It goes without saying that social media is huge in Kenya. Social media is a key driver behind the uptake of lots of inexpensive smartphones since mobile apps for the same are also incredibly popular. Given that social media is super important for brands in Kenya, the question that comes to mind is where should brands ‘play’ when it comes to the most dominant social media platforms in use by Kenyans? It goes without saying that there are the usual suspects and some that are not quite so usual. That being said, we tried to compile the five biggest ones that matter for brands in Kenya, circa 2018, as follows:
Facebook is the biggest social media platform of all in Kenya by a pretty large margin. As of this writing, Facebook has approximately 5 million active users, and growing, in Kenya. Given its reach and uptake, Facebook has become incredibly important for brands to build their communities and also for running digital advertising campaigns. Indeed, Facebook has gone so mainstream that even many Kenyan grandparents are using the platform to stay in touch with friends and family. Therefore, from this perspective, its a no-brainer that you need to use Facebook to make any kind of decent impact via social media in Kenya.
Twitter has been around almost as long as Facebook in Kenya. However, we estimate that its only around a third the size of Facebook here meaning that 1.7 million or so people use it. Unlike Facebook, Twitter only deals with ‘tweets’ and therefore it has fewer use cases compared to Facebook. Its probably for this reason that Twitter is not quite as popular as Facebook even though its still really important when brands need to get their message out there on a regular basis in a concise format. In 2014, it became possible to buy Twitter Ads in Kenya and these have become popular with big brands for their digital campaigns.
Linkedin, like Facebook and Twitter has been around for just as long as they have in Kenya. The main caveat to Linkedin however is that the engagements there are for professionals and as such its more skewed to business engagements unlike the more flexible ‘tone of voice’ on Facebook and Twitter. That being said, for serious work-related and business matters, Linkedin cannot be beaten and many people find jobs there and businesses also look for candidates there too. Linkedin has around 1.3 million users in Kenya making it smaller than Twitter in Kenya. Brands can buy Linkedin Ads for campaigns in Kenya.
We think that Instagram is the breakout social media platform of 2015 and will be even bigger in 2016. Instagram, by its very nature of sharing ‘filtered’ images has made it hugely accessible and successful as well, especially with the youth. We do not have any accurate numbers at this point but we can guess that there are probably 2 to 3 million (or more?) Instagram users in Kenya making it bigger than Twitter or Linkedin. Its also became possible recently to run Instagram Ads in Kenya using the Facebook Ads dashboard and a good number of Kenyan brands are trying it out with great success.
In Kenya, as it is globally, Snapchat is fast gaining adoption especially amongst the youth. Snapchat has taken quite sometime to catch on here but its starting to (finally?) happen. The big draw for Snapchat users is that you can share ‘snaps’ which are instant messages that erase themselves after a pre-determined period of time. Kenyan brands have NOT yet really gotten onto Snapchat (yet?) but this is certainly going to change next year. Mark our words. We don’t have any accurate number but we think Snapchat could have as many as 500,000 users (or more?) in Kenya as of this writing.