Facebook remains king of social media in Africa

Image: A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013. Facebook Inc's mobile advertising revenue growth gained momentum in the first three months of the year as the social network sold more ads to users on smartphones and tablets, partially offsetting higher spending which weighed on profits. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS) - RTXZ81J

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in Africa, despite the growing popularity of TikTok.

A recent Social Media Usage report by GeoPoll reveals that the number of social media users in Africa has steadily increased, with the total now surpassing 384 million. Facebook maintains its dominant position with a staggering 170 million active users, accounting for approximately 44% of Africa’s social media enthusiasts.

TikTok, while gaining ground rapidly, stands as the second most engaging platform with a 60% active user rate, indicating its surging popularity among African youth. Instagram follows closely with a 54% user engagement rate, while Twitter and LinkedIn hold respective active user percentages of 49% and 28%.

The GeoPoll report further delves into the different purposes that drive African users to each social media platform.

Communication, entertainment, news, and updates were identified as key drivers of social media usage on the continent. For instance, 68% of surveyed users turn to social media platforms to discover news and stay updated on current events. In contrast, Facebook serves as a platform for socializing, with 49% of users using it to make new friends and engage in social interactions.

TikTok has carved a niche as an entertainment and learning platform. An impressive 73% of respondents use TikTok primarily for watching and sharing short-form videos, while 72% view it as a source of entertainment. Remarkably, 61% of users turn to TikTok as a learning platform to acquire new skills, underscoring its educational value despite concerns about sexualized content.

Instagram stands out as a trend-following platform, with 61% of users using it to keep up with the latest trends and follow influencers and celebrities. Additionally, 59% of users utilize Instagram as a visual memory vault, uploading photos and moments that matter to them.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter emerged as the go-to platform for staying updated on news and current affairs, with 78% of respondents citing it as their primary use. Additionally, 59% use Twitter to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in thought-provoking discussions and debates.

LinkedIn remains firmly rooted in its professional niche, with 87% of active users turning to the platform for job hunting and career advancement.

The GeoPoll survey also examined the impact of social media on African users.

An overwhelming 80% of respondents admitted to purchasing a product or service advertised on social media, highlighting the pivotal role that social media plays in e-commerce and advertising in Africa. Due to the ease of access provided by mobile phones, Africans spend an average of 3 to 6 hours per day on social media platforms. Interestingly, 61% of those surveyed reported that social media has positively impacted their mental health.

GeoPoll conducted this insightful survey in four African countries—Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa—in August 2023, gathering data from 4,170 participants. The report provides valuable insights into Africa’s evolving social media landscape and its multifaceted influence on the continent’s diverse population.

In conclusion, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in Africa, but TikTok is gaining ground rapidly. African users turn to different platforms for different purposes, with communication, entertainment, news, and updates being the key drivers of social media usage on the continent.

Social media plays a significant role in e-commerce and advertising in Africa, and it has a positive impact on the mental health of many users.

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