The State of Digital


A needle in a haystack was the original saying. The concept of the difficulty of finding something has been described in that sense for decades.

Marketing in the digital age tends to feel like that in a variety of ways. Brands have made it onto the digital sphere and the revolution has well and truly began in Kenya and farther afield.

The numbers paint a picture of phenomenal growth aided by the explosion of mobile phones on the continent. Nowhere is this more visible than a comparative look at the numbers in the last two decades. In the year 2000, only 200,000 had access to the internet. This was 0.7 % of the population. Take this against a 2017 CAK report that has that number at 89.4% of the population. This goes beyond just access. The speeds are also worth a mention with a 2017 report citing that Kenyan mobile data speeds doubled the global average. In terms of infrastructure the journey has well and truly began.

But with that revolution has come a more refined audience. Our target market is exposed to thousands of ads in a single day. Everything from the ubiquitous SKIP AD to the beaming lights of neon signs. The truth is that the world around us has become a single billboard with messages drilled into the mind of an unobserving viewership.

Agencies and companies are becoming more savvy with the ways that we reach out to potential customers. The jargon becomes more complicated with every single day as we peddle display networks and programmatic solutions to business problems. While the solutions increase, the users find themselves constantly alienated and irritated by the endless streams of ads. They find them jarring as they tout everything from foot cream to condos.

We have trained ourselves to sift out these messages and only a miniscule percentage even register in the minds of the user. The more brands make it to the digital space, the more messages are sent out and thus the likelihood that the user’s ability to sift them out increases. For lack of better simile, users are building up a resistance to advertising. It is ultimately registered as digital noise. Standing out requires not just a well-crafted message but rather fitting into the mind of the consumer. Into the content that they readily consume. Into their habits. And in there lies the rub. It is still a needle in a haystack but with the right magnet it is scooped right up. The revolution has begun. We are ready for what comes next.

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