Once the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic blows over, all businesses will need to re-engage customers and source for new leads quickly. There will be a lot of noise on the mainstream advertising networks and a different path will have to be sought to cut through the clutter.

Influencer marketing, riding of an assumed trust dividend present among social media users is poised to take off in Kenya.

Screenshots from the Wowzi Experience.

What does it mean to be an influencer in Kenya?

The term influencer conjures the image of a personality with followers in the high double-digit thousands and on to the millions, a probable celebrity or other such public figures, but that could not be further from the truth.

Every digital native and immigrant exerts a certain gravity in their sphere of interaction, whether that is across a network of the baseline 150 persons as prescribed controversially by Dunbar’s number, β€˜a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships’, or larger.

I sat with the team from the marketing platform Wowzi, to unpack their research on the state of and also the opportunities present in influencer marketing. Nano and Micro-influencers, who are identified as having audiences of between 250 and 30,000 have the broadest aggregated reach across platforms and as a result also deliver higher engagement rates than their established counterparts who have singular large audiences.

They are also more accessible and agreeable to rates that small and medium-sized businesses can afford which is key for the current market conditions.

How influencers in Kenya make money

Driven by the need to augment incomes, they are likely to, in their thousands be willing to amplify product and service reach. However, 80% of influencers cite late payments as their main peeve, followed by inconsistent work and scope creep.

Top industry segments using influencer marketing are events, hospitality, tourism, retail, food and beverage, and fashion. This is expected to expand as business owners and marketing executives warm up to its potential. Sixty-five percent of advertisers spend between Ksh. 10,000 and 150,000 monthly in marketing initiatives, a sum that falls below the target of many advertising agencies to manage, pointing to the need for self-service models and platforms.

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Restricted budgets rank high as a constraint to using influencer marketing, followed by reliance on traditional channels and difficulty in measuring return on investments, however, there is recognizable growth in spend from agencies and also directly from businesses over the past two years.

The conditions are ripe for this double-sided marketplace to thrive.

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