Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Ghana's Facebook Picture

Facebook use has caught on in Ghana over the past two years just as it has caught on in other parts of the world. There are many stories concerning how this social networking utility is used. CNN has this interesting piece about the different types of people you're likely to run in on Facebook. Some Ghanaian bloggers have also taken a shot at the subject but Esi Cleland's hilarious piece on Ghanaian Facebook status updates is one of the best that i've encountered to date.

Startup Africa last April wrote a piece on African Facebook demographics based on data gleaned from Nick Gonzalez's checkfacebook application. From Startup Africa's analysis, Ghana ranks as Africa's 7th Facebook user country with just over 100,900 users. My last check shows this figure has risen to 277,600, i.e. within a space of 7 months, Facebook has grown at a percentage of over 175% in Ghana. Startup Africa also computed Ghana's Facebook penetration, the percentage of the country's online population using the social network, and arrived at 11.47% (my own calculations pegs the figure at 27.84%). This places Ghana third in Africa ahead of the likes of Nigeria, Kenya and Morrocco. The ranking is interesting against the backdrop that the aforementioned countries have higher Internet penetration than Ghana.

The demographic details of Ghana's Facebook population is expected but surprising with regards to the huge gap in Facebook usage between the genders. A whopping 68.7% of Ghana-based facebookers are male. The 18-34 age range dominates the Ghanaian Facebook landscape, commanding 82%. The other significant Facebook usage age groups are 14-17 (7.5%) and 35-44 (6.3%).

A few conclusions could be drawn from the above data. Firstly, Ghana's relatively high Facebook penetration shows how much Ghanaians want to keep up with conversations and information. This is buttressed by the country's mobile penetration of almost 50%. Someone will say we are a country of talkatives and these stats point to that. Secondly, the information also shows the demography that should be targeted by businesses who want to employ the social media as an advertising tool. I will place my bet on males in the 18-34 age range for now.

What do you make of these stats? Do they tell you something? What has been your experience with Facebook usage? Is there a way that we can employ this social networking utility to more effective use? The ball is in your court!

An excited group at last year's Facebook Ghana developer garage