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Tech

How Covid-19 Responses Speeded the Adoption of Digital Technologies

The Covid-19 Pandemic led to accelerated uptake of different digital technologies in a way that was unforeseen. Some estimates say that the world has taken a 10-year leap in terms of digital technology adoption. Today we have seamless cloud meetings, online learning, several health monitoring tools, booming e-commerce, automated manufacturing, better supply chain systems and many more.

Some of the technologies already existed, while others are recent innovations by people responding to the pandemic. Many of these have now gained widespread acceptance. How did this happen?

The disruption caused by Covid-19 led to a turning point that promoted the adoption of new technologies. Usually, new technologies go through an adoption lifecycle that starts with innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. With a disruptive event, the time it takes for the early and late majority to onboard is short, hence a technology can gain massive acceptance within a very short time.

Background

The timing of the Covid-19 pandemic presented an opportune time for use of digital technologies. The world had become more connected with affordable broadband internet connection is available in many places. The availability of smartphones also made it easy to use digital technologies even in areas where computers are not available.

With this background, digital technologies could thrive. Developers went for digital tools to respond to various challenges such as contact tracing. The government needed ways to keep track of vaccine distribution. Shops needed to keep selling even when communities were in lockdown. Schools needed to keep teaching even when physical school attendance was limited. Solutions lay in digital technologies.  

The nature of the pandemic also helped to encourage digital interventions. Covid-19 is spread majorly by close contact to an infected person. This called for limiting physical interactions and public gathering – the very things that are crucial for human existence. To compensate for these, digital technologies could be used to connect people where physical meetings were not possible. E-commerce was necessary if people were not to go to malls as before. Many technologies to make this possible existed, but had not received widespread adoption.

Digital technologies are also at the center of public health responses needed to fight Covid-19. The table below shows examples of digital technologies in public health intervention.

Covid-19 Responses in Kenya

In Kenya, the government implemented several responses to slow down the spread of Covid-19. Some of these include:

  • Requiring physical distancing in all places.
  • Enforcement of dawn to dusk curfew.
  • Restriction of movement from some geographical locations.
  • Closure of schools.
  • Requirement for people not providing essential services to work from home.
  • Ban on mass gatherings.
  • Active disease surveillance.
  • Economic stimulus packages to employers and employees.
  • Encouraging the use of non-cash transactions.

Many of these responses involved the use of digital technologies to implement, or to help cope with the new normal.

Adoption of Digital Technologies

With the closure of schools, learning was supposed to take place remotely, something that had barely been happening before (except in some Universities). This meant that teachers and students needed to get creative and find out what could work in their context. They used cloud meeting platforms to conduct classes where the Internet was available and students could afford the necessary devices. Teachers had to learn how to use the different platforms and many acquired crucial digital skills. In some cases, they had to improvise and use platforms such as WhatsApp.

This exposure to digital technologies is very useful in the sense that it makes them open to adopting other digital technologies. Running a successful online class gives the teacher the confidence to adopt other technologies, and even continue using the same after the pandemic.

With reduced income and job losses, many people tried their hand in business. This led to many people setting up their own websites and online shops to allow buyers to access their products online. Faced with a different operating environment, many businesses moved online in 2020. This is another way that people were introduced to digital technologies.

There was also an upsurge in the use of cashless payment solutions. In Kenya, the Central Bank negotiated for reduced tariffs for mobile money services, as well as free movement of money from mobile wallets to the bank and vice versa. This led to an increase in the use of cashless transactions and it become normal for small traders to accept payment via mobile money. This is likely to remain even in the post-pandemic world.

The use of digital technologies to track vaccine rollout in Kenya is also a significant step forward in managing healthcare. This could set the stage for more ehealth functions when people see the need for it. Already, there are businesses that are working to make telemedicine a possibility in Kenya.

Reduced movement of people led to a boom in eCommerce. Some people who had never ordered goods or services online found themselves with little or no option, and many are now open to shopping online and having their goods delivered without having to physically visit the stores.

The need to work remotely forced people to invest in different tools to make this a reality. This led to an increase in internet usage, and people were buying more equipment such as smartphones and computers. Home internet connections increased, and these opened possibilities for the adoption of more digital technologies.

Conclusion

The Covid-19 pandemic may have forced people to result to digital technologies to solve their most pressing needs, but the results will outlast the Covid-19. We will see a world that is more open to digital technologies and also developers focusing on more of these technologies. This is one positive outcome of the pandemic.

