Unmetric logotype

6 Social Media Trends in the South African Insurance Industry

An analysis of 2.5 million user interactions across 37,416 pieces of brand content generated by 15 insurance brands from South Africa

It can be tough for insurance brands to engage their target audience on social media. No one particularly wants to buy insurance against something which may or may not happen, but still, marketers must convince people to do so. Social media has opened up new avenues for insurance companies to reach their customers to both engage and support them. On Facebook and Instagram, brands are discovering that videos are the way forward to garner engagement, while on Twitter, providing customer service is a great way to reach and support new and existing customers.

To find out what trends are driving the South African insurance industry on social media, we have put together this report for you. For example, one insurance brand in this report has decided that Facebook is the best way to sell its policies and pours all of its advertising money into links rather than any other kind of content.

The following 15 brands were analysed for this report:

All data and charts sourced from: Unmetric Social Media Intelligence Platform

Where is the Growth for Insurance Brands?

Facebook is the dominant social network for insurance companies when it comes to both audience size and growth. Despite brands growing at an equal rate on Instagram as on Facebook, the former's audience size is far smaller. It would take several years of high growth rates to reach the audience sizes seen on Twitter and LinkedIn. A surprising find from this analysis is how large the audience size is on LinkedIn. Twitter is usually the second most popular social network for brands in other industries, but for insurance companies, it is LinkedIn.

What do South African Insurance Brands Talk About?

Using Unmetric Discover, a searchable database of over 500,000,000 pieces of brand content, the following topics were found to be the most popular talking points for insurance companies.


Used 19,200 Times

Tips regarding how to go about using insurance schemes or how to manage money were one of the main focuses of the content published by South African insurance companies. Santam promoted many links along these lines for which they got an average of 6,643 interactions per post.


Used 6,300 Times

South African insurance companies highlighted the necessity of life insurance in their social advertising efforts. iWYZE added some humour to a few of their posts and also focussed on family sentiment in others.

Many insurance companies restricted themselves to talking only around their business and offerings. However, a few ventured outside this narrow band of content. When brands began talking about social awareness, CSR activities or celebrities, they received higher engagement.


Used 679 Times

South African insurance companies promoted their home insurance schemes by underlining its importance. 1st for Women used promotional offers and competitions to advertise their home insurance.


Used 211 Times

South African insurance companies highlighted their business insurance policies using their price point as a major draw. Santam drew attention to its customized budget plans for different sectors such as retail, small businesses etc.


6 trends impacting the South African insurance industry on social media

1. Insurance Companies are Publishing More Content on Twitter

Up until 2014, most South African insurance brands were not active on Twitter. This changed in 2015 when brands grabbed the engagement opportunities that Twitter offers. Today, Twitter is the most popular platform among these brands to publish content. 2015 was also the year that content published on Facebook reached its peak. It's been on a downward trajectory since.

If the trend continues, by the end of 2017 brands will have published 34% less content on Facebook compared to 2015. Instagram has seen an explosion in content published by brands since 2015. In the first half of 2017, brands published eight times more content on Instagram than in 2015.

  1. MiWay Insurance was the most prolific brand on Facebook, accounting for 15% of all the content published.
  2. Hollard published twice the amount of content on Instagram than any other insurance brand.

2. Almost all Social Media Engagement Happens on Facebook

When it comes to content engagement, only one social network is king for insurance brands. Facebook accounts for 86 out of every 100 user interactions across social networks. Engagement on Facebook is on the increase as well. In 2015, brands saw an average of 169 interactions per post. This has doubled to 346 interactions per post in 2016 and has remained steady at 340 interactions per post so far in 2017. Brands have found that they don't need to post more content to generate better results, they just need to post better content and perhaps boost the content that is published.

  1. Santam Insurance received 420% more interactions per post on its Facebook content compared to other brands.
  2. King Insurance tweeted less than 7 times a month but garnered 45% more interactions per tweet than any other brand.

3. Video Content is Exploding Across Social Channels

South African insurance brands are embracing video content in their social media strategies. From just 100 videos in 2014, there were over 800 published in 2016. In the first half of 2017, 542 videos were published which indicates that by the end of the year, more than 1,000 videos will have been published by brands. Facebook is still the number one place for brands to publish videos and in 2016, more videos were published by brands to Facebook (518) than Twitter, Instagram and YouTube combined (457).

  1. FNB was the leading publisher of videos in 2016 - 222 across Facebook, Twitter & Instagram - 21% more than any other brand.
  2. With over 178,000 views, Old Mutual published the most-watched video on Facebook in 2016 among the brands featured in this report.

4. Link Posts Generated More Engagement than Videos & Photos

Surprisingly, our analysis of the type of content that generates the most engagement revealed that links garnered more interactions per post than videos, photos and status updates. This is at odds with many other industries where research has found videos to be the most popular. Further investigation revealed that 111 (out of 791) links were published and promoted by Santam and accounted for 60% of the total interactions. When we looked at the top 20 posts by total number of interactions, 17 were photos and all of them were promoted.

  1. The popularity of links was due to Santam Insurance which promoted 16% of its links. 99.5% of its interactions were likes which suggests that links are not shareable content.
  2. 1st for Women published the most shared links. A link about an online competition which told people to share the content received 970 shares.

5. Promoted Post Volumes are Increasing

Even though the volume of promoted posts has increased, the percentage of promoted content has not changed as the overall volume of content has increased.

South African insurance companies promoted an average of 25% of their content between 2016 and Q2 of 2017. These received 3 times more interactions per post than they did on their organic content. Of the 749 videos published between Jan 1st, 2016 and June 30th, 2017, 15% were promoted. Promoted videos saw an average 898% increase in interactions as compared to organic content. 15% of photos were promoted and they generated 2,360% more interactions than organic photos.

  1. Hollard promoted an average of 56% of their posts throughout 2016. 97% of their interactions were likes whereas only 1% were shares.
  2. Prime Meridian Direct had the highest increase in engagement (1,506%) when they promoted their content.

6. Customer Service on Twitter Shows a Marginal Improvement

Over the last four quarters, we found that insurance brands were replying to more tweets and with a faster response time. Although Twitter might lag behind other social networks in terms of user engagement, it excels at being a customer service platform. However, with brands taking more than 10 hours on average to reply to a user tweet, the effectiveness of Twitter as a customer service platform is reduced. Customers expect a brand to reply to them within an hour on Twitter. So, many of the insurance brands featured in this report must step up their game if they want to delight their customers. Currently, just 40% of tweets are replied to within an hour.

  1. Discovery SA replied to over 2,000 tweets in Q2 of 2017 which was 3.6 times more than any other brand in this report.
  2. 1st For Women had one of the best average reply times at 262 minutes and replied to 64% of user tweets within 15 minutes.