Digital publishers in South Africa register record traffic

South African Digital publishers saw record December traffic levels. They relied on digital publishers for breaking news on the second wave of COVID-19. December’s usual trend is a month on month decline of about 15% in overall traffic, because of summer holidays and people having less screen time. However, December 2020 saw a 3% month on month increase in both total unique browsers and page views. Additionally, the year on year comparison from December 2019 versus December 2020 was a 6% increase in page views and 50% increase in unique browsers.  

South African digital publishers bucked the festive season trend and saw a record 50% YoY increase in Unique Browsers December 2020 compared to December 2019.

This is in contrast to the usual month-on-month (MoM) decline of approximately 15% during the December holidays in previous years. December 2020 also saw a 3% MoM increase in both total unique browsers and page views.

Narratiive South Africa’s Regional Lead, Greg Mason, says this change happened because users spent more time in front of screens this past December as a result of lockdown.

“People usually spend less time on their screens during December. But as we can see, the content which performed well this past December was largely focused on COVID-19 breaking news. This is because the second wave hit South Africa during this time.” says Greg.

Domestic publishers remain a reliable source of information for South Africans and are the “go-to resources for breaking news on COVID-19 and potential restrictions imposed over the festive season,” adds Greg.

Pandemic fatigue and other interesting insights

Events and Attractions topped the list of interests over this period. Mainly because the country was under Level 1 lockdown until the 28th of December 2020.

The high interest in Events and Attractions can also be attributed to ‘pandemic fatigue,’ says a recent study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

The HSRC study shows that the fear of COVID-19 had declined considerably by September 2020. It says 31% of the survey participants said that they were still fearful of the virus. While still high, it pales in comparison to the 44% – 47% who said they were fearful of the virus between April and July 2020.

So, a combination of pandemic fatigue and eased travel restrictions contributed to the high interest in Events and Attractions in December 2020. This is because people wanted to be outdoors more.

Interestingly, the HSRC used the popular #datafree Moya Messenger App to conduct the aforementioned survey for the study.

Moya Messenger App outperforms competitors

The Moya Messenger App has maintained the highest traffic for both UBs and PVs since joining Narratiive in August 2020.

Whereas the d6 School Communicator App saw a big decline in both UB’s and PV’s. This is because schools had closed during the festive season.

For more insights visit our previous blogs