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Instagram and LinkedIn are showing strong growth in South Africa, despite claims of “social media fatigue” by some, a new survey has revealed.
The Facebook-owned platform
“Instagram has experienced a massive increase in SA users, although not quite in the triple digits like the year before,” said Ornico research consultant Michal Wronski.
The survey suggested that the network was growing up as well.
“The top 25 most followed people are similar to the year before, indicating a maturing of the network as audiences have consolidated.”
LinkedIn taking the silent approach
As for LinkedIn, the report noted that the business-focused social network has been “continuously showing double digit growth” for many years, giving it a massive user-base in South Africa.
“Although never as popular as more mainstream networks, it has shown more consistent growth and has become a go-to platform for business content and news. In a surprising insight, LinkedIn has become one of the top grossing apps in SA on iOS devices, beating many popular games,” Wronski explained.
Engagement on the top platforms has increased ‘phenomenally’ in 2016
The survey also found that user engagement on social media increased dramatically once again, bucking expectations from some quarters.
“Despite the phrase ‘social media fatigue’ on people’s lips for at least the past couple of years, engagement on the top platforms has increased phenomenally in 2016, far in excess of audience size increases. The top photos on Instagram, for example, receive almost four times the engagement they did the year before, indicating higher engagement levels with the same audiences.”
How does LinkedIn compare to others?
Wronski touched on LinkedIn’s local success in an interview with Memeburn, but noted that a comparison with Instagram wasn’t quite straightforward.
“LinkedIn has become a key content consumption hub for the professional crowd of all ages, with many brands following suit and using LinkedIn for publishing important news and relevant content around their industries. Instagram engagement is far higher than LinkedIn, but the audience and content are very different,” he explained.
“A brand needs to first identify which networks are most suitable for their marketing messages and optimise strategy using analytics and measurement across a select few. Casting a wide net across many different networks too early is a sub-optimal strategy that will yield low returns.”
What about Snapchat?
The interview also saw Wronski shed some light on current social media darling Snapchat.
“Snapchat has had a strong uptake in the younger segments, with a proliferation of usage amongst the 18-24 year old crowd. The unique video filters in the app are spurring much of this growth, in a similar way to how Instagram’s filters helped it gain traction years ago,” he explained.
Wronski noted that there was a big opportunity for brands to tell “meaningful stories” with so-called influencers.
“However, SA brands have always been slow to adopt new networks, and Snapchat is no exception to this. Without a doubt, we will see more brands dipping their toes in the water in 2017,” the research consultant noted.
Social media’s local obstacles
There were still several local challenges for brands wanting to use social media in South Africa, Wronski added.
“The challenges faced by brands have certainly become more pronounced in recent years, with the key issues being around ensuring sufficient infrastructure to accurately monitor, measure and engage with social audiences in an authentic way. Budget has traditionally been a large constraint to social media campaigns, but this has become a lesser issue in recent years.”
The majority of social content on Instagram, LinkedIn is published via mobile devices
From a consumer perspective, mobile data has traditionally been a big obstacle, but data usage is growing nonetheless, Wronski noted.
“Mobile data pricing is still a strong deterrent to consuming video content on social media, indicated by the strong negative backlash Facebook faced when it enabled automatic video plays in mobile newsfeeds. Aside from video, social media usage on mobile has only become larger, with 80-90% of all social content posted from mobile devices.”
To register for the Cape Town leg of the Social Media Landscape 2017 Survey, click here.
Those wanting to register for the Johannesburg leg of the Social Media Landscape 2017 Survey can do so here.