The most popular social networks in sub-Sahara Africa

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The prospects of mobile technologies in 2015 are increasingly looking marvellous. For smartphones and applications in particular, new innovations as well as new context of usage will are starting to emerge in ways that haven’t been seen or experienced before. Wearable technologies haven’t quite hit the critical mass yet, but according to projections, this could be the year. Okay, well, except for the google glass project.

While it’s still early in 2015, it is always useful to retrospectively analyse certain trends in order to make informed projections about the year ahead. In particular, we were interested in understanding the google search trends of social networks ( i.e Mxit, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook) in the context of South Africa and Africa. As always, Google trends tool, generated some very interesting findings. Let’s take a look.

Mxit vs whatsapp

Mxit was once dubbed Africa’s biggest social network? But that has changed since the arrival of whatsapp. In just a few years, whatsapp was able to surpass Mxit’s popularity in terms of search terms, and it appears that there is an inverse relationship in terms of popularity between the two applications with the inflection point in mid 2012.

Twitter vs Facebook vs Instagram In South Africa and most countries in Africa, Facebook is still the undisputed king of social.

Twitter vs Instagram

When we probed and compared search data between twitter and instagram, the findings were astounding. For the first time in five years, instagram surpassed twitter’s popularity in search terms. Although it might be very difficult to predict at this moment, but it seems, this trend will continue for the next months or years.
The same is true for Nigeria. There also seems to be an inverse relationship between the two.  The inflection point is imminent. In Ghana it has already happened. Instagram has surpassed Twitter.  


However, the East African context generated some mixed results. For example, in Rwanda instagram has only just recently overtaken Twitter. In Tanzania, instagram’s popularity has doubled while twitter has plummeted. However, in Kenya, and Uganda Twitter remains far ahead.


Perhaps Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has some influence in Instagram’s high popularity in sub-Sahara Africa given Facebook’s own popularity in the region. Nevertheless, the real meaning we can derive from all this data is that, social media managers looking for engagement amongst Africans should pay serious attention to Instagram.

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