GCIS (Government Communications and Information Systems) briefed EOH Digital to handle the live coverage of the 2019 State of the Nation Address on the social media pages of the South African Government. This included the run-up content leading up to the address, live coverage of key topics during the address and wrap-up content over the days following this auspicious event.

Intended outcomes

The primary objectives for this campaign were three-fold; the first was to raise awareness about the SONA 2019 and to drive traffic to the live video stream on YouTube. The second objective was the seamless, accurate, real-time and engaging transfers of speech content onto social media, both in terms of copy and creative. Creating awareness was also the third objective, but this time, the awareness phase pertained to the wrap-up content that summarised the speech highlights.

The process

In line with the three objectives, the approach to this project was also a three-tiered one. From fact-finding to designing a look and feel for the social posts, the agency team prepared for the live coverage of the speech by putting out strategically placed, informative content that built up the excitement and the user awareness and, on the day, drove traffic to the live coverage YouTube channel. Social content was put out selectively, as not all platforms are conducive to political, more text-heavy content. As such, the main focus lay on Facebook and Twitter, with the occasional Instagram content piece.

The main component, the live, on-site coverage of the State of the Nation Address was run by a small team consisting of two copywriters, one designer and an account manager. The team produced real-time content (copy and creative) for the government’s Facebook and Twitter pages, putting out on average one post every two to three minutes. Whilst a template for the designs was prepared, the actual design work, iconography and copy creation was done on the fly. This ensured that the nation was privy to the exact speech content, the relevant facts and figures and key decisions and quotes at the right time throughout the speech.

The third and final project phase consisted of post-SONA wrap-up posts, both on the evening itself and over the days following the address. Copy and creative were generated to provide social users with an in-depth insight into everything that was said at SONA 2019, in form of a series called “SONA in numbers”. Spanning over a time period of 5 days, these content pieces were scheduled across the social platforms, including the government page, Vuk’unzenzele News and the SA Government new pages.

All social content was underpinned by a meticulously worked out paid media strategy to maximise reach and impressions.


The biggest challenge was undoubtedly the turnaround time at the on-site live coverage project section. Having received the President’s speech only as the parliament address began, the team had to kick things up serval notches to stay on track with content production, design and content posting, as well as the constant stream of communication with the media house for content promotion.


Set aside the highlight of seamless, real-time live coverage of the address on two platforms, other highlights for the team included #SONA19 being the top trending hashtag for almost 12 hours, and trending both locally and globally long after the end of the address and the highly effective communication with the GCIS branch.


The below offers a small insight into the paid media results obtained on the main social platforms of the South African Government:

Pre-SONA Live Coverage Post-SONA
YouTube 102 014 Impressions N/A
CPV: R0.54
44 134 views
Facebook Reach: 488 419 Impressions: 301 203 Reach: 410 9275
Impressions: 535 441 CPE: R0.60 Impressions: 745 723
CPM: R20,85 Clicks: 39 180 CPM: R16,15
Twitter Impressions: 142 411 Impressions: 110 131 Impressions: 139 784
CPM: R53,76 CPE: R1,47 CPM: R36,74
CPE: R1,47
Instagram N/A Impressions: 33 439 Impressions: 76 587
Engagements: 14 541 Impressions: 109 781
CPE: R0,15 CPM: R11,39