Digital Marketing in Uganda – What you Need to know

Digital marketing in Uganda as is Internet usage in Uganda is growing rapidly with millions of Ugandans having unlimited access to Twitter or Instagram accounts, and over 2.3 million have Facebook accounts. These numbers rapidly continue to grow with an estimated 70% of these internet users living in the Kampala metropolitan

Fact; According to Data Reportal, there were 12.16 million internet users in Uganda in January 2021. That means the number of internet users in Uganda increased by 1.5 million (+14%) between 2020 and 2021.

This article will show you what you need to know about Digital marketing in Uganda as recently updated for 2022, a few tips and tricks unique to the Ugandan landscape, and how you can take advantage of this kind of marketing for your business.

Kampala is the capital and center of business in Uganda, therefore, it couldn’t be compared to any other district in the country. For that reason, this article will focus mostly on Digital Marketing in Kampala with extracts from selected areas of Uganda that are performing well. ( Please let us know if you’d like your particular area analyzed via our contact page).

We are taking the 7 Most Important Areas of Digital Marketing in Kampala. Namely:

First things first; The term Digital Marketing can be used interchangeably with Online Marketing or Internet Marketing. Let’s get started. If you are doing business in Uganda, this is a must read.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) In Uganda

Kampala Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of putting your website on a valuable level to search engines. In return, you get highly ranked when people search for your products and services, or about your brand name, in their search results.

SEO has various terms, concepts, and jargon surrounding it, but what you need to understand here is just the 2 most important ones. On-Page Optimization and Off-Page Optimization.

On-Page Optimization in Digital Marketing

This mainly has to do with all the elements and components on the website itself. These include text, images, menu structure, Titles, Meta Descriptions Website Loading Speed, and so much more. There is quite a lot you can do to optimize your website’s on-page SEO. When done right, this can cause a spike in your website visits in a very short time.

On-page SEO is all about optimizing your website’s structure for search engines to understand and like it. 

Search engines have this thing called a “ Web Crawler”, think of it as a school inspector who comes from the government to see if your school has all the requirements and standards needed to operate a school.

He takes back a report of what is present, what is broken, and what’s missing, for the government to then decide on whether to approve, ban, or recommend only specific studies to parents looking to enroll their students

The better your school, the more likely it will be recommended to parents depending on standards against the inspector’s report. That’s kind of how search engine crawlers work. They will inspect your website at different intervals and will report back to the search engine that sent it (Google, Bing or Yahoo search, etc).

Off-Page Optimization in Digital Marketing

This part of SEO holds by far the largest place in your SEO strategy for Google, Yahoo, Bing, and almost all the other popular search engines widely used across the globe and of course in Kampala.

What you need for this part of SEO, is mostly a “link-building strategy” (Involves getting relevant websites to link back to your website). “Social proof” (Prove to Search engines you are providing value). “Click-through rate optimization” (Making sure people click on your website in search results). “Reducing Bounce rates” (Making sure your website doesn’t lose visitors as soon as they land) and …again SO MUCH MORE.

Google is our main target here, and other search engines use these and more factors (Known as algorithms) to determine the value of your website.

Simply put On-page SEO is what you say about yourself, and off-page SEO is more of what others say about you.

It is simply the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.

A hyperlink (usually referred to as a link) is a standard through which users across the internet navigate between pages. This can be on a single website or between different websites.

Remember “Web Crawlers”?

Crawlers use links to discover other pages on your website and/or other websites linked—to and from your website.

The idea is to simply get other high-ranking websites to link—to your website. Crawlers will find out and will submit that report to search engines. Search engines will use mathematical solutions (Also known as algorithms) to determine the weight of this link as a vote of confidence to you. This may or may not impact your ranking depending on the other thousands of factors considered by the Algorithm.

There are several link-building techniques to safely rank your business in search engines. in these there black hat and white hat, simply to mean some techniques are dangerous and unethical, while some are good practices and drive towards a healthier community online.

When done right, link building can go a long way in ranking your website and bringing you customers, through search engines. Getting it wrong however could cause your business’ website a banned from search engine result pages (SERPs), or simply lower rank as minimum punishment.

2. Social Media Marketing In Uganda

Uganda Social Media MArketing Agency

Social Media Marketing in Kampala is almost always primarily to create as many leads (Potential customers) as possible.

Not to be mistaken with “Social Media Management”, which mostly involves monitoring engagement, making posts for your accounts, and everything to do with keeping your pages up-to-date, and engaging by a 3rd Party on your behalf. This is not much of a goal with Social Media Marketing.

The great benefit to Social media management is that it opens up your time to focus on your business And there is an expert keeping your social media up to date.

Social media marketing has so much to do with generating leads from pay-per-click campaigns and free tactical strategies to draw customers to take the desired action on your social media page. Ultimately, you want these leads/potential clients to come to your website, buy what you are selling or do whatever you have in plan for them.

An example of social media marketing in Kampala is “Facebook Marketing”. Boosting of the biggest social media platform in Uganda, with now over 3.3 million users and a wapping 2.8+ Billion users worldwide.

Companies like MTN, Airtel, Stanbic Bank, and others have come to recognize and strengthen their social media strategy, starting with Facebook.

When Facebook launched, it was a cool new thing for the younger generation to connect with each other. Not anymore.

Today, the use of these social media platforms has gotten so popular all over the world and in been quite popular in Uganda too since the 2010s. With way over a billion daily active users (and still growing), the lucrative potential of social media marketing has had to grow with the ever-increasing numbers and activities on the platform.

With these overwhelming numbers of people all over the world spending a good portion of their day on Facebook, it only makes sense that your business should also tap into the action. Take advantage of social media marketing.

It’s all about building an authentic relationship with your followers (already existing and/or potential customers). Not spamming them with annoying sales messages 24/7. Providing them with quality content will mean you won’t have to resort to spam for a successful social media marketing strategy. Armed with a strategy, patience, and consistency, your business will achieve success in the long or short run.

You can reach them via 0772729374 or here

Building The Facebook Page

Depending on what your business is, select the preferred option so that the options presented to you while managing the Facebook page are relevant to the kind of business profile you have. One thing to note is that you will have to manage your Facebook page through a personal profile. Linking your profile to the page is not going to display personal info on the page, don’t worry.

Add A Profile Display: Just like you’d do with your profile, add a profile picture for your business. First impressions are important. Make sure the photo reflects your brand properly.

Add Cover Photo: The cover photos that show on the top of your page. Make sure it reflects the right first impression.

Page Details: Add details in the description of your brand that briefly describe what you’re all about.

Others steps;

Create a username and custom URL for your page so it’s easily found. Add a call to action depending on your business. Tailor the tabs according to your business requirements, etc.

Getting the page likes; Facebook marketing cannot work if there are no people following your page, right? The success of your business depends on whether or not your intended audience can see the content that you produce.

After you’re completely sure that you have everything set up right. Then it’s time to promote your page. This can be done through various strategies, both organic/free or paying Facebook for promotion.

Produce quality content. This has to be done consistently to drive more engagement, and you do not want people to arrive on your page to find nothing there.

While Facebook is the biggest social media platform even all over the East African region, it is not necessarily the recommended or only choice for every business.

Twitter as a Digital Marketing Tool

People are on Twitter to get the latest news in real-time. In Uganda over the past 3 years, it’s been a mix of everything, Including comedy, celebrity gossip, connecting with peers, contributing to political affairs, and others.

For businesses, setting up a Twitter account and being active goes a long way in keeping your customers in the loop about what’s happening.

This fosters brand loyalty and puts your business in the face of prospects as they are scrolling through their feed – an equivalent of prime time on television. Twitter also has paid advertising to show your posts and/or account to its users. It’s often a very lucrative mode to pump up sales and brand awareness.

Instagram as a Digital Marketing Tool

Instagram was initially started as a photo and video-sharing app, but since its acquisition by Facebook and incorporation into the Facebook marketing platform, it has grown to many more capabilities.

In 2020 and beyond, Instagram can be a great tool for your business’s marketing needs, depending on your industry, Target Audience, and other variants.

LinkedIn as a Digital Marketing Tool

Originally a marketplace for professionals. LinkedIn has grown to include much more than just profiles of individuals looking for employment and companies looking to hire.

With the introduction of LinkedIn videos and Ads, B2B businesses looking to grow their reach and leads can now get more value from the platform.

TikTok as a Digital Marketing Tool

At the beginning of 2019, a new social media platform (TikTok) gained traction among the young population (Generation Z) in Uganda.

TikTok is a video-sharing app founded back in 2012. It has been mostly used to create and share short lip-syncing and talent videos. These videos have an average length of about 28 seconds, The app, however, limits the longest videos to 60 seconds(1 minute).

For businesses targeting young people, this should be a great marketing tool. However, if you have the time and resources, we’d recommend you start adding your content to this platform regardless, because even Facebook started with just University students before it became this giant now used by everyone, and anywhere.

In Uganda so far, we haven’t found enterprise-level businesses using TikTok in their marketing strategy. The platform is still in its infancy and still hasn’t even seemed to have determined a sustainable business model as it develops the product for the better.

Tik-Tok, to differ from the other social media platforms mentioned in this article, is based in Beijing-China and has been criticized for its heavy usage and reliance on data and Artificial Intelligence, which does not doubt it a competitive edge over its USA counterparts.

While Tik-Tok is surely the biggest at the moment, It’s important to note, that it has competition, including Vigo Video, and Dubsmash, and its biggest competitor in Uganda is Likee.

With the growing number of social networks and their usage, it all begins to look overwhelming, but the basics remain the same; Be where your target customers are.

3. Websites & Digital Marketing

Best Website Designers in Uganda

Business website design in Uganda has been on the rise lately. While we can’t determine the number of Ugandan-owned websites online, We have witnessed a large growth of websites especially in the Industries of Tourism, Leisure, and Food. Other industries including Labour export, Manufacturing, Construction, and more are also starting to cope with this trend.

This trend has for the last few years, been driven by the fact that internet penetration is growing day and night, and the continuous growth of smartphone usage in the country. This has encouraged more and more companies as well as individuals to develop websites, some going ahead to sell right from them.

Ideally, however; The website is meant to be the foundation of every other kind of marketing. It’s the central point on which your online marketing strategy should base, capable of measuring performance/Impact of every other online marketing strategy.

In another Twist, most of the websites have just been designed and uploaded, not really adding keen thought into marketing attributes on the website. Some have almost none at all. These are things like call to action, positioning, and more.

Surely with the right education, we expect companies to stop with the informational kind of website design in favor of more professional and conversion-centric designs focused on converting visitors into customers.

4. Pay Per Click Marketing in Uganda

Pay Per Click Uganda

Pay Per Click (PPC) is a fairly self-descriptive team. It is an online advertising model in which the advertisers pay a fee for each time a user clicks on the advertiser’s message/advert online.

In a Pay-Per-Click campaign, businesses run advertisements and get charged when a user clicks on their advert, hence the name “pay-per-click.”

Other forms of PPC advertising include display advertising (typically, serving banner ads) search Ads (typically, serving ads to search engine users, Feed ads (typically appear in your feed stream), etc.

The most common and widely accepted form of PPC is Search Ads. These appear mostly in text form when people search for things online with a search engine like Google, YouTube or Bing.

Search Ads haven’t been adopted, at least not widely, however, Feed Ads, especially on Facebook, have definitely taken off with companies like Jumia Uganda, Stanbic Bank, SafeBoda, and other leading.

Currently, Uganda’s online PPC Campaigns have been on 3 major platforms. “Google AdWords”, by Google (These also account for Youtube search and display ads, and other partnering platforms like Ask.com and more), “Facebook Ads”, by Facebook (Also pushes Ads to Instagram, and is rumored to soon house ads for Whatsapp) and “Twitter Marketing”.

5. Conversion Rate Optimization

Uganda Digital Marketing (Conversion Rate_

Online marketing is nothing if your efforts are not converting the website visitors into customers or take the desired action.

It is the process of tweaking the different elements on your website (Some times can mean any other platform too) to get more people to take a desired action on the platform yo choose. It’s all about generating more leads/customers with the lowest possible input.

This is a practice not so many in Uganda are taking advantage of. Currently, only a few have put an effort which includes the e-commerce company Jumi Uganda. They have included an animated section of a phone number for people with less technical know-how. But want to place an order.

This is only one of the conversion rate optimization aspect of Jumia, but it has a load, including asking people for email addresses so they can later target them with Ads and newsletters, the flashy elements on the websites, the kind of item categorization and where they place it, among others.

Jumia Uganda Home Page
Jumia Uganda Home Page

The whole point of this practice is to lure people into giving you something. Their Info, their Money, Commitment, etc.

