Social media in Nigeria: state of the art, and 3 marketing best practices

06 Feb 2014



Over 55 million Netizens, a massive penetration of Facebook and the rise of interesting local mobile and e-commerce players.

This brief overview can tell us how important is Nigeria in the African digital scenarioactually the biggest African country in terms of population, both online and offline – and what a big opportunity the country represents in terms of digital development and online marketing.

Let’s see some numbers in details, then proceed analysing 3 examples of how local brands and personalities are approaching Nigerian Internet users through social media.


Social media (and mobile): all the numbers

As of December 2012, Nigeria counts 56 million Internet users, roughly the 33% of a total population of 167 million people.

In August 2013 the Business Day came up with a research about Internet and mobile users in Nigeria, also explaining the demographical reasons behind these numbers:

“Of the 115 million mobile telephone subscribers in the country, 35 million use their handheld devices to access internet data services. With a large youth population (one-third of the population is between the 10-24 years age bracket) and a growing middle class (appx. 39 million), Nigeria has a fast-growing number of the two classes which traditionally drive internet usage around the world.”


The biggest African country counts today 11.8 million Facebook users. In order to get the actual importance of the Facebook in the country, we have to look at local independent news portals: Facebook pages like Information Nigeria and count well over a million followers each, together with high levels of interaction.


Facebook Nigeria


Yet the social network has apparently been losing about a million active users in Nigeria over the course of 2013 (source: Techloy), especially in favour to mobile-based platforms.

The country counts 35 million people accessing the Internet through smartphones and feature phones (source: Business Day).

IM apps like WhatsApp and Black Berry Messenger count several million users each in Nigeria, still leaving space to more local players like 2go and ESKIMI; WeChat is growing in Nigeria too.

As per the other global social networks – according to web sources – Nigeria counts 1.8 million Twitter users, and in early 2013 LinkedIn announced it reached a million accounts in the country (source: Naija Tech Guide).


An eye on e-commerce trends

The Nigerian e-commerce scenario is directly connected with the story of two successful start-ups. In fact, the two biggest competitors in the market are Konga, that recenyly raised a $25 million funding, and Jumia, an Amazon-alike platform launched in June 2012 by two young local entrepreneurs (you can read the full story on Je Wanda Magazine).

This report by How We Made It In Africa breaks down the most popular products bough online by Nigerians, as disclosed by Jumia. Electronics ranks among the top-products – Nokia phones and televisions in particular – together with fashion items. As underlined in the post:

“A vast majority of middle class Nigerian households own a refrigerator, electric fan, electric iron and DVD player. However, only 42% own a fridge freezer, and only 8% a washing machine.”


How are brands taking advantage of all these trends? Let’s see the digital performance of three popular social media pages in Nigeria:

  • GTBank
  • E-commerce site
  • Pastor E. A. Adeboye



GTBank, one of the biggest bank in Nigeria, has a quite strong and well-structured presence on Facebook, with over 1.5 million fans.


Nigeria Bank Facebook


The content strategy mainly revolves around two pillars:

  • Post about products (specific services, info, contests).
  • Generic posts about Nigeria’s history, culture and beautiful scenarios.


GTBank Nigeria


The page also offers a Social Banking Service where people can log-in and perform banking operations; the customer care activity on Facebook is huge, as almost every post has comments and inquiries related to banking services:


Nigeria Facebook Customer Care

This huge online shopping portal in Nigeria is – obviously, might we add – very active on social media.

The main communication hub is Facebook, where Konga has a well nourished community of more than 700 thousand fans. Its main competitor in the local market, Jumia, is present on Facebook too, with over 400K fans.


Konga Nigeria


The Konga’s Facebook fan base is kept alive by a frequent posting strategy, which includes promotions and service-related initiatives, together with inspirational quotes and quizzes – all with a strong graphic consistency, and a noticeable level of interactions:


Facebook Marketing Nigeria


The Lagos-based brand has a quite established presence across social networks: over 64 thousand followers on Twitter, and a profiles on Pinterest and Google+.

Mobile plays a big part too: according to a survey published on Techloy, 73% of popular mobile SNS Eskimi’s users in Nigeria buy using PC, while 27% shop via their mobile phones. Here’s why m-commerce is quickly becoming a big part of Konga’s strategy.

In fact, Konga is also present on Chinese mobile app WeChat – which has proved to be an effective tool for marketing inside and outside China. The WeChat channel serves as a tool for customer care; also, a promotion to win shopping vouchers has been launched, called WeChat Giveaway:


Konga WeChat


Pastor E. A. Adeboye

The last example comes from a very important Nigerian religious figure, counting almost 1.5 million fans on Facebook and a quite big following on Google+: pastor E. A. Adeboye.


Facebook community Nigeria


Enoch Adeboye is quite a charismatic figure, with a remarkable story: he serves as General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, which under his guide grew to over 10 thousand branches in Nigeria and dozens all over the world. He has a strong influence among Nigerian campuses – Adeboye has a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Lagos – and back in 2008 he was listed among the 50 most influential people in the wolrd by the Newsweek.


Pastor Nigeria


It’s therefore not surprising that the pastor chose social media as the main veichle to keep a connecton with his followship, and Facebook definitely plays a key role. The page is frequently updated with prayers and quotes from the Bible, and shows massive levels of interaction:


Facebook Nigeria



Several brands are already carrying out cool marketing strategies to target the big Nigerian Internet population through different platforms.

From interactive activities to customer care, Facebook is at the moment the most effective channel. Being almost all the communication in English represents an even greater opportunity for global brands.

Guido Ghedin

Guido Ghedin

After his University years between Italy and California, today he deals with Market Research and Digital Scenario Analysis at Young Digitals. You can follow him on Twitter: @guido_ghedin.


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