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Challenges in Implementing Digital Technologies in Rural Kenya

Posted on 7 min read

If you ask people in Nairobi where they might like to live if they didn’t have to worry about a commute to work, the answer is nearly unanimous: the suburbs. The suburbs, they say, lie just close enough to the city’s amenities while avoiding its traffic, high costs and pollution. When I suggest rural Kenya as an option, very few people respond positively. Why? Rural communities often lack reliable electricity, Internet access, good schools and healthcare facilities.

Social innovators should take notice. Missing necessities can deter people from moving to rural Kenya, and their absence also presents a host of considerations for digital technologies designed to operate in those areas. In spite of that, rural Kenya is home to 68.9 percent of the Kenyan population with the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands alone occupying almost 80 percent of the total landmass. This large size and population make them key to the economic growth of the country and it is imperative that they do not miss out on the digital revolution.

Rural-Urban Divide

Rural areas in Kenya face a number of unique development challenges that affect the use of digital technologies. The Kenya Economic Update by the World Bank notes that while 44% of the urban population have access to the internet, only 17% of people in rural areas have access to the same. What works in urban areas may not necessarily work in rural areas.This is the reason why, at the moment, we see more people working on technologies that are more suitable for urban areas. But understanding the issues may encourage more product developers to target rural areas. Here I’ll describe three main challenges that innovators will face in rural Kenya.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure remains one of the greatest challenges in rural Kenya. From innovation hubs, learning institutions, Internet services, mobile networks, and access to grid power, people in rural areas have less access than residents in urban areas. Deficiencies in services cascade from key absences. For example, the absence of power means it is harder for telcos to set up mobile networks, and the absence of mobile networks means that fewer people acquire mobile devices.

Even where the infrastructure is available, the quality may not be sufficient. While 77 percent of major towns in Kenya are covered with a Safaricom 4G network, the total 4G population coverage in Kenya is only 57 percent, and the majority of places not covered are rural. From the map below, it is notable that the area with the least coverage is rural Kenya, and the 4G coverage is quite low.

This network coverage map shows, from left to right, Safaricom, Airtel, Telekom (pink-GSM, yellow-3G, orange-LTE).

Patrick Sampao who has experience deploying digital solutions in rural areas, notes that sometimes even the simplest technologies just don’t work as expected. An example of this is the USSD service, which is a text-message protocol similar to SMS. USSD allows any phone to send messages by dialing a command, *123# for example, which then prompts the user to reply with a digit depending on the service wanted. While this feature works on any phone and doesn’t incur any cost to the user, there are many older SIM cards which do not support that function. Users would need to replace those SIM cards first before they can use the USSD service.

Digital Literacy

One of the greatest barriers to internet penetration in Kenya is digital literacy. Although smartphone penetration is on the rise, the number of people who are able to effectively use many digital technologies is still low. The 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census estimates that there are around 10 million Internet users in Kenya, while Google estimates the number to be closer to 13 million. In a population of 47.6 million people, that translates into an Internet usage rate of 20-25 percent. A report by GSMA in 2018 put the number of mobile internet users in Kenya at 25% of the population. By comparison, Internet usage in the first quarter of 2020 in the United States was at nearly 95 percent.

Smartphone penetration is higher in urban areas than in rural areas, as one of the hindrances in rural areas is literacy levels. Many older people struggle to use smartphones while those with little education are wary of such technologies. This was one of the challenges that the government’s Digital Learning Program faced, where many teachers were unable to use the devices that were provided. The availability of experts who can offer technical support is also low.

Even the simplest mobile phones require some form of literacy and experience. For example, the USSD function times out after a period of inactivity, requiring a user to be relatively fast. This can be difficult for those with little digital literacy, and many end up trying multiple times before they are able to get through.

Income Levels

While poverty is a major problem in the whole of Kenya, rural areas suffer disproportionately. This explains why demand for many services is lower in rural areas than urban areas as people do not have as much disposable income. Lower population density also makes the economics harder, even if the total populations may be large.

Competing needs in communities with low income levels may outweigh many digital services. Any digital product that charges users for a service should solve basic, pressing needs. An example of this is the AfriScout app. More than 6000 people in rural areas use the app because it solves a basic need, directing pastoralists to water and pastures.

The alternative business model for digital products is to offer services for free but place ads that users must see. In that way, products like Facebook which have gained popularity even in remote areas.

Despite the fact that people in rural areas have lower purchasing power than their urban counterparts, the cost of some services may be higher in rural areas due to greater costs in building, servicing and even fueling those networks. Michael Ouma who provides Internet services in Northern Kenya, notes that a 10 Mbps link costs at least KShs 30,000 in the region, while the same would cost less than KShs 10,000 in Nairobi. The added expense increases operating costs for rural businesses compared to their urban counterparts.

Breaking the challenges into three main groups like I have done is a convenient tactic for describing the issues more clearly, but in the real world these problems do not exist in silos. The lack of reliable power, for example, affects businesses, schools and homes and is a cause of low income levels. The lack of power deters companies that might build mobile infrastructure, which also impacts people’s income. And low income and lack of mobile infrastructure deter people from buying mobile devices, which reduces their exposure to technology and, consequently leads to lower digital literacy rates. Low incomes, in turn deter companies from building expensive power and mobile connectivity infrastructure for communities that may not be able to pay for it, thereby closing a negative feedback loop.

Overcoming the Challenges

In terms of pricing, innovators need to price their products in an appropriate way that suits the rural economy. One unique way is to make the installment affordable, instead of asking for significant money upfront. This strategy has been successful  with many products and could explain why Safaricom is hoping to sell 1 million 4G-enabled devices in Kenya in the next year by having users pay only KShs 20 per day. According to a Nielsen report, more than 70 percent of fast-moving-consumer goods purchases are of products priced below KShs 55.

One also needs to find or develop suitable technologies that would be appropriate for rural areas. Devices that consume a lot of power and apps that are highly dependent on a stable internet connection may not be appropriate. Instead, innovators should focus on the use of technologies such as USSD, SMS, interactive voice services, devices that do not rely on grid power and apps that can work on simple smartphones.

The cost of entry into rural markets can also be high. Innovators can circumvent this problem through partnerships which can help subsidize the cost of entry. They can also opt to share infrastructure as various telecommunications companies have done previously.

Digital Literacy is a wide problem that needs to be addressed through the formal education channels as well as well as various initiatives to upskill people. When it comes to digital skills, the elderly people are more disadvantaged compared to young people who are digital natives. Innovators targeting rural areas need to keep their solutions simple and easy to use so that even people with limited skills will find it simple and easy to adopt. Providing digital skills is also one area where social enterprises should venture.

Great challenges and great needs

Rural Kenya presents challenges to digital social innovation, but the people there also happen to be those who could benefit highly from the right products and services. The region is a broad target for socially minded engineers and entrepreneurs. The trick is to understand the obstacles and navigate them accordingly.

If you are interested in this topic please read the research collaboration developed by E4C Fellows (including the author of this article) together with Huawei and iGov Africa around ICT solutions in Northern Kenya.

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The Role of Tech Companies in Amplifying Misinformation and Disinformation that Surrounds the Covid-19 Pandemic

Posted on 4 min read

Infodemic has been a word that is closely related to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread and turned into a pandemic, an information epidemic has been going on in the world; what is now referred to as the infodemic. This refers to a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about Covid-19, making it hard to learn essential information about the pandemic. This is the current state of the world.

Behind the infodemic is the use of technology that has made it possible for anybody to widely share information, disinformation and misinformation. In today’s world, anybody can share information with a global audience using platforms such as social media. This has made it possible for conspiracy theories, fake news, propaganda or even hoaxes to spread easily. Some of this has made it hard to fight the spread of Covid-19 as people cannot tell what is true and what is false.

What role do technology companies play in this?

Tech companies dictate how people consume information. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and others have taken over the place of traditional media and their mode of operation has made it easier to share inaccurate information. As we will see, the way these tech platforms are designed to work is what makes them good channels for misinformation and disinformation.

Creating Filter Bubbles

A major selling point of tech-based media companies is the ability to customize content for every person, thus delivering specific content and of interest to each user. This approach has helped tech companies to grow because the users only receive what they want to see and hear, unlike the traditional media where one size was offered to fit all.

Unfortunately, this approach has serious undoing. Customized content means that one can avoid anything contrary to what they want to hear, and still be fed with an endless stream of what they need. People only get to see information that they want and opposing voices are gradually suppressed. You get to see information that aligns with your believes and worldviews, even if it is wrong.

This has helped fan misinformation and disinformation because objective facts are shunned in favor of content that will generate likes and clicks. Recommendation engines give users what they want to see, not what is truthful or factual. This works closely with another innate behaviour of human beings to seek facts that confirm what they already or want to believe.

Confirmation Bias

At the onset of the pandemic, people were looking for answers and narratives to help explain what was happening. Some turned to science, others to pseudo-science, and others to conspiracy theories. The origin of the virus, the mode of transmission, how it was spreading from one region to another and whether the virus was a natural occurrence or a bio weapon were all a matter of speculation.

