Almost three years ago when I joined twitter, it was still completely unknown social networking site to the wider Kenyan and African audiences apart from the early adopters. At the time, being on twitter was kinder cool, elitist and righteous in the eyes of some , if you understand what I mean. But what has happened since then is amazing .
Early today Portland and Tweetminster released the findings of the research they carried out in the last three months called How Africa Tweets. The two firms went deeper to comprehensively map the use of Twitter in Africa. Portland and Tweetminster analysed over 11.5 million geo-located Tweets originating on the continent during the last three months of 2011. The analysis of Twitter traffic was complemented by a survey of 500 of Africa’s most active Tweeters.
How Africa Tweets found that:
- South Africa is the continent’s most active country by volume of geo-located Tweets, with over twice as many Tweets (5,030,226 during Q4 2011) as the next most active Kenya (2,476,800). Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620) make up the remainder of the top five most active countries.
- 57% of Tweets from Africa are sent from mobile devices.
- 60% of Africa’s most active Tweeters are aged 20-29.
- Twitter in Africa is widely used for social conversation, with 81% of those polled saying that they mainly used it for communicating with friends.
- Twitter is becoming an important source of information in Africa. 68% of those polled said that they use Twitter to monitor news. 22% use it to search for employment opportunities.
- African Twitter users are active across a range of social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.
It is not surprising that South Africa is the most active country by volume of geo-located Tweets. Practically you would expect that they have more online users and the internet penetration is relatively high in comparison to the other African countries. Oooh my dear Kenya is in second place.. Again no surprise on that and with time I expect Kenya to overtake South Africa. Yeah South Africans be warned.
Something that should be noted seriously is the fact that 57% of Tweets from Africa are sent from mobile devices. Clearly mobile phone is the device of choice. Africa and mobile phones..we know the story and I think that explains clearly the reason behind the rapid growth of Twitter in Africa. The take away on this for any company now, is that build for mobile if you are looking for critical mass of users in Africa. But I know this is not news to many considering that Africa is now the second largest mobile market in the world with over 600 million subscribers.
One reason why social media marketing in Africa is still lagging behind is the fact that the decision makers within many companies still have no idea what social media is.. According to the above findings 60% of Africa’s most active Tweeters are aged 20-29. A demographic which I guess many companies would love to have on their columns but at the same time have no idea on how to do it. They are passionate, young and animated. And they do criticize what they do not like or what they think do not meet their standards. I guess such kind of attitude does not go well with many brand managers around here. I have met many people who purely hate bloggers based on the fact that they speak out their minds mmmh let me go with “write their minds”
Finally, Twitter is becoming a resource center for African users. According the research ,68% of those polled said that they use Twitter to monitor news. 22% use it to search for employment opportunities. Yes, i know many people who have got their jobs or job leads through twitter