According to CCK’s latest (May 2011) Kenya internet and mobile phone usage report, internet penetration in Kenya currently stands at 25.9%. That is to say, in numbers, there are about 10.2 million internet users in Kenya. And the number is growing. Now, more than ever therefore, Kenyan businesses should take note of the obvious online marketing opportunities this presents. See graph below:
I wanted to find out which sites most of these Kenyans visit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything much from the Kenyan internet service providers. The closest I came accross was the graph below showing data from safaricom, courtesy of Whiteafrican.com.
Considering that Safaricom has a 92.18% market share of all the Kenya internet subscriptions (see the above-mentioned CCK report), its data is a very good indicator.
You may argue that, since the majority internet subscribers for Safaricom come through mobile devices, the list is a bit biased towards sites with mobile content. But as Whiteafrican correctly points out, the mobile phone is the primary means of accessing the internet in East Africa. You simply can’t ignore that market segment, and as an organization, it may help to have a mobile content and mobile marketing strategy
But, just to be sure, I also had a look at the Alexa rankings for Kenya, and as you can see below, there is a big overlap. True, Alexa data may not be 100% accurate, but it is indicative enough. I look forward to the day Google will include Kenya and other African countries in its 100 most-visited sites by country tool.
The 10 most popular websites in Kenya (According to Alexa)
- Daily Nation
The 10 most popular Kenyan websites in Kenya
- Daily nation
- Capital FM 98.4
- The Standard
What can we deduce from the above?
- If you have never considered social media marketing, it is high time you did. From the above statistics, and from general observation, it is obvious that Facebook is the hottest online property in Kenya at the moment. Other social networks (Youtube, Twitter, and Linkedin) have sizable local traffic too. Of course it is debatable if indeed it is a good thing that most Kenyans spend considerable online time “facebooking” and “tweeting”.But before joining that debate, with a good strategy, there is a way you can take advantage of this social media crowd.
- Search engine marketing, i.e. SEO and PPC, should obviously also be a key part of any organization’s online plan. What with what with Google (both .co.ke and .com) and Yahoo! having huge traffic from Kenya. Looks are however deceptive sometimes. Before you conclude that Kenyans are using the internet for research, take a look at some of the top searches from Kenya (I got these from Google insights for search). The key terms include: “facebook”, “yahoo mail”, “gmail”, “yahoomail”, “Kenya Jobs”, “jobs in Kenya”, “jobs in nairobi”, etc. Some of the rising searches (at the time of checking) were “masinde muliro”, “osama”, and “nairobi nights”.Obviously, many searchers know the websites they want to visit (e.g. facebook, yahoo mail, Nairobi nights), but don’t remember the URLs thus use Google to lead them there. This, to me, underscores the importance of brand building. The search for “jobs” to an extent also reveals one of the biggest needs in Kenya at the moment – employment opportunities. This is also attested by the fact that Kenyan job websites (brightermonday.com, careerpointkenya.com, kenyanjobs.blogspot.com) are some of the most visited Kenyan websites.If you incorporate search engine marketing in your overall strategy, be sure to use the correct tools to discover the so-called “long-tail keywords”. That’s where the profits lie.
- If you are looking for advertising opportunities, the websites of local media companies are still a good place to advertise. They are by far the most popular Kenyan websites locally.
- There is still a lot of room for you to create a high-traffic website today. Three years ago, neither mocality.co.ke nor dealfish.co.ke existed (their whois records show they were both registered in 2009). Today, they are among the most visited Kenyan websites. Of course both of them have been advertising quite aggressively, both online and offline. And that is the point. Consider nyerionline.com too (created in 2008). I haven’t seen any of their paid ads in google, but they too are now a force to reckon with.
- Despite what some people claim, blogging ain’t dead, at least not in Kenya. In my informed opinion the reason many Kenyans are visiting Blogger.com and wordpress.com (position 6 and 11 respectively by alexa statistics) is to blog in the free platforms they provide. Lately, a number of blogger.com-powered Kenyan bloggers (Bankelele, Wanjohi wa Kigogoine, Tamaku, Sue Maisha) are grabbing the attention of wide audiences. There are countless other reputable Kenyan bloggers with their own registered domains. And they have a huge following.
- Bonus point: You can deduce a lot about the online habits of Kenyans if you go beyond the top 10 to, say the top 100. I took a look and I can safely say that some of the popular online activities among Kenyans include downloading free stuff like movies and software, reading local and international news, engaging in online political and social discussions, and watching pornography (surprise?!).