Digital Marketing in Kenya: The Growing Popularity of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing in Kenya is a popular practice used by businesses to support marketing in the digital sphere. By using digital technologies like social media and websites, marketers in Kenya have the ability to easily set up campaigns, target specific groups of people and track the results of the campaign.

As you can imagine, this is quite an improvement compared to the traditional forms of marketing like T.V ads and billboards where tracking results was an issue. What’s more digital marketing, unlike traditional forms of marketing, are based on the concept of pulling the consumers to your product or service rather than pushing it to them which can be annoying.

To top it all off, everyone is online nowadays. If you take a matatu home, then you can bear witness that there are usually more passengers glued to their screens than there are gazing at billboards. These, and many other factors discussed in this read, have contributed to the rise of digital marketing in Kenya.

So what does digital marketing in Kenya Encompass?

As digital marketing continues to garner popularity, especially among Kenyan SMEs who benefit most from the friendly digital marketing costs, three major forms of digital marketing have been defined. These are;

  • Paid Media
  • Earned Media
  • Owned Media.

Let’s have a detailed look at each.

Paid Media

This is a form of digital marketing where you pay for your ad or content to be displayed to a targeted group of consumers. For example, when you’re on Facebook and you come across a ‘sponsored post’ it means that the owner of the post, paid Facebook to show you that specific content. The beauty of this form of digital marketing is that you get to set your own budget, setting up the ad doesn’t take all day, and you can always track results. Better yet, you only pay when someone takes your specified action i.e click on the ad or sign up for an offer. Compared to a billboard where you pay the full amount upfront regardless of whether your target market engages or not, paid media gives value for money and is fast overtaking print and radio as the go-to form of marketing. As a matter of fact,  IHS Markit  predicts that Paid Media will replace TV as the leading global advertising medium by 2020.

Earned Media

This is simply the use of editorial content published by supporters or advocates of the brand on social media, blogs or publishers. For example, the blog that you’re currently reading is an example of editorial content in that it is not meant to advertise any service or product but rather to inform and advise anyone looking to know more about digital marketing in Kenya. Therefore earned media, as the name suggests, is based on the principle that the majority of people now search for information online. If you are able to give them the information they’re looking for then you gain their trust and establish yourself as an expert. Any sales person will tell you that being viewed as an expert or credible source of information by a prospect increases your chances of converting a prospect to a client. But how do you target consumers with editorial content? How do you know what they are looking for?

Simple. Search engine tools like Google which carry out over 3.5 billion searches a day, can tell you what people are searching for within your market. You can then use the popularly searched keywords in your editorial to ensure that when your target market has a question for Google, your website or blog comes up in the result. This is what is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Point in case, if anyone searches for ‘digital marketing Kenya’, this blog should show up on Google’s results.

Owned Media

This refers to a channel owned by the brand itself and consists of social media profiles, websites and mobile apps. In case you are wondering why social media has been classified as both owned and earned bear in mind that you own your social media profiles but you try to earn engagement, followers, likes and shares. The benefit of owned media over paid and earned is that you have full control of the platforms be it newsletters or blogs. And unlike social media where you are more like a tenant in a rented apartment, a website fully belongs to you and therefore all the data coming in is yours to use. Social media on the other hand will collect data from it’s ‘tenants’ and resell them in the form of paid ads.

That said, would you like to know more about digital tools used to drive digital campaigns?

Digital Marketing Tools Used in Kenya

Social Media Tools

As earlier mentioned, more and more people are spending time online with billions interacting on social media. That said, brands in Kenya are using tools like Hootsuite to automate their posting on social profiles. So instead of having a dedicated social media personnel posting content everyday, brands find it cheaper and more convenient to schedule the tweets or posts and let a tool like hootsuite or buffer handle the rest. Of course this comes at a cost since the content posted is not in synch with real time events. For example, you could have scheduled a post commending brand x for a certain service only for Brand X to be accused of corruption or some scandal on that same day. Keeping in mind that most Kenyans rely on social media for real time news and updates, scheduling your content beforehand beats logic.

Still, other than scheduling tools, there are tools like that allow you to design graphics for social media. Being visual beings mean that we don’t enjoy going through a block of text. We want something that stimulates us visually and captures our attention. But what do you do if  you don’t have graphic design skills let alone know what Adobe photoshop is. provides easy to use templates complete with specified sizes for different social media platforms, e.g LinkedIn and Instagram.

SEO Tools

Remember when I mentioned earlier that Google performs over 3.5 billion searches a day? Well the majority of these searches are from consumers looking for more information on a product or service that they need. But here’s the catch, google is just a formula or an algorithm, meaning it doesn’t understand english or human language for that matter. It only knows that when someone feeds it ‘best web design kenya’ it must bring back articles or editorials with the words ‘best web design kenya’. Therefore, to ensure that your brand comes up in any of the 3.5 billion searches, you need to optimize your content for the words that you want to be found for. For example, a web designer in Kenya will ensure their content includes the word ‘web designer kenya’ so Google knows they have information on web design in Kenya. But it’s not that simple, Google goes beyond just looking for keywords and also looks at factors like the loading speed of your website, whether the website is secure and how long the website has been in existence just to mention a few. Tools like Yoast and Google web master, Google analytics and Google Speed Page Insight are great tools for tracking, measuring and improving your websites’ SEO.

Want to find out more about Digital marketing tools used in Kenya? Talk to me: [email protected]

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