More than two million Kenyans are on Facebook, with new research indicating that the popular social networking website is slowly edging out the e-mail as the preferred mode of electronic communication.
New research from Synovate reveals that 79 per cent of Internet-savvy Kenyans visit the website, using it as a primary means to talk to friends, relatives and work mates.
“The implications are significant, this could be a game changing phenomenon especially as we see more businesses start to use the service as an alternate tool to talk to their customers,” said Joe Otin, Media Research and Monitoring Director for pan Africa at Synovate.
Synovate’s latest report, dubbed the Digital Dive, indicates that social networking and entertainment have overtaken e-mails as a primary need for Internet use.
As a result, a quarter of Kenyans who are online do not even have an e-mail address, a significant change from five years ago, when 89 per cent of all Internet users in the country had e-mail address.
Mr Otin said the research revealed that the emergence of a younger, more Internet-reliant consumer could force traditional media such as television, print and radio to potentially lose out on advertising revenue as Internet penetration increases.
“The value proposition presented by the internet means advertising online now makes sense,” said Mr Otin. Synovate’s data reveal that daily and weekly Internet usage has more than doubled in the last two years while monthly usage grew by 80 per cent making it the fastest growing media last year, with more than 3.5 million monthly users.
On average, Kenyan Internet users spend approximately 70 minutes on the Internet per visit.
“This level of media usage is close to the average time spent on television daily. We are seeing significant shifts in the way people receive content, and this could have implications for traditional media going forward,” said Mr Otin.
Over the last six months, several hundred Kenyan businesses have set up a presence on the social networking website, creating fan pages and feedback forums where clients discuss products.
Synovate’s data match that of global research house Nielsen, who report that since February 2009 Internet users have been spending more time on social-networking sites than on e-mail.
Last week, the GSM Association announced that Facebook accounted for almost half of total page views from the 16 million people going online via their mobile in December.
Initial data from the GSMA’s Initial Mobile Media Metrics (MMM) data from three operators shows 16 million unique users viewed 6.7 billion pages, spending 4.8 billion minutes online during December.
Facebook also claimed the lion’s share of total page views, with 2.64 billion in December, beating Google into second place with 894.3 million page views.
Facebook saw the most amount of time spent on its mobile site in December, accounting for 2.16 billion minutes during the month, with Google again second, claiming 395.6 million minutes.
The figures were released as the GSMA unveiled its long-awaited census data, offering advertisers and publishers information about mobile Internet traffic from operator logs for the first time