Very few companies in Uganda are aware of this and therefore don’t utilize it. Or they do it all wrong so it changes nothing. This leads prospects away from their website/platform. This should change as companies invest more in online marketing.

6. Email marketing In Uganda

Email marketing is fairly a new concept for companies. While some companies like Liquid Telecom and Jumia are trying to using it. Most of their emails, however, look like spam, promotional messages or newsletters. We have no hope that this mode of marketing is going to catch up even in the next 3 years. Because it’s one of the oldest modes of marketing, yet never seems to catch at any point.

What is Email marketing? Its the use of email as a channel to connect your business with potential, and/or current customers. Better yet; think of it as “earning money by sending emails”

While this mode of advertising can be used widely different depending on the industry, Individual preferences, customer royalty and more, the best way to optimize it is going personal with targeted messages.

After years of using email marketing at CyberHost ourselves, Email really can be a great tool to build brand awareness, sales, repeat purchase/customers and definitely one of the best at building customer loyalty.

In simple terms; Email marketing can be defined as a series of emails from your business/company, that keeps your customer up-to-date on new products and services, news and promotions on already existing products, etc. It’s often a good thing to come off as neutral as possible while you make the sale, many times customers won’t care if they think you only care about selling to them. you want to go personal.

Equally, however, remember that email marketing is “NOT” without the aspect of actually causing a sale through the emails.

7. Content Marketing

Content Marketing Uganda 2020

Like the word itself, content marketing involves the creation, distribution, and promotion of your business’ owned media and earned media. With the intention of stimulating the audience’s interest in your products and services.

Owned media are all pieces of content(Video, Images, Text, etc) produced by your business. This can include;

  • Blog posts – these are pieces of information published on the company’s website.
  • Social Media Posts – on the company’s social media pages like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  • Email marketing campaigns – including newsletters and more

The internet feeds on content produced by businesses via their websites, blogs, social media and more. That’s why the phrase “Content is King “ is popular among internet marketers.

To fully utilize content marketing, your business must however first understand the target customer and his needs. By knowing what a person will search for and how. You can tailor content creation and distribution. To cater for those prospects to convert them into leads after visiting your blog or website.

Use Case

Consider a small law firm looking to get clients from the internet. Many Ugandans are looking for ways to register their businesses, landlords want to claim money from defaulting tenants and business people need help when drafting business contracts.

That law firm can create a blog with steps and guides on how to register your business, features of a valid contract, and the legal remedies available to a landlord in case a tenant defaults on rent payment.

Using social media, the law firm will share snippets of the content to enable encourage their audience to read the blog. In the long run, when someone with a legal query finds himself on the law firm’s website, chances are high that he will become a lead and eventually a paying Client.

This all makes content the king of the internet because, without content, the internet is worthless.

The Buying process

The buying process for online customers always takes three steps awareness, consideration and decision. Like this;

  • Stage 1— Awareness – This is where the person comes to learn they need a product, and where you should engage them with educational content.
  • 2—Consideration – Now they know they need that product, but still hesitant, This is where you should engage them more with advice on the best possible decision they can make.
  • 3—The Decision – They are made up to buy, and it’s time to decide on how, when and from which provider. This is the best time to position yourself in a strategic position, that they can’t miss your presence.

Don’t forget to include keywords and other good SEO practices so people find your content faster and first when they search the web. For a Ugandan business, this could mean adding “Uganda”, Kampala, or some local language/jargon word most used by your audience. Because your most prospective customers/clients are searching the internet for answers about your products or services with those kinds of words.

Making sure you are there when they need you the most puts your business in front of customers at the right time and your business in the right place.

When done correctly. The results of content marketing will turn your company website into a lead generation tool.

Final Thoughts;

There is always a twist (psychology) to how and why different people take different actions online.

The whole concept of Digital Marketing is not just about making posts to your pages, getting more links, adding more content, or even buying more ads. The secret lays in the strategy. Your timing matters, target audience, your choice of platform and a lot more contribute to the success of your marketing online.

That’s about everything you need to know about Uganda’s Digital Marketing scene. Please Take a look at our Digital Marketing Services here, and feel free to ask a question if any.

Let us know if you’d like clarification about any part of this article you didn’t get enough of, in the comments section below.

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