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Facebook ranked No. 1 social media and online dating platform in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria. February 23rd, 2016 –Latest public opinion poll released by NOIPolls has ranked Facebook as Nigeria’s No. 1 social media platform, with about 9 in 10 respondents (of the 63 percent who use social media) stating that they own a Facebook account. This was closely trailed by Whatsapp in 2nd position (73 percent), Blackberry Messenger (BBM) in 3rd position (20 percent) and Twitter in 4th position with 17 percent. The release of this poll which coincides with Social Media Week (SMW) Lagos 2016 and sought to gauge the perception of Nigerians on social media usage and the prevalence of online dating in the country; ranked Facebook as the leading online dating platform in Nigeria with 72 percent. This was followed in a distant by Whatsapp (15 percent), 2go (8 percent) and Badoo (5 percent) amongst others. Interestingly, in terms of frequency of use, the poll further revealed that Whatsapp (50 percent) topped the chart as the most frequently used social media platform in Nigeria, followed by Facebook with 45 percent.

More findings from the poll revealed that Nigerians (90 percent) perceive there is a prevalence of online dating in Nigeria even as 3 in 10 of this proportion (30 percent) affirmed that they either know someone or engage in online dating themselves. Respondents in this category were mostly aged between 18-35 years; and this finding corroborates data from other secondary sources which revealed that online dating is mostly common among youths both single and married between ages of 18-35 years[1]. Moreover, while online dating may present pros and cons to individuals who practice it, more than half of the respondents (53 percent) believe that it is a good platform to meet people. These are the key findings from the Online Dating Poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week commencing February 15th 2016.

Brief Background

Nigerians use the internet for different purposes. Some use it for academic research, news and information channels, and social network sites for inter-personal relationships. Some of the social network sites and apps includes; Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Christian mingle, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, Badoo, Flirchi, WeChat, 2go, skype, etc. In 2015, 93 million Nigerians surfed the internet through their phones out of which 44 percent used it on social network sites[2].

Online dating is one of the features of some social network sites and it is a medium of ​starting a ​romantic ​relationship on the internet, through the sharing of personal information[3]. The objective of online dating is to develop personal, romantic and sexual relationship often between two individuals. In 2013, Forbes magazine estimated that there are more than 8,000 dating sites worldwide[4].

Online dating is becoming common in Nigeria, though the news of its demerits flies over the media in recent years. Despite the unpredictability involved in online dating, increasing number of Nigerians both single and married have developed interests in joining some of these sites in search of relationships from opposite sex or in few cases same sex.

In the light of this background, NOIPolls conducted a survey to ascertain the opinion and perceptions of Nigerians regarding social media and online dating in Nigeria.

Survey Findings

In an attempt to ascertain social media use in Nigeria, the survey revealed that almost two-third (63 percent) of respondents stated that they are on one form of social media or the other. Analysis on age-group revealed a decline in the percentage of Nigerians who use social media with an increase in age; from 74 Percent (those aged between 18–25 years) and down to 18 Percent (those aged between 61 years and above).

The survey also sought to gain insight on the social media platforms used by Nigerians; respondents were allowed to list as many social media platforms they use and findings revealed that due to the unique features of various social media platforms, most Nigerians use more than one, depending on preferences. To this effect, Facebook (91 percent) was mentioned as the most used social media platform in Nigeria. This finding supports reports from Facebook that Nigeria has about 7.2 million daily active users with 97 percent of them accessing the platform via mobile to like, share and upload content on the social network.[8] This is followed by WhatsApp (73 percent), BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) (20 percent) and Twitter (17 percent) among other social media platforms.

Analysis by gender revealed that slightly more female than male Nigerians use Facebook (93 percent), WhatsApp (76 percent) and BBM (22 percent), while more male than female Nigerians use Twitter (22 percent), Instagram (12 percent) and LinkedIn (6 percent). This is in line with the survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2015 which revealed that more women tend to belong to the social media platforms that has dating features like Facebook, BBM, and WhatsApp, unlike men who prefer those platforms that have forums for sharing business ideas or information like LinkedIn, Twitter,[6]. In addition, the result revealed that those aged between 18 – 25 years have more affinity to Facebook while respondents aged 61 years and above prefer WhatsApp.

Online dating appears to be prevalent despite the challenges and the risks involved, hence creating easy opportunities for romance and closing up distances and other things. Some years ago, relationships depended on proximity of the partners, distance was so much of a problem as letters took weeks to get delivered and in some cases they even got lost on transit. In present times, distance is no longer much of a problem as the whole world is connected through numerous accessible social media sites, and mobile telephony including video calls and electronic conferencing.

In line with the above statement, 9 in 10 Nigerians survey acknowledged that online dating is predominant in Nigeria and slightly more than 3 in 10 Nigerians affirmed that they either knew someone or engage in online dating themselves. Respondents aged between 26-35 years (35 percent) and 18-25 years (32 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians in this category and this is agreeable because other secondary data shows that online dating is more common among youths both single and married between ages of 18-35 years[7].

Respondents further revealed that the dating mostly take place on Facebook (72 percent). This is followed by WhatsApp (15 percent), 2go (8 percent) and Badoo (5 percent) amongst other social media platform, dating website and apps.

Analysis by age-group revealed that all the respondents (100 percent) aged 61 years and above asserted Facebook and this is due to the increasing cases of online related marriages. In 2013, Forbes magazine reported that 35 percent of married people met online[9]. In addition, respondents (19 percent) aged between 18 – 25 years mostly use the 2go dating app considering its unique features to students.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the social media has turned the world into a global village as 63 percent of Nigerians are on several social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, BBM and Twitter amongst others. The survey also revealed that Whatsapp is the most frequently used social media platform in Nigerian with online dating majorly taking place on Facebook.

Online dating has become common with some perceptible effect on social behaviours in Nigeria. Some of the effect has been positive, given that some relationships or marriages in Nigeria may have begun online; nevertheless, an area of concern for many is its effect on existing relationships. It has become an easy platform for a partner to seek outside gratification and to explore new grounds other than their existing partners or spouses; which in turn may be a contributing factor to some broken homes in Nigeria.

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Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of February 15th 2016. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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