A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week commencing on October 14th, 2019 has revealed that 61% of Nigerians have access to the internet. When applied to Nigeria’s estimated population of 198 million by the Nigeria Population Commission, this translates to about 120 million Nigerians having access to the internet.
Interestingly, when looking at the demographics, 70% of young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years have access to the internet compared to the 56% for those aged between 36 and 60 years and 28% for those aged 61years and above. Of the proportion of respondents that claimed to have access to the internet, an overwhelming majority (94%) indicated that they mostly access the internet through their mobile phones. This proportion was equally high across the six geo-political zones, and across age demographics; indicating a wide use of smartphones in the country. This wide access to the internet on mobile phones across Nigeria shows that there are a huge market and high demand for smartphones in Nigeria, giving credence to the claim that Nigeria is Africa’s biggest smartphone market.
Most respondents (95%) who access the internet revealed that they use the internet to engage social networking sites and applications. This finding also held true across geo-political zones and across various age demographics. On the level of awareness, results show that Facebook (95%) and WhatsApp (94%) are the most widely known social networking sites in the country; followed by Instagram (50%), and Twitter (42%), among others. Polls on the proportion of respondents using each social networking platform produced the following results – Facebook (86%), WhatsApp (84%), Instagram (19%), Twitter (11%), and Snapchat (2%). However, with regards to preference, WhatsApp (51%) is the most preferred social networking site/application, followed by Facebook (45%), Twitter (2%), and Instagram (2%).
Some of the leading reasons Nigerians provided for their preference of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter respectively include; “It’s Simple and Fast” (26%), “Easy to Connect to People With” (20%), “The Platform Allows Government to Obtain Feedback from The Public” (31%) and “It seems more real than other platforms”(47%). Regarding the average number of hours spent in a day on social media sites/applications, Twitter captured the largest daily cumulative value, as 19% of Twitter users disclosed that they spend 10 hours and more engaging on it. This was followed by WhatsApp with 8% of users revealing they spend upwards of 10 hours daily on the average.
Furthermore, the poll results show that respondents considered Facebook (98%), Instagram (88%), WhatsApp (77%), and Snapchat (74%) most effective for advertising, while Twitter (98%) was considered most effective for gaining attention on topical issues and trending subjects.
With regards to security, the poll results show that 12% of Nigerians reported that their social media accounts have been hacked previously; and of this proportion, 91% mentioned Facebook as the affected platform, while 7% confirmed that their WhatsApp account has been hacked.
The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey recently visited Nigeria and for good reason as 20% of the respondents reported that they have a Twitter account. This figure amounts to about 39.6 million Nigerians. Majority of these are young people as the poll showed that young people aged between 18 and 35 years are twice as likely to have a twitter account (26%) than older people aged 36 years and above (13%). Among those that have a Twitter account, 45% disclosed that they are actively involved on Twitter – by sending out Tweets or pictures, or by participating in conversations or other activities using their accounts. The poll also revealed that Twitter users in Nigeria mostly use the platform to get trending news (33%), interact with friends (21%) and for advertising businesses, amongst other things. Interestingly, a higher proportion (29%) of Twitter users acknowledged that giving voice to many voiceless Nigerians is the greatest impact Twitter has made in Nigeria. Finally, with regards to features missing on Twitter, 39% recommended that the owners of Twitter increase the number of words allowed per Tweet, as many respondents during the course of the survey expressed that they would prefer to write a whole lot in one tweet.
Nigeria has continued to enjoy technological advancement, especially in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). These ICT advancements have provided Nigerians with fast internet access, with which they engage in social media activities on various internet-enabled devices. According to the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria currently has about 122 million internet users. The number of social network users in Nigeria in 2018 stood at approximately 29.3 million users; the figure is projected to grow to 36.8 million in 2023. Recently, there has been news of a bill to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria. The bill, which has passed second reading in the Nigerian Senate, if passed into law, Nigerians found guilty of making false remarks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other similar media, would have faced two years in jail or a fine of 2 million naira.