Local Firm to Unveil Social Media Monitoring System in East Africa

Digital Content

Nairobi — Globetrack International will launch a social media monitoring service, following the rising uptake of social media and the Internet in Kenya.

Established mid this year, GTI -- a local media monitoring company -- becomes the first company in East Africa to operate a social media monitoring system. It covers over 150,000,000 blogs, 25,000 user forums/message boards and review sites, 95 per cent of video content and more than 450 video sites.

It also covers 25,000 online mainstream media and forums. Social media -- which has gained popularity with the launch of sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and MySpace -- has become an integral part of many Kenyans' lives through which they express their opinions on matters affecting their lives, organisations and brands.

"Even though it is often regarded as a waste of time in many companies, social media is the single most powerful source for direct feedback on how the public perceives a brand, organisation or person," said Esther Kagiri, GTI managing director.

She added: "Organisations should not block their employees from accessing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social networks." Ms Kagiri said that for any brand to engage in social media, the first rule is to listen to where and what conversations are taking place about the brand and then draw up strategies.

"Since social media is a forum where people express their genuine views about issues related to their lives, it is therefore among the most effective customer service channels for any brand."

Through social media tracking, GTI aims to help its clients make sense of the information in the public domain, by offering businesses new opportunities to improve their strategies through Social Intelligence -- the concept of informing marketing and business decisions with insights found in social media data.

"Access to information is no longer enough. Getting this information in condensed, timely, accurate and palatable portions is a must for every corporation that has future plans," said Ms Kagiri.

The launch of GTI social media tracking service follows a study conducted by Synovate Kenya in February, to establish Internet usage trends in Kenya.The study called Digital Drive, found that at the time, Kenya had over two million registered users on Facebook. The study also found that new Internet users in Kenya are discarding e-mail services in favour of social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

It also noted that a quarter of Kenyans who go online do not have e-mail addresses. The study further found that both daily and weekly Internet usage in Kenya have doubled in the past two years. Monthly usage also grew by over 80 per cent in the same period.

The study also found out that Kenya's Internet users spend approximately 70 minutes online at each visit, with the time being equal to the average duration spent watching television. Kenya currently ranks at position eight among Facebook users in Africa, with a significant proportion of the people making up the over 500 million Facebook users globally.

"What people say and discuss on social media are often reactions to what they see happening around them. We are able to relay what, where it was said and the tone it was said in. This will help make strategic decisions and respond accordingly," said Ms Kagiri.

She said GTI employs fingerprinting and content matching technology that ensures accuracy and speed of delivering media tracking results. "The platform automatically tracks and monitors advertisements, news clips and mentions on real time while eliminating manual reviews and errors," said Ms Kagiri.

GTI has also employed an off-air broadcast monitoring solution for off-air asset monitoring. Deployed in thousands of channels worldwide, it incorporates realtime, multichannel monitoring, streaming, search, retrieval, publishing and archiving.

GTI targets to grow its clientele base in Kenya and expand to the East Africa region in the next five years, while utilising the latest technology.