People formed opinions and narratives to make sense of the world. They would then go online to find information about the same. When they found information that matched with what they already believed, the belief was strengthened further. Consequently, some conspiracy theories gained more momentum through online sources. People believed that 5G networks were the cause of Covid-19, and there was enough content online to support this. Others said that Africans were immune to the virus and there were online communities talking about this.

By helping people confirm what they already assumed, tech companies helped spread misinformation and disinformation.

Celebrity Voices/Influencers

Celebrities and influencers have a lot of influence on societies today. They can bypass the traditional media and pass their message to millions of people using various tools such as social media.

Unfortunately, the information they pass may not be very accurate, and at times it might be completely wrong. Tech companies were at loss trying to figure out what to do with such people, and the Covid-19 pandemic made things worse. The problem is that when these influential people share information, it is believed by many people who look up to them.

Content Moderation

An attempt to regulate the kind of information shared on tech platforms has a serious downside. It is hard to regulate content in a post-truth society, where everything is relative. This is why tech companies did not know what to do with the problem of fake news, until after the pandemic and the 2020 US Election.

Moderation is still a problem because of many factors. The number of users is large. There are also many languages. Political interests exist and some matters are heavily disputed, even among the experts. It is also a delicate matter of freedom of speech because a free society needs space even for dissenting opinions. As Natan Sharansky puts it, free societies are societies in which the right of dissent is protected.

Technology companies should have foreseen that and planned on what to do early enough. Instead of waiting to act when the world was faced with a matter of life and death, there should have been some preset guidelines.

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Dangers of Tech-driven Solutions to Covid-19

Posted on 5 min read

Whenever disruption happens, the ability to withstand the disruption is dependent on the capacity to adapt to the new normal. People and organizations seek tools and resources that can make it easier for them to adapt, making it possible for them to survive the tough times. This was the case with the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the world was disrupted, people turned to technology as a tool to help them cope with the new normal. Technology helped the world continue working away from the office, get shopping and supplies delivered to homes, maintain social distance, monitor vaccine rollout, perform contact tracing, share news about the spread of the virus, keep students learning, and many more. Without tech solutions, it would have been harder for the world to cope.

However, there are some downsides to the use of technology in mitigating the impacts of Covid-19 and helping people cope. We look at how tech-driven solutions were applied after Covid-19 and some of the dangers that they pose to users.

Privacy Concerns

Contact tracing and social distancing apps have been used to help monitor people for contact with people infected with the virus. This is a key step to curbing the spread of Covid-19, considering that the primary means of spread is through exposure to infected persons. Since it was hard to know if the people you came into contact with were carrying the virus, the apps would let one know if they had come into contact with a person who later turned positive. This is a useful piece of technology helping with contact tracing.

However, the use of these tools has not been without a downside. There was a lot of concern about user privacy with these tech-driven solutions. First, the Big Tech has not been known to be very privacy-conscious, unless when pushed to do be so. Some of the business models employed by tech companies are dependent on not being very stringent on privacy, and privacy concerns have majorly been implemented as afterthoughts. This raises concern that most tech companies cannot be trusted to make decisions that put users first, as far as privacy is concerned.

Tech-driven solutions helped to offer information and contact tracing service

Would these tech-driven solutions compromise privacy? Already, we have seen people raise concerns that tools that are logging location and sharing it with third parties could be a concern. However, technology companies worked to assure people that their data was safe. Would people believe that? Not everybody.

This was about contact tracing, but there are other areas of concern when it comes to privacy. A different application is tools that have been used to monitor exams remotely. While these have made it easier for remote learning to continue, most users were not aware of how such tools work. The tools are invasive and users should have been educated on how to ensure that their privacy is catered for during and after the exams.

Exclusion and Digital Divide

In the world today, technology seems to be everywhere, especially when we look from the perspective of tech-savvy people and digital natives. However, this is not a very accurate depiction of the world today. There are still many people who lag behind in terms of technology adoption.

In Kenya, it is not easy to implement digital technologies in rural areas. Some areas are limited by infrastructure. Digital literacy is also low and income levels are also wanting. These are some of the hindrances that tech driven solutions to Covid-19 would need to overcome.

With this background, it is evident that some people will not benefit from many tech driven interventions. People without smartphones cannot use contact tracing apps. People without mobile phones may not be alerted when their second dose of vaccine is due. Those without power may not be aware about the spread of Covid-19 because they do not have access to the news.

Technology could easily lead to exclusion because people do not have access to the same resources. A classic example is the education sector, where there were attempts to make learning online in Kenya, but with mixed results. Children from wealthy backgrounds have access to the internet and computers, making it easy for them to keep learning even when schools are closed. On the other hand, students from poor backgrounds couldn’t afford to be online. The longer the schools were closed, the poorer children continued to be disadvantaged. While technology was hailed as a game changer in the age of Covid-19, the same technology was helping widen the inequality levels.

Making Tech Driven Solutions Work

The problems highlighted above are unintended consequences of technology-driven solutions. This means that they can be worked around so that tech solutions can be more accessible and inclusive, and the welfare of users is taken care of.

One of the approaches is to control the influence and participation of for-profit companies in designing and implementing these tech solutions. Public health solutions need to be spearheaded by the institutions that primarily deal with public health and not tech companies. This will ensure that commercial interests do not override the safety concerns of the users.

The use of tech driven solutions should not be taken as a master fix in solving Covid-19 related problems. They need to be supplemented with other solutions so that not part of the society will be excluded due to lack of resources, connectivity or skills. For example, the approach to remote learning involved the use of different technologies and tools. Teachers could use WhatsApp because more students had it. Learning programs were also put on radio and TV, increasing the reach. That was also not enough because some people would still be left out. At one point, the government was asking teachers to teach in their estates and villages. This was an attempt to get all students covered.

Technology is good and goes a long way in helping the world cope with the pandemic. However, the possible negative and unintended consequences must be put into consideration for a better experience.

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How Covid-19 will Reshape Technology and Innovations in the Future

It is hard to imagine how the world would have coped with the Covid-19 pandemic if science and technology had not come to the rescue.

From the onset of the pandemic, different technologies and innovative solutions have been deployed to help people navigate through life and work. Monitoring social distancing and isolation, managing testing and vaccinations, facilitating remote work, keeping people connected, and keeping children in school, are some of the areas where technology has come to the rescue. The impact of this will continue to be felt even in the post-pandemic world.

We look at how the pandemic has shaped technology and innovations and how this will look like in the future.

Homegrown Technologies

The global ventilator shortage meant that even those who had resources could not access the crucial equipment that was needed to treat Covid-19 patients. This extended to other equipment for medical care both at the hospitals and home-based care use.

The result of this was that people started making their own ventilators and other tools that were necessary. Cloth manufacturers like KICOTEC in Kenya quickly switched to manufacturing masks and other PPEs. University students designed ventilators to help cope with the shortage. Some local artisans started to make hospital beds. There were numerous cases of innovative hand washing stations popping out in different places.

In the ICT sector, different solutions made it possible to social distance, track people in self-isolation, manage vaccine rollout, or even help people shop remotely.

This spike in innovation is something that will continue even in the future. The Covid-19 pandemic gave rise to entrepreneurs and innovators who found a market for their novel inventions. The wave of this new breed of innovators will continue to be felt even in the future.

Accelerated Adoption

Many people find it hard to believe that Zoom existed before the pandemic. The option to work remotely was not available in many organizations. Running whole conferences virtually was a rare thing. Paying for groceries using mobile money was not a very common thing.

During the pandemic, so much has changed within a short period of time. Technologies that were largely ignored became a lifeline. People learnt that they can work remotely and deliver just like in-person jobs. The need to travel around the world to attend a conference that can be attended virtually is no longer there.

This changing world is making it easy for people to adopt new technologies and creating a market for the same. Remote collaboration tools now have a wider market, and more people are investing in them. The access control system that also take temperature measurements are now in use, and more manufacturers are focusing on them. The preference for cashless payment systems is giving a lifeline to Fintechs that are innovating in this area.

The pandemic will continue to be a catalyst for increased technology use and innovations.

Resilience in Design

Perhaps, one technology that was designed to scale and grow with demand is the internet itself. During the pandemic, we saw internet traffic increase significantly, but the systems that make it work were able to cope with the huge demand.

Behind the screens, internet pathways allow a great amount of information to be transferred and even accommodate the spike in traffic. There are redundant paths for internet traffic. There are cache servers that bring content closer to people who are accessing it. Net neutrality means that all traffic is treated equally, giving every resource that is in high demand unthrottled access. This characteristic of the internet made it possible for people to be online without needing to scale up equipment such as routers, optical fibers and other internet gateways.

