On the 23rd of November 2018, Digitalk held a workshop at Nailab that featured the likes of Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer Safaricom PLC, Waithera Kabiru, Head of Media Futures & Digital EABL and Joe Murithi Njeru, Chief Executive officer Zilojo. Each of these individuals spoke about the digital trends they expect to see in 2019 and advised those in the field to gear up for what’s coming. Here is what I learnt.

As a high ranking Employee of Safaricom PLC, Sylvia has vast understanding of the local market when it comes to mobile phone use and penetration. There were a lot of interesting facts shared and here is what I picked out of her session:

1. Leverage on technology in 2019.
With super apps like We Chat from China disrupting the way applications work, developers need to think about key things that influence the use of applications. Factors such as multi-functionality, ease of use, and relevance of the applications are key things to consider come 2019. Statistics show that an average of 4 applications on smart phones are used on a daily basis. What makes your application a must have?

2. Content is King
“Content is King, Social is Queen and Video is king Kong” quoted Sylvia. A phrase that is now etched on my mind. The kind of content used on digital platforms needs to be compelling. This is the only way marketers and advertisers will be able to capture the attention of their audience and gain recurring engagement. Every brand desires this, to captivate their audience. The key to achieving it in the next year is transformation of the content used on your platforms. Be more creative and factor in emotive connection with your audience.

3. Artificial Intelligence is the key to improving ROI
Digital advertising is, without a doubt, the area of digital marketing that’s most successfully adopted artificial intelligence. Developments such as Adext that use deep, transfer and machine learning to automate the handling and optimization of your ads on platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, help to adjust and optimize budgets every hour. This helps advertisers obtain the highest sustained conversion rate and increase ad performance. Facebook and Google ad platforms already use machine learning and artificial intelligence to find people more prone to making the advertiser’s desired action. The possibilities of AI in digital marketing are only going to increase in the coming years.

Waithera Kabiru took to the stage and shared a very interesting presentation on digital content and how marketers can use it to connect with their audiences. She spoke about the element of human emotion being the greatest driver towards decisions made towards a brand, whether to engage with, purchase and/or recommend it. Some of the key things I took away include:

1. Building connections through your campaigns

2. Leveraging on social influencers

3. Turn around a campaign to your benefit in the shortest time possible

and See Car Max’s Response here:

4. Tap into the power of Native advertising.
Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads. The match the appearance, form and function of the platform that they appear on.


Joe came on stage with some very compelling insights on the state of the economy, thought leader predictions about our 2019 digital expectations and some of his own thoughts on the same.

1. Embracing what’s app for business
Though not yet available for the local market, What’s App business is the next thing to look out for. Medium and large businesses will now be able to use the application to communicate with their customers all over the world. They will be able to connect with them in a simple, secure and reliable way at the tap of a finger.

2. Creativity will be the differentiator
Organizations that will be daring enough to flip things around in the creative field are likely to see themselves come up at the top of their reach and conversion goals. 2019 is the year to thing different, bold and disruptive. We have seen this in 2016-2018 with the growth of the JTL brand through its creativity using 3D animation. The organization has managed to create a strong position for its brand and continues to captivate its audience with every new, fresh and well thought out advertisements. Other areas to look into include 2D animation, augmented reality and simulations to increase customer experience with your products and services.

3. E-commerce will grow
More and more people are preferring the convenience of clicking, paying and having goods delivered to their doorstep. With the continued increase of mobile penetration, access to mobile data and higher adoption of e-commerce, 2019 is a good year to strategize how your business can use e-commerce to its advantage. Consumers are moving online, so should you.

4. Look out for Nano-influencers.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful methods used on social media, to reach audiences across the globe. Influencers are trusted, admired, and liked by their audiences. Their stamp of approval on your product or service automatically raises the credibility and desirability of your product or service. In comes Nano influencers. They are considered the most powerful influencers because of their engagement rates. Their following may be small but they reach deep into their niche markets. This group of influencers are able to engage up to 8.7 % of the audience they serve, compared to celebrity influencers who could have more than a million followers but engage about 1.7 % of their audience.

Author: Joyce Muthoni
Title: CEO Viral Gorrrila

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