As Kenya inches closer to the big date in 2013 when it will go to polls to decide on who the leaders at the devolved government and central government level will be, InMobi, the largest independent mobile network in the world, recently conducted a research on the upcoming elections and how the voter and the campaigners are embracing use of mobile devices and new media platforms like social media in the run up to the big date.
The research looked at several things but of great interest to many, and my readers as I expect, is the role that social media is going to play in deciding who the next occupant of the prized house on the hill will be. How effective is social media being used by those gunning for various seats? Well, all those are answered in the findings that InMobi released last Friday.
It’s not a surprise that a majority of Kenyans still shun new sources of information like the internet on cellular devices and opt for more traditional media as a source of political information they trust. Men (at 21%) have a lot of confidence in the use of cellular devices as a reliable source of political information going into the 2013 electioneering period. Women on the other hand are strong advocates of a traditional media, television, with 45% of them responding in the affirmative that TV is the go to media. Compare that to the paltry 12% who were for the use of cellular devices to relay political information. Strangely, the use of desktops and laptops is not popular amongst the Kenyans surveyed as only 9% of the males and 13% of the females think it is the most preferable means of relaying political information. Much of this is to be attributed to the mobile boom in Kenya and that computing is yet to be that mainstream for computers to be more popular than handheld devices. Quick reminder here: though TV is the medium that most Kenyans want to get political information from, only around 750,000 Kenyan households have TV sets. Besides TV sets are costly. Radio (at 23% for the males and 17% for the females), the second most popular medium is not that cheap either. Newspapers only managed to win 15% of the hearts of men and dropped 3 points as far as the women are concerned. The inclusion of mobile, something which was not a factor 10 years ago, signals the changing times and the rise of mobile computing over the years. It means strongly that mobile has a future in completely changing the way we do things.
In terms of the election content that Kenyans want, 58% would want to have party memorabilia including wallpapers. Nice one, the era of those plastic caps is now being phased out by trendy and stylish phone wallpapers.
Another interesting stat from the research is that 84% of Kenyans on social media who were polled, are willing to share their political views on online forums.
With such data, it is now possible for all marketers and parties involved informed to take their online engagements to another level and exploit the opportunities that can by brought by the union e.g. socially integrated campaigning