While global connectivity is on the increase, a great deal of connections in Africa are still made through a mobile phone. As is the case in many parts of the continent, South Africa is home to a large percentage of people who do not have access to Internet connections such as ADSL or broadband at home – and their only means of making an internet connection is through their mobile devices.
ITNewsAfrica reviewed some of the biggest mobile websites in South Africa. The number of unique hits that these sites secure every month may surprise some users.
While News24 has a regular website, their mobile app and site still drives a large amount of traffic for the Media24 group. According to online audience measurement company Effective Measures, the m.news24.com website garnered over 1.3-million unique visitors in August 2012, and has consistently been the number one mobile website in South Africa. The website also attracts over 31-million page views a month – that is equivalent to over half of South Africa’s population visiting the website at least once a month.
Sport is a favourite pastime in South Africa. The country competes on the world stage in at least three major international sports. With such a strong sporting background, it really comes as no surprise that mobi.supersport.com lies in second spot on the list. With over 1.2-million unique visitors a month, and over 17-million page views, it scores on being the most visited mobile sport website in the country.
3. Soccer Laduma
As with SuperSport, it really is no surprise to see a soccer website amongst the top three most visited sites. Soccer is an established national sport followed by millions of fans of both local and international teams. This groundswell of support has helped soccerladuma.mobi secure over 637 000 unique visitors and over 17-million returning visitors a month.
Another Media24 title, clearly the sport theme is strong in South Africa – which is why Sport24’s WAP mobile website is so popular. Having cricket, rugby and soccer as the major international sports in the country, users want to keep tabs on news, interviews and scores from around the world. It is for that reason that the website managed to garner 429,889 unique visitors and 5,537,153 page views in August 2012.
In addition to sport, local and international news is important to South Africans. While News24 claimed the top spot as the most visited news source in South Africa, IOL (Independent Online) ranks half way down the Top Ten list. With over 225 000 unique visitors a month, it drives a lot of traffic through its news coverage, sports section, motoring news and news from affiliated print newspapers. The mobile website also has over 2.1-million page views a month.
Entertainment remains one of the fastest growing markets and source of interest around the world (and clearly also in South Africa)! What goes on in Hollywood – film reviews, music shows and celebrity news - is of huge interest to South Africans, as 211,149 unique visitors logged in to Channel24.co.za’s mobile website, while it also managed to get over 1.8-million page views in August 2012.
According to the Top Ten list of most visited mobile websites, South Africans like to trade in second-hands goods. The mobile website for junkmail.co.za had over 162 000 unique visitors, and routinely rakes in over 3.3-million page views a month.
Aside from the public broadcaster SABC, satellite television is also very popular in South Africa. DStv, the main provider of satellite television in the country, ranks as one of the most visited mobile websites in the country. The mobi.dstv.com website allows users to see the programming schedule, plan their television shows and find out more about new series, dramas or films. In August 2012 it received over 156 000 unique visitors, while having over 1.2-million page views for that same month.
9. Kaizer Chiefs
As soccer is followed in South Africa by millions of fans, team websites are also visited on a regular basis. Kaizer Chiefs is one of the most popular and successful teams in South Africa’s PSL, and fans want to stay up to date with news, interviews and scores. The mobile website for Kaizer Chiefs gave over 134 000 unique visitors the soccer fix that they wanted, while providing news and scores to over 1.8-million page views.
While online email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo! have millions of users across the globe, a great number of South Africans are still making use of the free email service Webmail.co.za The mobile version gave access to over 111 000 unique visitors, while over 3.1-million visitors returned to the service to check their mails.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor