Online Advertising in Kenya – How to Make the Most of It

Online Advertising in Kenya – How to Make the Most of It

Online Adverting or Online Marketing or Internet Advertising or Web advertising or Digital Marketing is a way of marketing and advertising through the internet.

Online advertising unlike traditional advertising (radio, print, and cable) is open to all businesses. Traditional advertising was meant for the larger companies who could afford to pay agencies in Madison Avenue.

This led to a high barrier to entry as smaller and new companies would find it harder to compete. This all changed with the advent of internet and changes in society. Now through internet, any company can advertise online.

Online advertising has become so big that revenues from online ads eclipsed cable and TV ads in 2016 and have been rising ever since. In 2018 Ad revenues from both Google and Facebook ads were $160 billion. The ad revenues have been growing every year. This made it more lucrative for more businesses to setup an online presence.

Like traditional advertising, internet marketing involves a publisher, medium, advertising agencies, consumers and the clients. Using Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) as an example, Google is the publisher, the medium or platform is Google Ads, advertising agencies are digital marketers, clients are the businesses and finally consumers are the people who use Google.

One of the main advantages of digital marketing is that it is an even playing field for most companies. Ad Platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, make it easier for large and small companies to use their services to compete fairly.

This means that basically most businesses like yours are on the Internet. According to a search that was done in Jan 2019 there are 1.6 billion websites out there. This brings a new problem to your business as you have to stand out amongst your peers.

The best part about digital marketing your business is that you won’t be marketing your product to every human being online or business. You will only be selling your product to your market. This reduces the number of business you need compete with. This still leaves a large number of competitors and you want to get ahead of them.

Benefits of advertising online.


In the real world, having your business in the best streets in the world, open all throughout the year would lead to you having a lot of business. The online equivalent to this is to have your website to appear on the first page of Google. Leading for you to get a ton of traffic from people who are interested in buying your products or services. People who aren’t familiar with your business will get to know you and be your potential clients. You are also not limited by the number of hours that you are open.


As mentioned earlier, your business isn’t looking to sell its products or services to everyone. It is there to sell to people who are interested in them. Through online marketing, you can position yourself to be available to people who are looking for your services through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or through paid ads. Through these you can delivery your message to your audience and hence improving your bottom line.


This is the biggest advantage of online marketing is that you can reach as many people as possible at a fraction of the cost you would have used if you were to use traditional means. You are able to spend a little money and if you find yourself to be successful, then you can scale up to increase your returns.

Sales Funnel

Through digital marketing you are able to generate leads and nurture them through your buying cycle. You can get them when they are in the awareness stage and educate them about the products or services that you are selling. Through this you can walk them step by step until they are ready to buy from you.


This is another big advantage of digital marketing. Digital marketing lets you measure your ads and marketing efforts. Through the help of softwares that track web Analytics, you can see how effective your marketing campaigns are and how people are relating to your business.

Digital Marketing Strategies

Research Your Market

In order to be effective and save a lot of money, you should properly research your clients and come up with a buyer persona. Through this you will be able to accurately target the people you are looking to sell to. With buyer personas you are able to come up with relevant offerings that will prompt your prospects to engage with your business.


Goals settings should be set up before the digital marketing can be done. There are many business that want their websites to perform a number of actions. This is possible in a website that has proper structures but most don’t have the same. If you are going to use digital marketing, then goals need to be set. Goals help with the design of the website and help the business move forward

How to advertise

There are many options available to the business on which platform to use. Right now Google take a huge chunk of the market share while Facebook lags behind as being second.  Choosing between these two platforms depends on a variety of factors. For example selling niche items work better with Facebook targeting option on the flipside mass market items like fast moving consumer goods work better on Google Ads

Being Clear and Concise

Due to the proliferation of many ads many consumers have become immune to our marketing messages. An average consumers is bombarded by 2000 ads every day. Making her immune to any form of advertising. In the case where you can capture her attention for a few seconds then your ads should be clear and concise. So that your consumer will know what to do with the new information presented. Basically, don’t use 10 words when you can just say it in three.


As an advertiser, you should measure how your ads are performing. To see how they can be improved.

Online advertising can be broken down into the following categories:


  • Website
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid search
  • Paid social
  • Remarketing
  • Email marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Banner Ads
  • Videos

Your website is your online home. This is where all your potential customers and clients will find you.  Here is where they will get information about you and your products or services. Websites function as your shop window that is open 24 hours.  A site is usually the first contact clients will have with your business.

Online marketing is all about driving relevant traffic to your website. The main purposes of a website are attracting users, keeping, encouraging conversion and bringing them back. Not having a proper website will break your business.

A properly designed websites builds trust with potential customers and helps with getting conversions. Many people look at a website for an average of 8 seconds before deciding whether they will continue or go back to where they are from.

Landing pages.

There are many occasions where you would want to send people to your home page of your website. This is common when you are using paid online campaigns where you want the users to go to a specific page.

These specific pages or landing pages provide unique information about products or services. These pages are meant to drive a specific function – a conversion. Conversions could be purchasing a product, downloading a pdf, capturing emails, filling a form and calling a business.

Search engine optimization

Google, Bing and smaller search engines control the internet. They control it because they are the ones that they choose what users can find on the internet. These search engines are the ones that dictate what will appear on page one of the searches.

As a business that has an online presence, it is imperative that it appears on page 1 of Google, and more importantly to appear as the first result on the first page. This is due to the fact that the first site gets 36.4% of the clicks while the site at the bottom gets 2%.

With over a billion websites out there, all the search engines have to come up with a way to rank which site will be most useful to the user. They came up with algorithms and machine learning to rank the web pages.

The algorithms used are a well-guarded secret because if anyone finds a way of understanding them then she will take advantage of them. As a result, the algorithms keep being changed so often and being on page 1 isn’t promised. A recent update prevented more than one site being featured on Google search.

Since they don’t let people know how the algorithms work Google tries to help better websites to appear on page 1 by giving out rules on how to do it. If the rules are followed, there is a likely chance of the website being ranked as first. The method of getting your website to the first page is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO works by including keywords that relate to your product or service being sold on your site. This works by when people search the same keywords on search engines then your website appears.  To get the right keywords, you would need to do some research to get what keywords your audience are searching.

Working on SEO takes a lot of time to get to the first 3 spots and when you are there, you have to fight of future competition. The results of doing so are worth it for your business as stated earlier they help you get the most business.

SEO is a broad topic but here are some quick tips to help increase your ranking:

  • Remove anything that slows down your site.
  • Link to other websites with relevant content.
  • Create in depth content
  • Write for human beings and not for search engines
  • Get quality sites to link to you
  • Write unique meta descriptions
  • Use the right keywords for your images.

Paid Search

Knowing that it takes a while before you are able to dominate the search engines by being on page 1 and the first position, there has to be another solution to get your name out there.

In comes paid search, or pay per click – PPC – where you pay the search engines to display your ads when certain keywords are searched. PPC is what people think of when they think of online advertising and are scared about it because they don’t understand it.

PPC search ads are found on the top of the search results. Not to be confused by the organic listings they have the “ad” notation on it. This shows the users that these are paid ads.

PPC works by advertisers choosing relevant terms or keywords to bid on that cause text based ads to be shown to web users when they enter search queries similar to the keywords into search engines.

For example if your business sells beds, you might want to bid on the following keywords “comfortable beds”. When a user searches for beds using the words “quality beds” your ads will be triggered and displayed to the user. Depending on the user’s intent, he may buy your bed immediately.

PPC is as simple as that. PPC works only when someone clicks on your ads. If by any chance the users searches on cheap beds and sees that you aren’t offering what they are looking for then they don’t click the ads. Meaning you as an advertiser don’t pay for the search ads.

As this is simple for many advertisers to do, many of them were bidding large amounts of money to be on top of the searches. To ensure quality ads are shown, Google came up with a way of ranking which ads would be displayed.

Google ads are displayed when the user searches using certain terms that trigger keywords which then put in ad auction and whichever ads that have the best ranking appear first. The Ad rank is based on quality score and bid price.

For a successful google ads campaign keywords should be very relevant to the business, structured into ad groups and have the correct match type in order to be displayed.

Paid Social

Following paid search would be paid social. Paid social is the same as paid search but using paid ads on social networks. Paid search changed internet advertising but paid social is changing how people use the internet today.

Social networking sites are very popular these days with 80% of adults having social accounts. With the number going higher with children who are 13 years and older.

Facebook still remains king with the highest number of followers on its platform. While twitter lies a close second. Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit and the rest follow.

Paid social is mainly different from paid search in that with social ads, the advertisers look for the consumer. With search ads, the consumer looks for the advertiser. There are many other differences between the two mediums for example:

  • The targeting method is different. With search ads, advertisers use keywords while in social ads they use demographics
  • Social ads have a lower cost per click or cost per mille
  • User intent is very different.

Social ads are very granular and advertisers can benefit from this a lot. Advertisers can target demographic data – age, gender, income, level of education, and marital status- browsing preference, interest, and social behaviour. These allow the ads to be more targeted and more effective for the advertisers.

Here is an example of a Facebook ad

Twitter ad example

Instagram ad example

There are many social networks out there and more and more of them are offering ads to advertisers. Each platform has its own identity and advertisers can choose wisely what will work for them or not. For example Pinterest started offering ads recently has said its users are unique in that they are ready to buy and are looking for items you cant get anywhere else.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the oldest and most effective online marketing techniques that still exist. Email marketing consists of newsletters, promotional emails, appreciations, or even content downloads.

Email is very effective as it is permission based marketing. This is where your customers and potential ones give you their email to send them marketing materials. This is a big opportunity that gives marketers great returns. It is said that email marketing gives back $44 to every $1 spent.

No other marketing medium is as effective or as long lasting as email marketing.

We do have to mention that because of the ease of nature of using email marketing, many advertisers have used this opportunity to use it negatively. That is why we have spam folders whereby email serving companies don’t want to fill your inbox with nonsense. Also prevent princes from Nigeria from contacting you.

