South Africa's online audience continues to soar at an extraordinary rate according to recent Quarter 3 (Q3, July to September 2010) statistics released by Nielsen Online and the Digital Media and Marketing Association (DMMA).
From a Desktop Web perspective, monthly unique local browsers grew a massive 53% from 7.38 million unique browsers (UBs) in Q3 2009 to 11.3 million UBs in Q3 2010, whilst daily average local uniques (i.e. the number of local browsers visiting DMMA desktop websites on a daily basis) increased by 22%. 313 million page impressions were recorded for Q3 2010, a 6% decrease as compared to the same period in 2009. Page impressions per unique browser fell more significantly with 38.7% fewer pages being consumed per browser in Q3 2010.
"The Q3 audience figures confirm the market's continued growth as the internet matures in South Africa," says Karen Dempers, Head of Marketing for the DMMA. She cites a number of reasons for the ongoing growth including decreasing bandwidth costs, more consumer choice in terms of ISPs, more web-enabled mobile devices and uncapped ADSL. Dempers adds that, "There are also more broadband connections, including in small- and medium-sized enterprises, where one ADSL connection can introduce as many as 20 new individuals to the internet (as shown in research from World Wide Worx)". Significantly, the massive surge in social networking has also encouraged more users into the online space where they are introduced to other websites via their social graphs."
However, Dempers clarifies, "It is important to remember that whilst the increase in UBs is certainly owing to more people venturing onto the internet, it is also due to users accessing the internet via multiple devices. These devices include web enabled mobile phones, tablets (such as the iPad), gaming consoles (PlayStation and PSP) etc... A unique browser is a unique IP address that a person uses to access the internet and growth in UBs is therefore not necessarily indicative of a new person accessing the internet each time."
When looking at Page Impressions the Q3 2010 statistics reveal a 6% decrease in the total number of page views (down to 303m from 313m in Q3 2009) as well as a 38.7% decrease in the number of pages consumed per unique browser. This is not necessarily negative and can be attributed to a number of factors according to Dempers. "The proliferation of access devices will drive up the number of UBs but not necessarily the volume of content that each individual consumes, which will push down the average page impression number. Improved website design, allowing users to find what they're looking for more easily, and an ongoing move to serve highly-relevant content through personalisation, also means that users need to go through fewer pages to get what they want. Finally, improved SEO means users are finding, and being directed to, the exact content they are looking for via search."
The Mobile Web's Q3 2010 traffic increases were even more striking. Average daily mobile uniques increased by 403% year-on-year whilst monthly unique browsers grew a staggering 445%. Although some of this growth is attributable to more publishers launching and tagging their wap sites it is also indicative of significantly more South Africans accessing the mobile web via their phones. "And the daily average unique figures illustrate just how important a role the mobile internet is playing in the lives of South Africans mobile browsers," comments Dempers.
For more information on the Digital Media and Marketing Association or on the Quarter 3 statistics, please contact Theresa Vitale on 011 4543534 or via email .
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