A report published by World Wide Worx yesterday found that as many as 10 million of South Africa’s 13 million Facebook users are accessing the social networking website via a mobile platform.
Of these, 7.9 million South Africans use a smartphone to access the social network while access from a tablet accounts for 1.4 million access requests. The interesting number here is that 1.6 million South Africans are using a feature phone (a mobile phone with access to the internet and media playing capabilities but without the advanced technology found in smartphones) to access the social network.
Despite fears that the social network is losing traction this is not the case according Gil Sperling, co-founder and chief technical officer of Facebook Marketing Partner in Africa, Popimedia. “Solid growth of daily active users was recorded even in Facebook’s most mature and saturated markets. Social media applications are maintaining their relevance across all demographics and regions,” he said.
According to the author of the report, managing director of World Wide Worx Arthur Goldstruck said the popularity of visual networks are also on the rise. Facebook’s image sharing app, Instagram, has also seen rapid growth in South Africa over the last year with user numbers climbing from 1.1 million users in 2014 to 2.68 million users this year.
Interestingly, brands seem to be slow on the uptake of Instagram with only 42% of major brands actively engaging with users on the platform however 24% of brands not on Instagram plan to be join the social network at some point next year.
Mike Wronski, managing director at media analytics organisation, Fuseware explained how this growth can benefit brands in a statement to the media saying “As brands become more comfortable with specific social networks, they become far more effective at using them as marketing and positioning platforms. Instagram is already the big winner among users. Brands want to tap into that enthusiasm.”[Image by CC 2.0 – Johan Larsson]