If used well email marketing has the highest return on invest rate and gives companies that have a longer buying cycle opportunities to keep in touch with their customers. One other advantage email marketing has over other forms of online advertising is that it costs nothing to run.

Content marketing

Content marketing is another digital marketing strategy that all business should use. If properly done it can be used to indirectly advertise your business to potential clients. This indirect advertising is done by providing people with helpful and interesting original information.

Content marketing varies in form, it can be blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, articles, white papers and case studies.

Content marketing has the following advantages:

  • It establishes you as an authority and builds your brand. When you provide original and helpful material to people, they will trust you and work with you in the future. Many offline and online marketer swear to this, they even say they would rather avoid cold calling but rather publish a 3000 word helpful article.
  • Through content marketing you can walk your clients through the buying cycle from awareness to buying your products. You can educate your clients about your business, their problem and the benefits of using you as a service provider.
  • Original content has a side benefit of helping your website to improve SEO rankings. Google these days prefers to let blog posts rank higher than actual sites due to their new and fresh content. It also helps people spend more time on your site going through various posts.

Sponsored Content

This different from the other forms of content in that you as an advertiser pay another party to promote your products or services. They may write favourable articles about your products on their website – native advertising, favourable social media posts and YouTube videos.

This form of advertising takes on an already established audience and sending them appropriate marketing messages. Many internet marketers haven’t tapped on to this as it has a huge potential in digital marketing.

One of the major advantages of this is that you don’t have to worry that people will switch off against your marketing message. This is because the audience is looking forward to the content from the publisher.

This is a relatively new method and therefore many businesses are still unaware of the advantages.

Influencer Advertising

Influencer marketing is one of the newer ways to marketing things online. Although it is not as new because we have always had celebrities endorsing one product or the other. This time the influencers are made from social media accounts.

Influencers are people who have a significant online presence and can push products or services to be sold. There are two types of influencers – macro and micro influencers. Like the names suggest, the macro influencers are the celebrities who have millions of followers and micro ones have thousands of followers.

There is an argument which of the two to use. The larger ones are more effective in branding campaigns but the smaller ones are more successful in when comes to return on investment. I wrote this article about how influencers were used on the FYRE festival.

The Hershey Company, has used this strategy with success.

It partnered with several influencers to promote its Hot Cocoa Kisses on YouTube. In addition to the influencers promoting the product on their channels, The Hershey Company also launched a paid ad campaign on YouTube, which advertised the influencers’ Hot Cocoa Kisses content.

The campaign was a massive success, generating the following results:

12 percent increase in purchase intent

551% increase in searches

$9+ million in retail sales

Results like these are why influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the best online advertising strategies. Get ahead of the curve and start experimenting with influencer marketing and advertising in your business.


This would fall under paid search advertising campaigns but it needed its own mention. One of the reason is because many online business rely more on remarketing rather than paying for search ads.

Remarketing is very important to all types of websites because people rarely go to a new website and by a product or service immediately. Remarketing reminds these people about the site the visited and the offers they were looking at.

Also the customer journey has become long and complex and involved different devices. Remarketing ensures that the customer is followed wherever he or she went. This not only significantly increases brand awareness, but also provides numerous further opportunities for the user to revisit your website and convert at a later time.

It is not a marketing strategy by itself but used in conjunction with other then it can prove to be very profitable.


Online banners are the most common known form of advertising. They consists of images of different formats, sizes and design and are placed strategically on web sites.

They were over used to the point that many users started to ignore them and advertisers decided to switch to search ads.

Banner ads still have a place in today’s online ads. When they are used properly they can be very effective. Banner ads target certain audiences. As an advertiser, you will figure out what type of people visit certain sites and to see if they are good for you.

Banner ads are charged according to cost per mile (CPM) or a fixed cost. According CPM, your ads will be charged for every 1000 views. Using Fixed cost, you will pay a fixed cost no matter how many clicks or views the ads have.

Video Ads

Videos are the last and most effective ways to advertise online. We all watch videos on Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and Instagram. Our phones are made are to consume videos. Videos work on the same premise as content marketing.

Video marketing is a great opportunity because many people aren’t confident to get in front of a camera to record themselves. This means there is a higher barrier to entry than all other marketing forms. The harder it is, the better because once you are on top then it will take a while to be dislodged.

Videos are even easier to distribute than other forms of content. Posting videos on YouTube and Facebook is a sure way of getting your message out there.

The biggest benefit to using videos is that they can go viral. Meaning many people will see your videos.

An advertising agency was trying to market diamonds to millennials and he wasn’t sure how to do it. He watched of some guys on YouTube using a hydraulic press to crush various objects. He sent them a diamond to crush it on their YouTube channel and tag the agency.

The video went viral and they were able to spread their message.


There are various ways of marketing products online. As the internet grows there are always new ways to find an audience to advertise to. For example, Twitch.tv is becoming a new place where you can run ads solely for gamers.

Coming up with a digital strategy that will suit your products or service and audience will give you a good return on investment

Click here to see how we can help you market your business online


There are 3 comments on this post
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