According to new research by Ornico, a brand intelligence consultancy, and technology research house World Wide Worx, the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok, owned by ByteDance, has become the second most popular social media platform in South Africa, second only to Facebook.

Facebook Remains Dominant

The research, entitled “South African Social Media Landscape 2023”, found that Facebook continues to dominate the social media scene in South Africa with a commanding 56.7% penetration of South Africans aged 15 and over, living in cities and towns.

Explosive Growth of TikTok

However, TikTok has seen explosive growth and has surpassed Instagram to claim second position with a 30.6% penetration. Notably, TikTok’s appeal extends beyond its under-15 target audience and has made significant inroads into the 15+ market.

The data for the research is based on Ask Afrika’s Target Group Index, which surveyed 24,744 respondents. The data is weighted to the population and represents 28.1 million South Africans.

Youth Audience Key to Social Media in South Africa

According to Arthur Goldstuck, head of World Wide Worx, “The youth audience is key to social media in South Africa. When a platform like TikTok, which has deep reach among those aged under 15, breaks through to this extent in the older youth market, as well as among young adults, we can see the landscape undergoing a significant shift.”

Instagram and Twitter Remain Popular

Despite TikTok’s growth, Instagram remains a popular choice among South African social media users with a 27.6% penetration. Twitter also retains a significant following with 22.5% of the market despite its troubled takeover by Elon Musk. However, Twitter experienced a significant decline in the percentage of major brands using it as a marketing platform, dropping from 69% to 63%, compared to a high of 88% in 2019.

LinkedIn: A Professional Networking Platform

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is far behind with a 14.7% penetration but this is considered healthy for a professional networking platform that does not hold youth appeal.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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