Sailing in 2020 Social Trends

From the rise in stories, new video edits and vintage filters, the best of social media in 2019 is coming to a very quick close.

Excitingly though, is the rise in interesting comebacks and increased evidence of customized platform-use, not to mention key advancements in data security. For brands, and influencers, strategic presence, collaborations and audience content consumption insights will become even more important as we sail into 2020.

#1: YouTube is the new YouTube

Although it will be celebrating its 15th birthday in February of 2020, YouTube is on the up again after a dip in users during the launch of native videos on Facebook. More and more, South Africans are turning to the video platform for a variety of reasons, including education, entertainment, and the latest news updates. The most watched channels in SA include Kruger Sightings, Die Antwoord, Kids Cartoons, and the SABC News Channel.

YouTube has continued to grow again, becoming the second most popular social network in SA after WhatsApp, having overtaken Facebook in the last year. So why will this continue to grow in 2020?

South Africans are spending an average of 32 minutes on the platform at a time and watch 78 million videos every month collectively. Despite our expensive data costs in SA, 84% of internet users in SA access YouTube. This means there is a huge opportunity for brands as consumer patterns are shifting to accommodate long form content.

#2: Audio over the written word

As we become more and more inclined to multitask, listening to podcasts while driving, working, or cooking will start to become the norm. Although a large majority of South Africans still prefer to watch podcast videos, audio streaming is on the rise and will certainly become a part of everyday life. In 2018, podcast consumption grew by 50% in South Africa, and it’s not scheduled to slow down anytime soon.

For brands this is a great way to start communicating with audiences regularly, as producing and streaming audio can be cost effective, and does not have the same regulatory challenges that radio does.

#3: My data, my business

We have already seen major steps being taken by Facebook this year in terms of privacy and data protection, and South Africans are starting to become much more aware of their personal information. Aside from simple privacy settings, things like anonymous contributions to Facebook Groups, Three Step Authenticator processes, voice control, and biometrics will be embraced even further in 2020 to ensure that our data remains ours. With the recent implementation of POPI, we also expect to see government tolerance levels around brands that choose to ignore regulations – something consumers will be watching closely.

#4: Social as a Search Engine

Although Google is still the most commonly visited site by South Africans, it is becoming more common for internet users to leverage specific platforms for specific needs. For example, job seekers will search directly in LinkedIn, YouTube will be the first port of call for How-To content, and Twitter searches will provide the latest updates on news agenda items.

But what does this mean for businesses?

Well, if you’re not leveraging the platforms with relevant content and advertising spend, chances are these social networks won’t favour your brand in terms of serving up information during these searches. Now more than ever, brands will need to be strategically focused on where they have a presence and commit to investing in those spaces.

#5: Live or it didn’t happen

The need for information immediacy is being taken to new levels, as consumers want to see the action as it happens. As technology and access improves, so will the demand live streaming of events, performances, speeches, and breaking news incidents.

However, with this trend, South Africans will also be more specific about the kind of content they choose to consume. During this shift, brands need to focus more on meaningful engagements with considered communities, rather than mass reach and growth.


Wendy Meyer, Social & Innovation Lead