A very interesting study recently by Impending Boom has suggested that, in some places at least, it’s not all about Google.

Intrigued by a trend he noticed in the number of Google searches originating from Nigeria, which were substantially lower than searches from other countries, the author investigated further.

It turned out that Nigeria was sending half as many queries to Google as Kenya was, despite having more than 3 times the online population.  And yet Google is still the most popular search engine there.  They just use it an awful lot less.

Curious, he reached out to a Nigerian colleague to discuss the phenomenon, and found 2 primary potential causes.

Trust And Lack Thereof

Having given a name to one of the most famous internet scam techniques ever, it’s probably no surprise that there is a level of uncertainty in the trustworthiness of links in Nigeria.  This makes users less likely to click on a “random” link offered by the search engine, whereas links from known trusted sources, be it friends via social media, or news sites they follow, etc. are more likely to be safe.

Instead of starting at Google and searching, users tend to start at places like Facebook, and browse from there.

Data Costs

Another possible reason is the high cost of data in Nigeria, where separate “social media” data bundles are available.  Bundles specifically for social media usage are cheaper than normal data bundles, and as a result, people are more likely to stick to things like Facebook and Twitter, rather than browse the web directly.

Something To Remember

There’s not necessarily an important take-away from this, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind, not only for Nigeria, but potentially for other developing markets as well.  Sometimes local online habits are counter to your expectations, and depending on what you’re doing, there may be other ways to reach potential client bases than only paying attention to Go0ogle.