+202,483 Kenyan Election Tweets, Pages go Pay-to-Play on Facebook, SEO Guide to Google's RankBrain, Offline-First & More

Efoa!

That's 'how are you?' in Ewe, spoken in Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Kenya's Presidential election re-run took place this Thursday and has been the subject of continued debate and the delay in the newsletter getting to your inbox this Saturday.

My team and I are looking at how the 26th of October compared with the 8th August. Nendo's data indicates more tweets on the 26th than on the 8th.

Specifically, a total of 835,733 tweets on 26/10 and 633,250 tweets on 8/8. An increase of 202,483. This is a 24-hour cycle and a preliminary report but more global and local eyes were on Kenya for the 26th.

Word got out that Facebook has been testing changes to the News Feed. According to Facebook, the purpose of the Explore Feed is to help Facebook users discover more content across the social network, beyond posts from friends and Pages. Pages meaning those that you already follow or which are similar to those you’ve already liked, or those popular among your network of friends, for example.

The Explore Feed has now rolled out globally. However, a Slovak journalist published how in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Bolivia, Cambodia and Guatemala, a seismic drop in organic reach was felt by the country's biggest publishers. The News Feed was reserved for only friends and sponsored posts by Pages, relegating organic posts to the Explore Feed.

Facebook was quick to respond to the uproar online and clarify this was a test, but it wouldn't be surprising to see 2018's social media see brands needing to focus on their own assets rather than rented digital properties like Facebook. My team and I noticed this with banks in Kenya who had remarkably low organic reach in our data study. I feel that's partly self-imposed due to their content and agency choices.

The biggest concern from this test is that even engagement and interactions such as likes, comments and shares reduced up to four times. No more free lunches online, prepare for the day where having 100 email addresses or 100 phone numbers may be more valuable than 1,000 likes.

To be clear here, 1,000 likes of the right audience will always have its timeless advantages. That's thanks to the increasingly valuable dividend of Facebook's data. Just prepare to pay Facebook to reach people, acquire their interest and engage them. With the total number of time we spend on there, this is the reason I've said in a past newsletter Facebook might consider providing all its users a universal basic income.

If there's one takeaway from this it is not to get content focusing on Facebook, while neglecting your own digital properties.

The impact felt by Slovakia's biggest Facebook publishers after the test.

In some hyperlocal news, I'd shared in a previous newsletter that Kenya was shown to have faster internet speeds by Speedtest.net. Now, their latest report reveals statistics about broadband speeds among the various mobile network operators in Kenya. Safaricom was found to provide faster speeds to their users than other providers, with average download speeds of 21.25 Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.67 Mbps on LTE devices.

Users in Mombasa and Nakuru have also been found to have faster average download speeds on Safaricom and Telkom Kenya. However, this is not the case for Airtel, as users in Nairobi generally experience faster speeds than users in both Mombasa and Nakuru.

This said, here's your weekly tasting menu of links.

What To Sip (<30 sec Read)

"It is interesting to note that new technology products are never launched in the poor segment of the market and then gradually adapted to higher-level markets. It is always the other way around."

Muhammad Yunus writes in this excerpt of his new book A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions. The continent has some notable exceptions to the quote above, but the more you think about it, the truer it rings.

What To Nibble (<5 mIn Read)

Having spoken about speeds in Kenya, Tanzania sits in 108th for mobile and 109th for web. From this piece by Off Grid Electric it is challenging, especially on mobile. Their explanation for why their mobile strategy is offline-first - expecting disconnection and unreliable connectivity in the rural areas - caught my eye.

Specifically the 3 ways they're making their Android app prepared for a world with inconsistent connectivity - one of the realities of the continent. Their sales team can count on:

  1. SMS fall-back system: when data fails, an SMS is sent to their system to record their input.
  2. Queued jobs - they are able to receive multiple requests, queue them and send them when a connection becomes available.
  3. Push notifications - they alert the user of the status of each submission to the server - successful or unsuccessful.

To build on Muhammad Yunus' quote above, there's room for more of this with African-made apps. It isn't uncommon to find teams spending far too much time building it, too little time testing it and especially not in “data-desert” environments. This is a challenge that product managers, marketers, researchers and others need to build for. Offline-first.

What To Bite (<5 mIn Read)

Brian Dean and his work at Backlinko.com is to be revered. His guide to Search Engine Optimisation in 2018 is this week's long read. It is brilliant. Well designed and laid out as well as in plain English.If you felt I was harsh when I spoke about neglecting digital properties (like a website, mailing list and so on), then I'm here to provide something practical to read and sink your teeth into. Two things stood out to me from his guide:

a) Algorithms

Within Google's set of factors it uses to rank its search results, RankBrain has been described as the third most important factor, only a few months after it was deployed. It is based off two key elements:

  1. How long someone spends on your site (Dwell Time)
  2. The percentage of people that click on your search result from Google (Click-Through Rate)

Google is watching you and your website visitors. If you search for a website and click on a particular search result (say, the #4 organic link in the list) and then spend time on that site - 3 minutes, 14 seconds being the average for a #1 result - it can raise the website's ranking in future search engine results.

b) Video

As you'll know, Nendo and I launched our foray into video a month ago with a YouTube channel called Digital Africa with Mark Kaigwa.

There I've discussed a few videos that have prompted some debate so far. The Top 10 Apps in Kenya and why people download and use them (discover insights into digital lending and why Kenyans are conscious of large MB apps).

One controversial video is the Top 10 Most Visited Sites in Kenya (spoiler alert, it is sports betting and adult websites Kenyans spend majority of their megabytes). I hope you'll watch and subscribe. More coming soon.

 

Brian gives some clear-cut instructions to take things to the next level by engaging in video, including Cisco's analysis that by 2021, 80 percent of web traffic will be video. You'll want to get a head start.

While you we're browsing the Internet, I'm glad to let you know that Nendo's new website is up. The team and I would love your feedback. We built it with Webflow and are doing quality assurance internally, knowing full well we have a few bugs to squash this weekend, ahead of the new week. I consider this newsletter a beta-testing group, of sorts. Let me know what you think.

You’ll find information on our training courses, reports and articles such as our infographic from our analysis of +7,000 customer service tweets from customers and corporates.

That's it from me this week. Have a good weekend and let me know what you think of the formatting the newsletter. It was inspired by feedback by newsletter subscriber William Richter. Do you prefer this one or the older one?

What don't you like about this (and/or the previous one)?

I'm an email away as always.

Regards,

Mark & Team Nendo

P.S. WhatsApp has a way to delete messages sent to groups and individuals. You have permission to forward this to your uncle “as received.”

The Letter N — One of Africa's Most Respected E-Mail Newsletters

Join 1600+ subscribers to The Letter N, and get founder Mark Kaigwa's 'uncommon sense' take on African Internet, online media, technology and marketing. We'll also keep you up-to-date on upcoming events.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.
Let's Interact!
CLOSE
If this is about a project, please provide a short description. Thanks!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get in touch

Join over 1,500 readers of The Letter N who get a tasting menu of links curated & commentated on by Founder Mark Kaigwa each week.

Say hi!