The 10 Most Popular Sites in Kenya
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a pretty large and well attended ICT Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My presentation was on internet marketing within a Pan-African context. In the course of doing my research using Alexa (http://www.alexa.com), a web site ranking service, I was very surprised to learn that Kenyaâ€™s most popular web sites have changed significantly in the last year or so. Okay, there are the usual suspects like Yahoo!, Google and the Daily Nation that receive tremendous traffic, as can be expected. However, even within the top ten, as of this writing, there are many that I had not anticipated, especially those that are social networking sites. I think the following findings are extremely important for anyone looking to leverage the Internet as a key marketing channel in Kenya, targeting Kenyans:
1. Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com)
Yahoo! is the top online destination for users in Kenya. I am guessing here but I would bet that the main activity on this site is email and perhaps online chat. There are so many people who have Yahoo! email addresses and messenger accounts and this is the confirmed main activity in lots of cybercafÃ©s. So, if I were a marketer trying to reach out online in Kenya, I would buy ads in Yahoo!
2. Google Kenya (http://www.google.co.ke)
Google, unless you have been under a rock for the past few years is a company bent on world domination, seriously! Their mainstays, and core business remains internet search and online ads. Google recently set-up shop in Nairobi which is the regional HQ for East Africa. Google Adwords (http://adwords.google.com) and Google Adsense (http://adsense.google.com) are the money machines behind their record earnings these last few years. Currently, Google is in the process of finalizing their acquisition of DoubleClick (http://www.doubleclick.com), one of the worldâ€™s leading online advertising networks. The number three (3) ranked site in Kenya is Googleâ€™s global site at http://www.google.com.
4. FaceBook (http://www.facebook.com)
Who doesnâ€™t love FaceBook! I was pleasantly surprised to find just how popular this site is at number four (4) in Kenya. This ranking also suggests to me that lots of companies are losing productivity as all their workers are busy poking and adding friends to their lists every day. At the same time, any marketer should salivate at the opportunity to reach the Kenyan FaceBook market. A few months ago, FaceBook launched profile pages which let companies market themselves to FaceBook users. This initiative, in conjunction to buying ads on FaceBook presents a compelling proposition to reach Kenyanâ€™s online.
5. Windows Live Search (http://search.live.com)
Windows Live Search is Microsoftâ€™s Search Engine. A latecomer to the search game, Live Search has grown significantly in the last few years but still lags a distant third to Google and Yahoo! Search. However, in terms of indexing and quality results, itâ€™s been quite impressive. Like with the other leading search engines, Live Search enables advertisers to market their offerings using sponsored listings, much like Google Adwords. As of this writing, Microsoftâ€™s bid at US$ 44 Billion for Yahoo! could significantly change the prospects for Windows Live Search which is already quite popular in Kenya.
6. Hi5 (http://www.hi5.com)
Hi5, like FaceBook, is a popular social network. On a global scale, it lags far behind but for some reason seems to do better across several African Countries. This site, like FaceBook, presents an interesting marketing platform.
7. YouTube (http://www.youtube.com)
I must admit that the high ranking of YouTube at number seven (7) was a big surprise. I say so because the Google owned YouTube is the worldâ€™s leading video sharing web site. Now, in Kenya, where we are well accustomed to slow internet connections and erratic online experiences, people are actually spending a significant amount online watching streaming videos! Itâ€™s also refreshing to see Kenyan organizations such as NTV (http://www.youtube.com/user/NTVKenya) and the Kenya Red Cross (http://www.youtube.com/user/KenyaRedCross) having channels on YouTube. A BIG hint is that video growing fast online and any marketer should look at repurposing their content for a YouTube.
8. MSN (http://www.msn.com)
MSN is Microsoftâ€™s online portal that consolidates services such as email, chat, news, jobs, etc, much like Yahoo! has done. The site, which integrates a whole host of Microsoft offerings, has done well in the last few years as more and more users and businesses migrate to online business. As a marketing channel, together with Windows Live Search, this site presents an excellent platform to reach Kenyans.
9. Blogger (http://www.blogger.com)
Blogger is a leading site for users to create their own blogs. As blogs gain more and more momentum online, Kenya has not been left behind and a good number of Kenyan themed blogs are out there. So, it would seem that Kenyanâ€™s are following lots of blogs on Blogger and it would be an excellent marketing location for marketers to have corporate blogs here too.
10. RapidShare (http://www.rapidshare.com)
RapidShare is a file sharing web site that lets you upload up 100 megabytes as a single file. The free service is surprisingly high at number ten (10), especially considering that like YouTube, Kenya does not have the best internet infrastructure for this kind of thing. It would also appear that users in Kenya like to exchange files, probably in the form of music, applications and documents, online.
These sites round off the top ten. In terms of the best of the rest, here are the notable sites with online marketing opportunities in the top twenty (20):