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Field usage and mobile access on the rise: ReliefWeb in 2017

By Véronique Durroux-Malpartida

There are stories behind numbers, and we can learn a lot by looking at ReliefWeb analytics trends in 2017. Throughout the year, more than 6,8 million users visited ReliefWeb, an 18.33% increase from 2016. Let’s take a closer look at what and who are behind those figures.

More visibility equals more users

In 2017 we reached out to potential users looking for humanitarian content via new channels. ReliefWeb became available on the latest news aggregators such as Google Play Newsstand and Apple News. Since its launch in late August 2017, Google Newsstand was visited by an average of 9,000 people a month.

Our Product team also worked on making ReliefWeb content more easily discoverable when you search for humanitarian updates on Google or other search engines.

Last but not least, moving our URL from “http” to “https” not only helped secure our platform by protecting the data exchanged, it also boosted ReliefWeb’s ranking in Google search results.

A growing field user base

ReliefWeb users come from different professions - humanitarian workers, donors, governments, media… They are also fairly evenly distributed across continents, with Africa, America and Asia each representing a little more than 25% of the total.

Usage from the American continent rose significantly in 2017, probably spurred by humanitarian operations around the hurricanes that devastated several Caribbean islands and the earthquakes that struck Mexico in September.

The overall number of users from Africa grew more than 19%. Eastern Africa, with nearly 15% of total ReliefWeb users, ranked second only after North America for access by sub-continent. The protracted crisis in the Horn of Africa and the severity of the humanitarian situation in South Sudan likely explain these high figures.

What we also saw last year was a leap in access from countries with expanded humanitarian operations, including Bangladesh, because of the Rohingya refugee crisis, and Nigeria, where OCHA and humanitarian partners scaled up operations in light of the situation in the northeast. Access to ReliefWeb from those two countries increased by more than 100%. Furthermore, the complex Lake Chad Basin crisis, which spreads across Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, was highlighted in a new Topic page.

Rise of on-the-go access

Trends indicate that more and more users visit ReliefWeb using mobile devices: while overall access to the platform increased in 2017, the percentage of mobile access was proportionately higher than in 2016, with 40% more users accessing from mobile devices.

Increasing mobile usage may also be behind the success of our mobile apps, including RW Crises, which was downloaded more than 8,500 times in 2017. We also expect RW Lite, an engaging, app-like version that is fast even in areas with low connectivity, to meet the needs of users working in low-bandwidth areas.

Check out what else was new in ReliefWeb in 2017 in the infographic below and share with us your comments and suggestions.

Created using Visme. An easy-to-use Infographic Maker.

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