Why its a big deal that Facebook has over 6 million users in Kenya

Facebook is on a roll in Kenya! The great thing about Facebook is that using their digital campaign planning dashboard you can get accurate insights on how many users you can reach using various targeting parameters.

Facebook also freely shares their numbers unlike many other major social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube. Therefore, in January 2016, the number we had was that Facebook was 5 million users strong in Kenya. That was huge given that Facebook has been growing like a weed over the last few years in Kenya as more and more people get connected thanks to affordable smartphones, inexpensive mobile data bundles and increasingly widespread mobile broadband.

According to information we obtained from Facebook this week, Kenya now has 6.1 million Facebook users! If you run the numbers, this means that Facebook added 1.1 million users in Kenya over 10 months or specifically they added 110,000 users a month on average.

Using a back of the envelope calculation, if Kenya has a population of 45 million then 13% or so are now connected to Facebook – not bad by any measure for a technology platform. Not bad at all for the Zuckerberg nation!

These numbers suggests that Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Kenya a few months ago was no fluke – Kenya must be one of their fastest growing markets – not just in Africa but globally. Indeed, it goes without saying that Facebook has become a metaphor for the Internet in Kenya since the majority of new users will be spending a good portion of their Internet consumption there connecting to friends and family – for the very first time. If you also factor in that Facebook owns WhatsApp which is essentially replacing SMS in Kenya, you get the sense that Facebook is indeed front and centre of the mobile consumer digital experience.

Going forward, what remains to be seen is just how big Facebook could be in Kenya within the next couple of years? Our guess is that they could crack the 10 million mark by the end of 2018, if not earlier if the current growth trajectory continues. This means that we could be looking at over 25% market penetration in no time at all in Kenya. In addition, given that Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp which are also growing massively in Kenya and one can see that they will extend their dominance of social media here indefinitely. There is also a very real possibility that Facebook will use their market leadership in Kenya to tap into the mobile money space for transactions given that Kenya is the global leader in this arena. If we were Safaricom, we would be watching Facebook very very closely!

By Dot Savvy Africa

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