Making Instagram a South African Hit


Photo and video sharing social network Instagram has hit 300 million monthly users, toppling Twitter as one of the world’s most popular applications. Who knew selfies and food photos could be so influential?

Sunset train ride home from work in Jozi. Photo by @stickylittleleaves #ThisIsSouthAfrica

A photo posted by southafrica (@southafrica) on

In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said that the company was focused on becoming a broadcaster of images from around the world with a diverse user base.

“What we need to do is figure out how to take the fact that everyone’s contributing in the world and broadcast that more globally,” Systrom said.

According to technology research giant, World Wide Worx, the photo app has “exploded in use in South Africa” growing from 100,000 users to 680,000 in just one year.

But in South Africa Twitter still rules. Twitter, which has around 284 million users worldwide, is is currently the fastest growing application in South Africa, rising from 2,4-million users in 2013 to 5,5-million in 2014.

Instagram has become a hub for SA’s rich and famous to show off, for the fashion conscious to strut their stuff, and for users to share snapshots of their daily life, whether it be food the’ve eaten, trends they’ve spotted, or what they’re wearing.

Street fashion in Joburg City. #Africanstyle #Fashion #Africanfashion #Jozi #igersjozi

A photo posted by Ihsaan Haffejee (@ihsaan_haffo) on

With Instagram now available on Android phones, the use of which are fast growing in South Africa, the number of users in the country is expected to grow dramatically.

Already the proliferation of affordable smartphones in SA, has helped bring previously excluded groups from the low end of the mobile market into the world of social media. The only thing standing in Instagram’s way in SA, may be the data charges. For Instagram – which has seen its user base increasing by at least 100% each year – to keep growing in SA, mobile data must first become more affordable.

Read more about Instagram’s worldwide explosion on BBC Newsbeat.



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