Media, communication and advertising honchos in Kenya had to think on their feet after the country’s first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in March 2020.
All of a sudden, less people were buying the dailies at their local newspaper stand, or looking at advertising billboards on their way to work. Firms were slashing their advertising budgets as part of cost-cutting measures. And while a large number of Kenyans were cooped up in their homes, TV and radio stations had to compete for their attention with everything from TikTok to Instagram, Whatsapp and the PS5.
Insights gleamed from the International School of Advertising (ISA) review of the first half of 2021 (H1 2021) – which is based on data from leading agencies and market intelligence firms – offer an inside look at the trends and numbers that have defined media and advertising in Kenya during the pandemic.
Overall advertising expenditure in H1 2021 is up 15% compared to the same period last year. However, the figure also represents a 4.4% decline from the second half of 2020 (H2 2020), research by data-driven marketing firm ReelAnalytics indicates.
TV received the lion’s share of ad spend in H1 2021 – Ksh35.1 billion, while radio got Ksh23 billion. Advertising expenditure for OOH (Out of Home) and print stood at Ksh1.7 billion and Ksh0.4 billion respectively for the same period.
From H2 2020 to H1 2021, TV and Radio ad spends dropped by 6% and 4% respectively while OOH and Print rose by 27% and 9% respectively.
Examples of OOH advertising solutions include billboards or public transit ads. It has rebounded with the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions after a torrid H1 2020 that saw many firms cut OOH advertising leaving billboards empty. The gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions was also credited for the rise in print spending.
ReelAnalytics’ Senior Researcher Eric Mokaya further observed: “TV and Radio were largely influenced by a drop in advertising in the communication and finance sectors. For instance, Safaricom’s high expenditure in H2 2020 was linked to the firm’s 20th anniversary which saw the firm launch a number of promotional campaigns speaking to various hustles countrywide as well as rewarding loyal subscribers. This campaign has gradually reduced in 2021,” adding “In the financial sector, financial results released by various publicly listed banking institutions showed a drop in net profit.”
Top 10 TV Stations by Ad Spend
Unsurprisingly, Royal Media Services (RMS)-owned Citizen TV which according to Geopoll is Kenya’s most watched station got the highest share of ad spend among TV stations in H1 2021, with 15.2%.
KTN Home and NTV followed closely with 13.8% and 12.1% respectively. With 8.9%, Kameme TV in fourth had the highest share of any vernacular TV station.
K24, Inooro TV and KTN News secured 6.6%, 6.0% and 5.5% respectively. Kass TV, KBC Channel 1 and Sign TV closed out the top 10 with 5.5%, 2.3% and 2.2% each.
Top Spending Industries
Betting firms topped the list of leading spending industries in H1 2021, reporting a 74% growth in ad spend that was attributed to increased advertising budgets meant to raise awareness of their brands in 2021 after a slow 2020 was characterized by a stringent regulatory regime and the ramifications of the pandemic.
The communication, media and finance industries which occupy the next three spots saw their ad spends decline in H1 2021 by 14%, 21% and 31% respectively.
The gradual easing of government restrictions was also apparent in the Beverages’ industry whose ad spend grew 39% in H1 2021 to rank fourth. The sector had been hard hit by the curfew, restrictions on alcohol sales and operating hours of restaurants, bars and hotels.
Personal care, foods, society, agriculture and shopping close out the list of the top 10 spending industries.
The upcoming General Election in 2022 has raised expectations of a steady rise in political ad spending and a drop in corporate ad spending.
It is projected that there will be an 18% rise in ad spends as we move into the the second half of the year. Digital ad spends are also expected to grow steadily. As the overall ad market rebounds, digital spending is projected to increase by 20.4% compared to 2020.