Kenyans trust friends more than influencers when making purchase

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  • Kenyans trust friends and personal recommendations more than influencers when making purchasing decisions according to a new study by RedBrick Africa. 
  • 83 percent of Kenyans would buy something recommended online by someone they know personally, higher than 59 percent of Kenyans who would buy a product recommended by an influencer.
  • While influencers are a key component of any marketing strategy, they are not to be utilized in isolation. 

Kenyans trust friends and personal recommendations more than influencers when making purchasing decisions according to a new study by RedBrick Africa. 

The study released last month indicates that 83 percent of Kenyans would buy something recommended online by someone they know personally, higher than 59 percent of Kenyans who would buy a product recommended by a social media influencer. 

The research raises concerns over the use of social media Influencers by brands. Latest data Indicates that In 2019, companies around the world spent $6.5 billion on influencer marketing. In 2021, that market is estimated to have grown to $13.8 billion.

Brands were also projected to have spent $15 billion in influencer marketing in the US alone in 2022.

“While influencers are a key component of any marketing strategy, they are not to be utilized in isolation.  Influencer marketing is not a magic bullet, there is a need to mix your marketing tactics including using mainstream media, don’t just rely on influencers, have a broader strategy, ” said Mwongera Mutiga, Managing Director, Redbrick Africa. 

Mutiga says brands should seek out, cultivate and groom super users, (sold out to the brand, and promote it without prompting or payment) as they are more valuable than influencers could ever be. 

According to the report, 80 percent of Kenyans research extensively before they buy a brand promoted online, while 78 percent of Kenyans rely on offline knowledge of the brand before they buy something online. 

There are also trust issues in e-Commerce as 75 percent of Kenyans have been disappointed by the quality and appearance of the products they bought advertised online.  

Online reviews are also important to Kenyan consumers as 65 percent of Kenyans trust online review of products sold online. Also 65 percent of Kenyans trust brands that they also interact with online. 

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So what do brands need to consider when it comes to social media ?

“The Key for brands to consider is that consumers relate better with personal connection. The more knowledgeable you are about a topic, the more credible you are, also brands with an offline presence are trusted more online. There is also a general mistrust of brands that self promote on social media,” he added. 

In Kenya, there is a growing number of personalities who are in the influencer marketing space making a tidy income, mostly on Instagram. Most of them are personalities who have amassed a big following from mainstream media. 

According to a Business Daily Columnist, Tony Watima, one of the reasons for this fast growth is that brands find influencer marketing cost-effective. 

“The pandemic has also pushed brands towards more influencer marketing after growth of social media users during this period. But the informal nature of influencer marketing comes with its own dangers such as misrepresentation, miseducation, or deceptive marketing. Deceptive influencer marketing involving product misrepresentation, misinformation and non-disclosure of sponsored product is a source of a growing concern largely because consumers place trust in influencers making them vulnerable to deception,” Watima observes. 

According to the  Redbrick report, the majority of people online in Kenya are male. 

“The typical social media user in Kenya is aged 25 to 34, male, on Facebook and spends 5hrs daily online. Facebook is by far the biggest platform in Kenya, there are 5 times more FB users than IG or Twitter,” the report reveals. 

Interestingly, as the report reveals, the typical working person in Kenya is aged 25 to 44, male and earns less than $500 per month. 

Kenya has 12 million facebook users, 11 million Facebook Messenger users, 9.2 million youtube users, 2.9 million LinkedIn users, 2.5 million instagram users, 1.75 million users on snapchat and 1.35 million users on Twitter.

A communication expert with over 10 years’ in journalism and public relations. My ability to organize, coordinate and follow through assignments has enabled me to excel in media. I have a passion for business in Africa and of course business in Kenya!

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