences lag behind print
  6. Some relatively large print titles have surprisingly small presences on Facebook. For example, People, which has a print circulation of 87 578, has only 857 fans. Oprah Magazine, with an ABC of more than 52 000, is exactly the sort of title you’d expect to have a fantastic presence on Facebook, as its content is practically tailor-made for social media, yet they have only 338 fans.

  7. A fairly fragmented approach
  8. Of the top 10 South African magazine brands on Twitter according to MediaSlut, only four are also among the top 10 on Facebook. This suggests a fragmented approach to social media by some magazine brands, targeting one major platform, rather than drawing value from both. Entrepreneur magazine is a case in point. I’m currently the only fan of its Facebook page, while @Entrepreneur_SA has 1 422 followers on Twitter.

  9. A little bit lily white?
  10. Perhaps I’m imagining things, but only two magazines targeted at black audiences made it onto the list. DRUM is doing reasonably well on Facebook, with more than 9 000 fans, so potential for black magazine audiences on social media is demonstrable. However, I couldn’t find Facebook pages for Bona, Move! or True Love, which have huge ABCs of 94 961, 138 970 and 82 535 respectively.

This was purely a quantitative study, so I won’t make any comments about the quality of engagement evident on these Facebook pages. But I think the numbers speak for themselves to some extent. See full list of Magazines on Facebook here.



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