Content media

TikTok content out of SA inspires some global brands

  • TikTok is the world’s fastest growing social media platform, and South African brands are now scrambling to partner with content creators to create ‘ads that don’t look like ads’ .
  • And thanks to the creativity and diversity of the country, this content is attracting global attention.
  • Global brands are now looking to South Africa for ideas and inspiration rather than the other way around.
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TikTok content creators in South Africa are influencing global trends and inspiring innovative brand partnerships as adoption of the social media platform in the country increases.

The video streaming app, which launched globally just five years ago, has over 1 billion monthly active users, making it one of the fastest growing social media platforms and most downloaded at the start of 2022.

It is estimated that around 6 million South Africans use TikTok daily, according to the latest Social Media Landscape Report. But the exact number of users is difficult to determine because TikTok does not reveal regional data. And although South African TikTok users do not outnumber those active on Facebook or Instagram, the short-form video streaming platform is gaining momentum and demanding the attention of local brands.

“I’m really excited about the South African market and this connection with creators, given the creativity of the South African community as well as the diversity of these creators,” said Scott Thwaites, Head of Business Partnerships at TikTok. for games and new markets in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan (METAP), told Business Insider SA.

“These ingredients are an incredibly good fit with TikTok, so we’re seeing a lot of traction with creators on the platform and brands are using and working with those creators so they can share those brand messages and drive the business impact of that. Mark. [that] are looking for advertisers.”

Thwaites’ own expectations of brand partnerships – which remain the only way for creators to monetize their content in South Africa – are supported by World Wide Worx’s Social Media Landscape report. The industry survey found TikTok to be the “big winner” which has more than doubled its penetration among major brands to 25% in the past year.

This growth is not expected to slow, with an additional 13% of brands surveyed saying they plan to use TikTok next year. “No other platform is expected to grow more than 7% in penetration,” noted World Wide Worx.

And it’s not just local brands that are turning to South African content creators for ideas. TikTok content and partnerships already coming out of South Africa are being researched and adopted by global companies.

“In many ways we are really introducing what is happening in South Africa to our global market,” Thwaites said.

“The market is a bit more agile, it can move a bit faster, [and] you have all these ingredients that match TikTok in an amazing way. So it’s not that South Africa is looking to Europe or the United States, or what we define as a more developed market…there are many examples where South Africa is setting the reference, especially with creative content. »

Companies like King Price, Dotsure and Yoco were listed as a few examples of South African brands making great use of TikTok by partnering with local creatives to create “ads that don’t look like ads”.

“They’re probably leading the game in a lot of ways, and to share and present that to the global market, I wouldn’t necessarily say [South Africa] is a follower,” Thwaites said.

TikTok’s South African exports go beyond brand inspiration and in recent years have taken on a cultural twist that speaks to Thwaites’ “ingredients” of creativity and diversity in a musical sense. In 2020, Amapiano — an electronic dance music genre that combines melodious piano tunes with drum and bass sounds — exploded onto TikTok.

By July of that year, #Amapiano had reached over 73 million views on TikTok. Today, this hashtag has reached over 5.2 billion views, propelling this unique South African genre onto the world stage.

“This [the popularity of Amapiano on TikTok] is extremely important, and this comes back to the question [of] are the brands looking to the US or the UK and translating that? And it’s quite the opposite,” Thwaites said.

“There is as much influx from South Africa to the international market as there is influx to the platform, and [South Africa] has amazing things to be proud of, and those are growing and spreading beyond TikTok and onto the international stage. These musical themes and trends will be just one example.”