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On Twitter, heavy African business and technology interest from within Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria

July 2, 2013  »  WebNo Comment

Twitter allows users to promote their account and selected tweets in order to attract new followers and grow their brand. Targeting gets very specific – down to city/country level, interest, gender, mobile device, keyword, and username.

We’ve been experimenting with Twitter advertising for a few months. Our motive is not to force engagement but to collect data – the ad interface tracks a bevy of interest stats that we think gives an idea of how absent most of Africa is on the platform. Targeting African users based on interest in business and tech we find, among African countries, an extremely high number of engaged users in Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria. The other African nations – despite constituting 67% of Africa’s population – occupied only 20% of our ad impressions.

80% of Africans interested in business or technology who engaged with the ads are found in four countries. More than three-quarters are male.

  • 28% are in Kenya, 20% South Africa, 17% Egypt, 15% Nigeria.
  • The other 20% are located in 43 other African countries.
  • There is very limited tech-focused Twitter activity in Lesotho, Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Guinea, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Mayotte, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe.
  • Anywhere from 73-83% of Africans interested in business/tech are male.

Offhand, Twitter searches for terms like “[country] internet” reflect the findings. For example, very few results for “lesotho internet” can be found from a Twitter search. And given the early adopter nature of the platform in developing countries, we figure African profiles should skew more tech-savvy than the global average. Therefore, we interpret the lack of geographic diversity in these results to suggest that there are relatively few Twitter users in these countries.

The reason isn’t lack of internet users; Benin doesn’t have 95% fewer internet users than Ghana as this data would suggest. Instead, there is a chance a large number of social users chat with friends instead of sharing business news. More likely, mobile users in these countries are relying more on SMS, Facebook, Whatsapp to communicate. Moreover, many Twitter users in countries other than Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria are interested in sharing news about their communities – just maybe not tech news.

Full data of our geo-targeted Twitter ads impressions by African country (as percentage of total African impressions):

Engagement Location% Total African Engagement
Kenya28.0%
South Africa19.8%
Egypt17.0%
Nigeria14.8%
Ghana3.7%
Uganda3.1%
Morocco1.7%
Tanzania1.7%
Tunisia1.2%
Mauritius1.1%
Rwanda1.1%
Senegal1.0%
Algeria0.9%
Zambia0.6%
Botswana0.5%
Malawi0.5%
Ethiopia0.5%
Namibia0.5%
Cameroon0.3%
Djibouti0.3%
Mozambique0.3%
Reunion0.2%
Madagascar0.1%
Benin0.1%
Gambia0.1%
Mali0.1%
Togo0.1%
Swaziland0.1%
Angola0.1%
Gabon0.1%
Mauritania0.1%
Burkina Faso0.1%
Lesotho0.0%
Republic of the Congo0.0%
Burundi0.0%
Sierra Leone0.0%
Seychelles0.0%
Guinea0.0%
Niger0.0%
Guinea-Bissau0.0%
Eritrea0.0%
Cape Verde0.0%
Equatorial Guinea0.0%
Central African Republic0.0%
Mayotte0.0%
Comoros0.0%
Sao Tome and Principe0.0%

Note: Geo-targeting goes beyond the location a user specifies in their account; it combines this information with actual locations of originating tweets (when available).