Chris Finch

Web traffic sources in developing countries

An analysis of traffic to the Puma Creative Arts network sites using Google Analytics.

The Puma Creative Arts network websites "" and "" are both aimed at the promotion of social networking within the Arts in developing areas of the world. They plan to bring people together by leveraging the power of networking and giving artists access to each other and to resources that they might otherwise not be able to obtain.

While developing these two networks and working on the third (the "") the development team at Mediamatic has been trying to keep in consideration the technical abilities of its target audience, namely artists in developing countries.

By asking questions like "how much of our traffic comes from areas with low internet penetration" and "what sorts of browsers do our visitors use", we try to tailor the websites so that we can get the greatest coverage for all visitors, including those with slow internet connections or out of date computer hardware.

The Creative Caribbean Network

Visitors to Date: 25th October 2010

To date in 2010, the Caribbean network has been visited 32,658 times by 17,041 unique visitors with users spending an average of 5:30 on the site.

Of the 32,658 visits the percentage per browser breaks down as follows:

  1. Firefox - 11,558 - 35.36%
  2. Safari - 9,530 - 29.16%
  3. Internet Explorer - 9,407 - 28.78%
  4. Chrome - 1,819 - 5.57% 
  5. Opera - 123 - 0.38%

(12 other browsers too minor to mention)

These statistics show Firefox with a clear ~5% lead in usage making it the most popular browser.

Internet Explorer, unexpectedly, is used in only ~29% of visits suggesting that the developing nations of the Caribbean don’t use IE as much as first expected.

All in all the 3 major browsers; IE, Firefox and Webkit (Safari, Chrome) comprise roughly 1/3 of the total visitors for the year 2010 to date.

Geographical locations:

The top 10 countries of origin for incoming visits to the Caribbean network for the year to date were:

  1. United States - 10,733 
  2. Jamaica - 3,721 
  3. United Kingdom - 3,265
  4. Netherlands - 2,146 
  5. Puerto Rico - 1,249
  6. Canada - 1,157
  7. Trinidad and Tobago - 1,119
  8. France - 857
  9. Barbados - 797
  10. Germany - 761 

Surprisingly ,only 4 of the top 10 are countries that are part of the Caribbean, with Jamaica leading. The top viewer was the US by a ~7000 visit margin, suggesting that the majority of the visitors to the Caribbean networks are not from third world countries as previously expected.

Caribbean Heat map
Caribbean Heat map - Shows the distribution of visitors in the caribbean region

Even more interestingly, the majority of US based visits to the site (4,588) came from Florida, which is right next to the Caribbean islands. This suggests that the majority of usage for the website is coming from US based, Caribbean citizens.

USA Heat Map
USA Heat Map - Distribution of visitors to the Caribbean network in the US.

Recent visits:

Since August 25th 2010, the network has been visited 7,452 times by 5,108 unique visitors, with users spending an average of 3:46 on the site.

The browser usage percentages are as follows:

  1. Firefox - 2,548 - 34.19%
  2. Internet Explorer - 2,435 - 32.68%
  3. Safari - 1,715 - 23.01%
  4. Chrome - 622 - 8.35%
  5. Opera - 54 - 0.72%

(12 other browsers too minor to mention)

While being roughly the same as the overall year statistics, a trend is noticeable with the higher use of IE in recent months compared to the year average leading to the conclusion that as more people access the site the amount of IE users is rising steadily.

Special mention - IE Browser versions:

The version breakdown for IE for 2010 to date is as follows:

9,409 visits total.

  1. 8.0 - 5,948 - 63.22%
  2. 7.0 - 418 - 25.70%
  3. 6.0 - 918 - 9.76%
  4. 9.0 - 122 - 1.30%

Clearly IE 8 is overwhelmingly the most used version with almost 2/3 of total IE visits coming from IE 8 browsers. As expected the uptake of IE 9 amongst the Caribbean network users is very low with only 1.3% of 122 visits coming from IE9 (with a large amount of those possibly being made by Mediamatic staff testing the site).

Predictably IE 6, being over 10 years old, was only used for 918 visits and will continue to decline.

The Creative Africa Network

Browser usage in the Africa network breaks down like this:

  1. Firefox - 34,934 - 35.22%
  2. Internet Explorer - 31,689 - 31.94%
  3. Safari - 24,248 - 24.44%
  4. Chrome - 6,488 - 6.54%
  5. Opera - 678 - 0.68%

CAN Browser distirbution
CAN Browser distirbution - Shows a pie chart of the percentage of browser use for the Africa network in the year to date.

Over all, to date in 2010, the network had 99,200 visits made by 60,938 unique visitors.

Once again Firefox was the most used browser followed by IE. It was again a roughly 1/3 each split between Firefox, Webkit and IE.

Geographical locations:

Google Analytics breaks the continent of Africa in to five regions comprising the separate countries; Northern, Western, Middle, Eastern and Southern Africa.

These regions split as follows for the years 2010 to date:

  1. Southern Africa - 11,154
  2. Eastern Africa - 5,176
  3. Western Africa - 4,144
  4. Northern Africa - 2,887
  5. Middle Africa - 692

As expected, Southern Africa has easily the most visitors with as many by itself as the rest of the regions put together.

Africa Heat Map
Africa Heat Map - This image shows the distribution of traffic in Africa, darker areas provide more visitors.

The East, North and Western regions are all at roughly the same leve. However Middle Africa, comprised of Cameroon, Gabon, Congo (DRC), Congo (Republic), Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, really lags behind with only a trickle of visits for the entire year. This may be due to low levels of Internet penetration in this region of the world.

In the most popular region, Southern Africa (comprised of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland), South Africa is the overwhelming main source of traffic on the continent producing 10,656 visits for the year to date.

This is unsurprising, given the higher amount of internet penetration there.

Other high traffic countries include:

  • Nigeria - 1,809
  • Kenya - 2,793
  • Egypt - 1,106

Worldwide visits:

The top 10 countries that provided the Africa network with traffic over the year to date were:

  1. United States - 16,024
  2. United Kingdom - 15,690
  3. South Africa - 10,672
  4. France - 7,322
  5. Netherlands - 5,198
  6. Germany - 4,554
  7. Kenya - 2,797
  8. Italy - 2,650
  9. Canada - 2,587
  10. Denmark - 2,114   

Interestingly, there are only two African countries in the top 10; South Africa and Kenya and the majority of traffic, over 31,000 visits, comes from the US and UK.

Special mention - IE Browser versions:

For 31,694 total IE visits in the year to date, the breakdown of versions is as follows:

  1. 8.0 - 17,732 - 55.95%
  2. 7.0 - 9,730 - 30.70%
  3. 6.0 - 4,213 - 13.29%
  4. 9.0 - 12 - 0.04%

We can see here that IE7 and IE6 comprise a larger portion of the IE versions than in the Caribbean network, possibly due to lower levels of internet penetration and older hardware being more common in Africa.

Once again IE8 is the stand out in terms of usage.


Using this information it is recommendable to devote the largest amount of development time to styling in Firefox as this is the most used site. The Webkit browsers will not need much additional work, if any, over the Firefox development.

The rest of the time should be devoted to IE, in particular IE8. IE6 support is no longer necessary and IE7 and IE9 come a distant second to 8.

Attention should be paid to making the sites accessible to those with low connection speeds/ underpowered computers. This is not the priority that would have been expected due to the fact that a large amount of the sites' visitors come from 1st world countries, where fast computers and broadband internet connections are readily available.

With limited time, resources should be concentrated on Firefox and IE8 to provide the most coverage of the sites' users.