It is exactly 16 days since the official campaigns period for this year’s general elections started. In the last 16 days, we have seen both NASA and Jubilee hit the roads to ask Kenyans to vote for them. However, the drive on NASA hasn’t been as energetic, enthusiastic and commanding as the drive on Jubilee’s side. For example, since Saturday June 10th 2017, NASA has been conspicuously missing from prime time news in all TV stations. The lackluster manner in which NASA has approached this elections has not been limited to offline, but NASA online strategy is as good as dead.
Analysis by Kennedy Kachwanya has already revealed that this year’s elections boils down to voter turnout. Assuming 100% turnout in both camps, the voters’ registration already gives NASA a 380,455 votes heads up, but after factoring in the 2013 turnout, Jubilee stretches ahead by some 135,00 votes. This means that the winner of the 2017 presidential election must win in the swing counties, and one important swing county that NASA is not taking seriously is the online voter – or that voter who gets his/her elections related news online. According to an assumption I made in this article at Chetenet.com, there are some 7.2 million Kenyans who consume their news from the Internet on a daily basis – implying that NASA online strategy must be developed and deployed ASAP.
In thearticle I wrote at Chetenet.com, I explained how easy it is to convince the online Kenyan to vote one way or the other. Also, if there are undecided voters, they are voters who can easily find themselves online at any given time of the day – and it is these online voters that Jubilee has been bombarding with fake news.
Even before the campaigns officially began, Jubilee had started making its presence felt online, by working closely with both Facebook and Twitter influencers to shape the online discussions. In addition, Jubilee has gone ahead to buy all the keywords related to this year’s elections such that anyone searching for information related to the elections is directed to articles that are either in favor of Jubilee’s agenda or portray Raila as a dangerous human who cannot be trusted with the presidency.
I have done some rough comparison on NASA online strategy vs that of Jubilee have taken their online messaging seriously. My findings are as follows:
- Jubilee is still way ahead in terms of sponsored posts and articles. So far I have seen zero sponsored posts or any other type of online ads from NASA. It is important to note that NASA is yet to start running ads also on TVs and radios.
- Jubilee is on an over drive mode to shape the discussion via fake news. At the time of writing this, the fake news on people’s timelines is this headline – “Raila to dismantle white-owned ranches in Laikipia if elected president”. It has not helped much that Raila has denied making such a claim, as majority of the readers still believe that Raila indeed made the claim. Jubilee has also brought back the ICC card to the campaigns. NASA has invested neither in coming with their own propaganda nor effectively rebutting the Jubilee’s propaganda blow by blow.
- Through official Twitter accounts, NASA is sharing more than Jubilee – with NASA getting more engagements on its posts compared to Jubilee. Through the Presidential candidates’ twitter accounts however, President Kenyatta shares more than Raila, but Raila’s tweets are getting more engagements than Kenyatta’s. These two tweets posted roughly at the same time indicate how Raila’s tweets have much more engagements compared to Kenyatta’s.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) June 13, 2017
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) June 13, 2017
- Through official Facebook accounts, both NASA and Jubilee seem to be sharing at the same rate, and getting similar engagements. On videos, Jubilee can get as high as 55K views whereas NASA can get as high as 100K views. On average, video views by NASA comes to roughly 18.5K views whereas Jubilee’s average video views comes to 7K views. It is important to note that the videos used for the calculations are the 24 videos NASA posted between May 28th 2017 to June 13th 2017 compared to 24 videos Jubilee posted between September 16th 2016 and April 11th 2017. NASA therefore posts more videos than Jubilee. Since the campaigns began, Jubilee has posted zero videos.
- When the lens is focused on the presidential candidates, we find a totally different story, especially on the videos part. By posts, both candidates seem to be posting at the same rate (although Uhuru is posting slightly more). Raila’s posts are getting almost as twice engagements as Uhuru’s despite having only 826K followers compared to Uhuru’s 3 million followers. On videos, President Uhuru has received an average of 86.6K views in the 11 videos he posted since May 28th 2017 whereas Raila has received an average of 63.7K views on the 7 videos he has posted since May 28th 2017.
The conclusion of the above is that NASA online strategy relies so much on organic reach, and the performance therein is great. However, NASA has not adopted any online strategies to counter the paid reach that Jubilee has deployed. Normally, paid reach always out perform organic reach by factors exceeding 80%. It is hard to tell why NASA wouldn’t want to spend any coins online or on social media influencers, but the truth is if NASA online strategy is not developed and deployed in the following days, then they should count this year’s elections as a done deal in favor of Jubilee.