Why YouTube is the social media app with most users in Nigeria

Ganiu Oloruntade
Image Source: Technext.

Social media usage in Nigeria has grown significantly in the past decade, spurred by the need for basic interaction, keeping in touch with close relations, accessing information and news, and following trends.

If anything, Nigerians are avid social media users, spending the longest amount of time on social media daily compared to any other country. Nigerians’ go-to social media platforms are Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

“We now live in the internet age, where information is almost everywhere and accessible. The quickest and easiest way, however, is social media. It combines fun and facts which releases endorphins [the relaxation hormone] in everyone,” Adam Opeloyeru, a digital marketing expert, told Technext.

According to experts, WhatsApp is the most-used social media platform in the country. According to Statista, the instant messaging app was used by nearly 92 per cent of Nigeria’s internet users as of the third quarter of 2021, ahead of Facebook and Instagram. However, Facebook was the preferred platform for most individuals accessing the news on social media.

But according to a report by Datareportal, YouTube had 31.60 million users in Nigeria in early 2023, based on updates to Google’s advertising resources, making it the social media platform with the most users in Nigeria. The report noted that the numbers don’t necessarily represent the same thing as monthly active user figures, adding that there may be meaningful differences between the size of YouTube’s ad audience and its total active user base.

“However, the company’s own data suggests that YouTube’s ad reach in early 2023 was equivalent to 14.3 percent of Nigeria’s total population at the start of the year. To put those figures in perspective, YouTube ads reached 25.8 percent of Nigeria’s total internet user base (regardless of age) in January 2023. At that time, 44.7 percent of YouTube’s ad audience in Nigeria was female, while 55.3 percent was male,” the report said.

According to the same report, Facebook had 21.75 million users in early 2023, Instagram had 7.10 million users, and LinkedIn had 7.50 million “members”. While Snapchat had 12.35 million users, and Twitter had 4.95 million users.

Chart: Technext/Data: Digital 2023: Nigeria.

Video is the future of content

YouTube, the Google-owned platform, is the most popular video content distribution medium globally. Everybody loves YouTube, after all. According to the latest statistics, the video content platform has 2.6 billion users worldwide as of 2022. Besides having a wider reach, it is the second-most popular search engine after Google.

In Nigeria, the percentage of YouTube channels making 7 figures or more in revenue (in naira) is also up by over 60%, year over year, with over 650 channels having over 100 thousand subscribers, an increase of over 50% year over year. Still, in Nigeria, 35 channels have over one million subscribers, an increase of 50%, year over year. And the platform’s success in Nigeria is driven by a single factor: the demand for content.

“Video is the future of content. It is slowly replacing every other content like pictures, infographics, words, etc and it is more practicable and gains audience trust,”

Adam Opeloyeru

The digital marketing expert added that Nigerians are turning to YouTube ahead of other social media platforms because the app “shows practical examples and humans than just words”.

Read also: Social media birthed a youthful ‘Obidient Movement’; it may have changed Nigerian politics forever

Short-form content as a game changer

In 2021, Shorts, a short-form video experience that lets users create short, fun videos with their mobile phones, was launched in Nigeria. YouTube Shorts aren’t more or less like the YouTube versions of Instagram Reels or TikToks but also come with exciting features like pretty cool creation tools and an audio sampling feature.

Already, YouTube has the largest share of the video-watching audience it is targeting in Africa, such that even android phones have the app pre-installed.

Besides giving everyone a platform, YouTube Shorts help creators expand their fan base and make more money. Artist and creator channels that upload both Shorts and long-form content have seen better overall watch time and subscriber growth than those that only upload long-form videos.

YouTube Shorts.

Since its launch, several Nigerian creators have leapt onto the platform to show off their artistic talents, gaining thousands of viewers to their short-only channels. These content creators have also used YouTube Shorts to carve out their niches by talking about topics relevant to their audience, such as skit creation, the newest food recipes, product reviews, beauty and fashion advice, etc.

Last year, YouTube announced the top 20 Nigerian YouTube Shorts creators with a massive audience who have taken over the space. This list includes rapper Blaqbonez, skit maker Oga Sabinus, and tech content creators Eric Okafor and Fisayo Fosudo. And with initiatives like the Black Voice Fund, YouTube is certain to attract more creators into its growing fold.

Read also: Meet the top 20 popular Nigerian YouTube Shorts creators


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