The pandemic experience showed the need for systems that can scale quickly and this is going to be a standard good practice in the future. For any technology to be future-proof, it needs to be built in a way that it can handle any black swan like the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid has made this obvious.

Fostering Inclusivity

The problem of digital divide was hugely felt when learning was taken online. Many platforms could be used to keep children learning while schools were closed, but serious bottlenecks arose. Connectivity became a problem in many places. In other places, gadgets were not available. In most cases, there was limited or no internet connectivity.

This problem has found a solution in the way new technologies are helping overcome these problems. We now have solutions that are not dependent on full-time internet connection and that can work in places without access to mains electricity. Innovators have also come up with learning tools that can work in feature phones, thus allowing students from resource-constrained environments to keep learning.

The pandemic highlighted the need to have technologies that can cater to a diverse group of people who have different needs and resources. At the same time, the need to bridge the digital divide has seen more resources being allocated to undeserved communities, and we will see more innovations in this area.

Post-Pandemic

In the post-pandemic world, we expect to see the world moving at a faster pace in terms of technology and innovation. We have already seen barriers being broken and what would be considered bleeding technologies being normalized. A world that has been exposed to new technologies will see more tech solutions at all levels, and from different innovators. The world will also need to be ready for the next pandemic and here again, technology takes a leading role.

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How Much can you Make from a Website in Kenya?

You’ve probably heard about this person who runs a website and is making thousands of shillings every day by placing ads on their website. The next thought that comes to mind is that you can also do the same and earn some extra income. It is supposed to be passive income which you will make even when you are sleeping.

How true is this, and how easy is it for someone to make money from a blog? How much money can one expect to make?

We take a look at this question which many people have considered, and others have tried with mixed level of success (or failure).

Online Advertising

Online advertising has provided website owners and creatives with an opportunity to make money using their online content. Advertisers pay ad platforms such as AdSense to place their ads on various websites or apps, and these ad platforms share the revenue with the owners of the websites. The unique thing about this arrangement is that advertisers are often charged only when someone clicks on the ad. This means that if an ad is shown and it is not clicked, the advertiser will not pay anything (in most cases).

This advertising strategy is attractive because ideally, the advertiser is assured of value. On the other hand, the ad platforms try to march the ads with the audience that is most likely to click the ads. These ads are dynamically inserted into a website when one accesses the website, and the ads differ from one person to another. The ads you see on this website is not what someone else sees.

By allowing ads to be placed on their websites, websites owners can make some money.

How Much can you expect to Earn?

The amount of money that one can earn through ads is dependent on a number of factors. These include the number of views, the ad density – which is the number of ads showing on the page, the type of content, and even the source of the traffic.

The more the views that a website has, the more one is likely to earn because it means that there are more people who are likely to click an ad. Success here requires one to have a website that has a high traffic.

The number of ads displayed per page will also be another factor. Website owners usually decide how many ads appear on a page, and the higher the number of ads, the more the earnings. This is because there are higher chances of ads being clicked. However, too many ads negatively impact the user experience.

The source of your traffic also matters, and the earnings per click vary from one country to another. A website with visitors from the US will earn more per click than one with visitors from Kenya. This is because advertisers in those country pay more for the ads, hence more payment per click.

The quality of traffic also matters. If you have some niche traffic, like the legal profession, you are likely to get higher returns as opposed to websites with a general audience. This is because an advertiser targeting lawyers is likely to pay more than one targeting the general population.

How Much are People Making in Kenya?

How much money do website owners make in Kenya?

Based on the factors discussed above, it is extremely hard to tell a general figure for everybody. The amounts vary. However, from experience, I can share a few figures that I have seen people making from three different websites.

Type of WebsiteEarnings (KShs) per 1000 page views
News website300
Entertainment website115
Topical blog380

Based on above figures, one needs to have quite a huge traffic to make meaningful money from online ads. Even on YouTube channels, 1000 views will give you something in the neighborhood of KShs 75. A more realistic conclusion is that ad supported website is not a viable business in Kenya, for the amount of input required is too high, compared to the returns. (I wish people with websites and YouTube channels can share what they earn to give a better picture).

How then can one make meaningful amount of money from a website? How do the existing ones survive?

In my opinion, one needs to have a greater objective than just making money from ads. This way, a website can be sustainable since money from the ads will be a minor motivation for having the website.

A good source of income from website is the promoted posts, where website owners publish marketing content on a website at a fee. Popular websites charge anything from KShs 15,000 per single article, with niche website earning more to publish content that is industry related.

If you have some good traffic, this could be a good starting point.

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