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Instagram Advertising In SA

To many of us, Instagram seems pretty entrenched in daily life now. Some of you probably think in filters and framing and many people can’t go at least a day without finding one thing to post. Considering its ubiquity, it’s almost hard to believe the app is only five years old; and considering how quickly some companies have taken to it, it’s even stranger to think that it’s paid for public advertising platform only launched on 30 September 2015.

Of course, while South Africans love social media just as much as anyone else, local marketing teams tend to exercise a little more caution before leaping onto the passing app of the moment, preferring to see how platforms perform before getting too deeply involved in the process of building up profile. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a quick look at how Instagram and Instagram advertising have been performing with local audiences.

SA Social Media Landscape 2016 Report (from World Wide Worx and Fuseware)

Instagram is the country’s fastest growing social media platform. The local user base has more than doubled since 2014, going from 1.1 million to 2.68 million. It also shows the highest planned use by major brands for social networks, with 24% of brands saying they plan to launch their Instagram campaigns and profiles in the coming year.

As with all social platforms, it’s a good idea to check that the environment and the brand fit. Instagram isn’t known for having the same kind of reach as, say, Facebook. However, its penetration is considered more valuable. In other words, with Instagram in South Africa (and anywhere else, really), you reach fewer people, but they are usually the right people. It’s all about an enhanced experience based on relevant interests that are easily managed through the hashtag system. That’s usually why Instagram is the better choice for smaller brands looking to craft a distinctive (and usually visual) brand identity that relies in high engagement with an active audience.

That’s not to say it’s only for the smaller creatives. Right now 42% of major local brands are using the tool and there are a few that are performing incredibly well. In terms of responses to individual images, Mr Price and Mercedes Benz have been getting the biggest responses and it’s not hard to see why. The images are bold, carefully considered and expertly crafted to align with the brand personality; which is what matters. It just goes to show that South Africans are ready to take up the mantle of a mobile audience; now it’s up to local brands to find them.


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