Facebook and the South African user

Ask anyone today about Facebook and they’ll either tell you how much they love it or how much they hate it. People tend to blabber about Facebook and Facebook. On a quest to find stats on South African social media users, we stumbled on a few interesting facts about Facebook and thought it would be interesting to understand the South African Facebook user. The fact that 85% of Facebook’s daily active users are outside of the U.S and Canada, sparked the interest in South Africa’s stats.

To put it into context, as of March 2017 there are 1.28 billion daily active users and 1.94 billion monthly active users as of the 31st of March 2017. These are global statistics. Did you know that Facebook has only been around since 1 March 2004?

The world knows South Africa for our rich cultural history, yet do they know enough about the typical South African Facebook user. Working in the communications industry we are always told to understand the consumer completely, who they are – male or female, what they do, where they are geographically and their interests. There are currently 14 million Facebook users within South Africa (*September 2016), a number given by  Michal Wronski and Arthur Goldstuck. This is 25,47% of the South African population. Read more: http://www.fin24.com/Tech/Multimedia/infographic-sa-social-media-by-the-numbers-20160920-2

Take a second to think about the following question: What do you think of when you describe the typical South African Facebook user? Young, a fashion/food/wine blogger, 25 – 40 years old, or people trying to stay abreast of trends?

Age and Gender statistics:

  • 31% of both male and female users are between the age of 18 and 24
  • The age group 24 – 34 only differs with 3%, 34% females and 37% of females
  • 15 % of both male and female users are between the age of 35 – 44 years old
  • Users aged 65 and up only account for 6 % females and 5% males.

The stats won’t surprise many of you, but it is interesting to see how similar the percentage genders are. This is also useful when deciding what social media pages to use for your brand when deciding to create a page for your business and how much time and money you want to invest in the platform. We’d suggest understanding what age groups your brand falls into using your Facebook analytics tool. Monitor it over a period of time, to see if the numbers change and what were the influencing factors – e.g. new stock, sales, promotions, events etc.

Location and your Targeted LSM:

Looking at the geographical stats, it shows that 18% of Facebook users are in Cape Town, while Pretoria and Johannesburg have 25% and 26% respectively. Ethekwini, KwaZulu-Nata only accounts for 11%.

Tip: It’s important to think about the size of your business/brand when looking at your social media statistics. Look at successful brands you admire and how they use their Facebook platform. You will probably be able to see the link between who their customers are and what they say on their page.


We could go on forever with the numbers, but the last influencing factor in the South African context for Facebook statistics is employment – what people do for a living. According to the information we extracted on the 5th of May 2017, 27% of Facebook users in South Africa fulfil administrative positions, 18% work in production and 12% in the art, entertainment, sport, media industry. To play devil’s advocate we’d pose the question: Do you think people post their employment category online? How many people can you think of, that does that?

It is all good and well to know general demographics, but let’s take a look at what pages people are looking at. We log onto Facebook to check out our favourite comedian, sports stars, musicians and what is happening in the world, sharing the common thirst to avoid #FOMO (fear of missing out). Here is a list of the top pages and their likes. (Data sourced  on the 5th of May using the Facebook analytics tool) Check out the list below, do you think these stats reflect what is current? Who do you think should be at the top of the list.

Trevor Noah’s number 1 spot is expected because of his recent success on the daily show. Sports, news, retail and music are the top 4 categories that feature on the Top 20. Spur Steak Ranches rate at number 15 with 934.6 K likes.

While we are on the topic of likes, feel free to head to the Airborne Experience Facebook page and tap on the like button.

Continue reading…

Page Relevance Facebook likes
Facebook for Every Phone 1 308.9m
Trevor Noah 2 3.5m
Kaizer Chiefs 3 1.7m
News24.com 4 4.5m
Pick n Pay 5 1.5m
Ford South Africa 6 1.2m
Cassper Nyovest 7 1.7m
MTN South Africa 8 1.1m
Black Coffee 9 1.3m
Soccer-Laduma 10 1.7m

Did you know?

  • Facebook users spend 3X more time watching live videos than traditional videos
  • Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.
  • 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound.
  • Facebook users watch 8 billion videos per day.

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.00001svrmbktuefj3rsmh1j0m5o3w  

You’ve read the stats, gotten a few tips, understand Facebook a bit better, the conclusion is yours to draw.