Study: TikTok becomes second biggest social media platform in South Africa


In the fast-paced world of social media, platforms rise and fall in popularity, constantly vying for the attention of users. South Africa has witnessed a significant shift in the rankings of the “Big Five” social media platforms, with TikTok dethroning Instagram to secure the second position. This seismic change challenges Facebook’s longstanding dominance in the country. A recent study conducted by brand intelligence consultancy Ornico and market research house World Wide Worx provides valuable insights into the evolving social media landscape in South Africa.

Facebook’s Continuing Dominance

According to the South African Social Media Landscape 2023 study, Facebook maintains its stronghold as the most widely used social media platform in South Africa. With an impressive penetration rate of 56.7 percent among South Africans aged 15 and over in urban areas, Facebook remains the undisputed leader in the market. This dominance is attributed to its robust user base and extensive reach.

TikTok’s Rapid Rise

However, the study reveals an intriguing development: TikTok’s rapid ascent to claim the second position. Surpassing Instagram, TikTok now holds a penetration rate of 30.6 percent, showcasing its widespread appeal and growing influence. Interestingly, TikTok’s popularity extends beyond its target audience of under-15 users, making significant inroads into the 15+ market segment.

Instagram’s Resilience

While TikTok has made impressive strides, Instagram continues to be a popular choice among South African social media users. With a penetration rate of 27.6 percent, Instagram retains its loyal fanbase and remains a significant player in the country’s social media landscape. The platform’s focus on visual content and its diverse range of features contribute to its continued appeal.

Twitter’s Steady Position

Taking the fourth spot, Twitter maintains a respectable penetration rate of 22.5 percent in South Africa. Despite not matching the dominance of Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram, Twitter’s real-time updates and conversational nature attract a dedicated user base. It remains a key platform for news, trends, and engaging discussions.

LinkedIn’s Professional Niche

In fifth place, LinkedIn stands apart as a professional networking platform. While its penetration rate of 14.7 percent is lower than the top four contenders, it remains commendable for a platform that primarily targets professionals. Although not as appealing to the youth market, LinkedIn continues to serve as a valuable resource for networking, career development, and business opportunities.

Study Methodology

The South African Social Media Landscape 2023 study drew insights from a combination of data sources. These included Ask Afrika’s Target Group Index, which surveyed 24,744 respondents, as well as Ornico and World Wide Worx’s own survey of social media usage by South Africa’s biggest brands. This comprehensive approach ensures a robust understanding of social media trends and preferences across the country.


The rise of TikTok as a formidable challenger to Facebook’s dominance in South Africa’s social media landscape highlights the dynamic nature of the industry. As platforms evolve and user preferences shift, marketers and brands must stay attuned to the changing trends to effectively reach their target audiences. Facebook’s commanding lead, TikTok’s rapid growth, Instagram’s resilience, Twitter’s steady position, and LinkedIn’s niche appeal all provide valuable insights for businesses aiming to harness the power of social media in South Africa. By leveraging the unique strengths of each platform, brands can navigate this evolving landscape and engage with their audiences more effectively.