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Suddenly, Digital Marketing is Hot in Kenya.

I’m not sure when it happened, exactly, but digital marketing is suddenly hot in Kenya. It was not too long ago that I did a two part article here on this blog complaining about how local Ad Agencies did not “get” digital marketing and were more often than not going the tried and proven route of analogue marketing. Clearly, from what I can tell, somewhere along the way, everyone got their digital marketing groove on.

Its interesting to see how many “local” ads one can find on web sites such as Google and Facebook. These are NOT limited to the big brands such as Safaricom and Airtel. You get even really small and probably bedroom operated businesses also doing the digital marketing rounds. To be honest, its hard to find a better medium than the Internet in Kenya to deliver the best return on investment for marketing. As the saying goes, “fish where the fish are”.

A big part of the on-going digital marketing revolution in Kenya stems from the fact that we have approximately 9 million internet users at the moment. This is massive as it represents almost 25% of the Kenyan population – that’s HUGE! The Internet, as a marketing channel therefore has become truly viable and everyone is scrambling to capitalize on this growth. It seems all the large, small and everything in between sized Ad Agencies are all announcing “digital marketing” initiatives every week. In addition, the fact that over 1 million Kenyans are on Facebook and a good number are also on Twitter show that we are indeed a digitally inclined Nation.

So, here is the thing. Even as digital marketing goes into overdrive in Kenya, exactly how well are local brands doing on it? Digital marketing in itself is comprised of a myriad of sub-channels – from email, to mobile web, apps, social media, etc etc. Its actually a very broad channel and it seems that specialization is going to become key. Personally, I have recently had the opportunity to do lots of digital marketing at Dealfish and the results are more often than not eye popping – its really does work! However, specialists in digital marketing niches do deliver the best “bang for buck” in this space. Its very easy to burn cash and NOT get good results. Knowledge and experience is key. We are learning everyday.

There are also a good number of quacks cropping up in the digital marketing “industry” so one has to pay attention and choose carefully. Credentials do matter as do really creative and innovative approaches that guarantee maximum results. Its not just about buying Google Adwords and hoping for the best – optimization of digital marketing needs to be comprehensive and synergistic across all the sub-channels. It has to run the whole gamut of digital arsenal available to Kenyan brands – trust me, there are many many ways of making this happen. In concluding, the future is finally here – digital marketing is hot in Kenya and its already disrupting marketing practices that have been the norm for decades.

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9 Comments

  1. May 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm — Reply

    I especially like how safaricom have gone all out on twitter compared to the other telcos. their presence is very substantial

  2. May 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    Safaricom’s presence is probably better as its a local firm, no longe complex decision making. airtel and orange must have a lot of red tape for such

  3. May 16, 2011 at 1:20 am — Reply

    Social media seems like it has become the epitome of digital marketing; it’s easy to create a Facebook ad e.t.c
    Google ads have recently picked up, and i couldn’t agree more; when you have the knowledge, the power is in your hands.

  4. May 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    This makes sense when you think about it.

    The tactics used in the UK and USA a few years ago can almost be reused in kenya as new (I would think) so it gives those when past experiance a second crack of the whip

  5. June 6, 2011 at 11:43 am — Reply

    The sad thing is that we still see a lot of advertising firms going the traditional way. This should them up to change their old outdated plans

  6. June 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm — Reply

    Love the way Kenyans catch up very fast. In the beginning of this here few people really understand what was going especially speaking of internet marketing now we have become teachers.

  7. Herbert
    June 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm — Reply

    The challenge is not even going digital/online but getting the ROI on this online marketing spend…are the companies doing online marketing carefully planning their objectives and achieving them or rather just going with the flow/trend? Having run Google AdWords ads and Facebook ads, I will tell you that it takes a LOT of testing to get good CTR (click through rate) and eventual conversion (sales, leads, actions)…The Facebook ecosystem is way different from the Google Search and Display/Content network traffic…each platform has the user in different mindset therefore making their offers being pushed relevant to the “mood” of the user is vital. An acceptable CTR on Adwords is considered around 1-2% whereas a good CTR on FB is around 0.02%…HUGE difference…testing, tracking and tweaking are paramount to meet objectives.

  8. June 12, 2011 at 11:31 pm — Reply

    Kenya is not being left behind tech wise. We are catching up with it very fast and maintaining the pace

  9. October 18, 2011 at 11:20 am — Reply

    We have been running online marketing campaigns for clients and ourselves and I have to agree with you, Kenyans are finally getting digital marketing. Not too long ago, I will talk to brands and they will have that blank look on their faces. Now, everyone wants to be the top dog online.

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