How Kenyans burn megabytes on social media

social media
Social is arguably the ultimate time sink, great for those idle moments but also wreaking havoc on productivity on the job front. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The mobile phone has changed our lives immeasurably, starting from its original core function of communication and onward to its enhanced utility that covers an increasing part of our waking hours. Enhanced utility has been driven primarily by connectivity, allowing access to content and services via the internet. With the long tail of use difficult to fully map out, one may wonder what and where the majority of Kenya’s spend their treasured megabytes.

A report by Nendo, a digital strategy and research agency, unpacks the 5 S’s of Kenyans’ digital lives. While some of the destinations may come across as obvious, others are surprising and may speak into our psyche as a nation.

Search is the number one utility with the need for information and quest for knowledge not abating or limited to any industry. Google is the dominant force here, a position firmed up from the wide use by original equipment manufacturers of its open Android operating system.

Social is arguably the ultimate time sink, great for those idle moments but also wreaking havoc on productivity on the job front. Facebook is Kenya's second most visited website with over 8.5 million visitors monthly, 98 percent accessing via mobile phone. Twitter comes in at 10 with approximately 1.5 million monthly active users. These platforms cross-pollinate to great amplified effect offline.

Sports has always featured in the lives of Kenyans but never in the way that was catalysed by the going mainstream of gaming, a tangent on the term ‘play’ as one would traditionally associate. Major app stores do not list betting apps leaving side loading, web and mobile web as the channels of access.


Sex, we have it but do not want to talk about it openly. Well people are moving conversations and curiosity online with adult content making top 10 in Kenya.

A number of other properties host growing communities of Kenyans often under pseudonyms who chat, share and consume content. With high definition audio visual content as the standard, the revenue contribution to mobile network operators is considerable.

Storytelling closes out the list. The micro format dubbed ‘Stories’ as pioneered by Snapchat has quickly been adapted by others – ‘Status on WhatsApp, with Instagram growing to hit over 500 million daily active users globally. Storytelling by news outlets, bloggers and other user generated content lays claim to a sizable share of consumer’s megabyte wallets across different online and mobile properties.