Mobile-First Indexing

Google SSA Trends 2020

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We’ve looked through what topics have emerged across the SSA regions in 2020 and there were some very interesting insights that we were able to gather from this.

The Year of the Pandemic

In what comes as no surprise to anyone, searches for terms around COVID-19 emerged across all countries as the most searched topic. Terms such as “Coronavirus” and “virus” saw massive increases whilst there was also a big uptake in users searching for related terms such as “Mask”, “Lockdown”, “Symptom” and “Death”.

From a South African perspective, “Cyril Ramaphosa” and “Speech” also saw massive increases in 2020 as anxious South Africans would want to hear the latest updates from our president and what effects they would have on our country.  

Home Activities

With people around the continent forced to stay at home, there were changes to user’s daily routine and many people turned to Netflix as a way of entertainment.

Although Netflix has been available to many African countries for a few years, 2020 saw countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Mauritius and South Africa experience large increases to search volumes for the streaming service. 

Online video on the whole is increasing across the continent and this is seen in Kenya in particular where Citizen TV saw a massive increase in search volumes as the Kenyan broadcaster began to upload a lot of their content onto YouTube.

The Rise of Sports Betting

A common theme across the continent was the increase in searches around sports betting. The majority of African countries have seen a big rise in searches related to sports betting with the increases ranging from 100% to 350% in the different countries.

Sports betting brands vary across the different countries with Betway being the prominent search term in South Africa and Zambia. Other countries tend to have their own local sports betting agents such as Mozzart in Kenya, ZEturf in Senegal and Parimatch in Tanzania.

With soccer being such a popular topic amongst African countries combined with the rise in access to the internet, this is topic that we can expect to see rise even further in the future.

Online Gaming

One of the perks of being at home during lockdown was the increase in activities such as gaming. The search volumes around games such as Grand Theft Auto and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds shows this shift in user behaviour.

With global advertisers using gamification as a new method of interrupting user’s during their downtime, African countries look set to follow this global trend in the new future.

Wrapping Up

2020 has been a challenging year for many but from a digital perspective, user behaviour has changed and this is reflected in the searches across the African continent.

As we move into 2021, we can expect to see an increase in trends such as sports betting, online gaming and online streaming across Africa.

More new trends are bound to emerge in 2021 across the continent and we’re excited to see what the new year has in store for us. 


Freddy Hornsby - PPC Account Manager
Marco Martin - SEO Specialist

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