Insights Africa, Explore the media habits of consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Ben White on April 5, 2012

InsightsAfrica is an interactive tool providing critical data about the online behavior of urban consumers in five key African markets: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

As more and more people start using the internet in Sub-Saharan Africa, it becomes ever more important to understand the online population. For entrepreneurs building new products and services, insights into changing usage habits are critical.

Over the past two years, Google has been working with market research firm Basis Research Ltd to understand people’s behaviors and attitudes when it comes to the internet. For this project they interviewed over 13,000 people in urban centres of 6 key African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda – to understand how and why people use the internet and what prevents non-users from coming online.

What is nice about the project is their effort to make the data publicly accessible and easy-to-understand. They have built filters by country, age, gender and internet usage level. The design is slick and user friendly. Why is a tool like this useful? One example they give, ‘through InsightsAfrica, you can learn what would encourage young Kenyan women to come online more often via mobile phone, locations where Senegalese men most often access the internet via their computer, how long South African men spend online via mobile during an average session, the awareness of online activities amongst non-users in Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria, and much more.’

I ran my own search across the data and found for example some interesting differences between content consumption on mobile vs. the computer. You can see for example in the first graph (computer usage) there is a greater emphasis on News where in the second graph (mobile usage) you can see there is a higher percentage of people consuming entertainment. As an entrepreneur you can analyze this information in any number of ways that could influence you product positioning and target market. There is much more, the data goes far deeper, so its worth a look.

Computer Usage:

Mobile Usage:
To create your own customized dataset, simply access InsightsAfrica, select a category from either the top drop-down menu or by hovering over the multi-coloured icons. Once you are viewing a particular category of information, you can use the lefthand menu to focus on specific demographic groups, change the layout of the graphs or download, save and share your graphs.

At VC4Africa we hope this is the beginning. We need more data, more information and more tools if we are going to understand the consumer, their needs, the channels in which to reach them and the solutions we need to be developing. 

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