The top tech giants, Google, Spotify, YouTube and TikTok recently announced what trended on their platforms in 2022.
Their analyses give a peek into what Kenyans were into and were thinking about this year.
“What is opaque?” was a hot one. The phrase was the ninth most searched item in the searches that began with the phrase “What is”. No prizes as to why it was such a trending search item.
One thing the data also revealed is that Kenyans have a propensity to want some outcomes in eyebrow-raising timelines. For instance, some of the top ten Google searches in the health “How to” category were “How to get pregnant fast”, “How to gain weight in a week” and “How to grow hair faster naturally in a week.”
As surprising as those may seem, the number one search in the “How to” health category was the oddly specific search term: “How to maintain facial health by controlling the type of food consumed.”
Sports in general was a topic on the forefront of Kenyans’ minds, as it featured heavily on the most searched items, with football being specifically what they searched for. World Cup 2022 Fixtures and AFCON were the second and most third searched items after IEBC. In addition, of the top 10 most searched global personalities, five of them were footballers with Brazil's and Arsenal's player Gabriel Jesus being the most searched global personality.
Second and third most searched were Brazilian footballer, Manchester United player Casemiro and Argentinian player Lisandro Martinez respectively. Also on the top ten list were Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and Barcelona club member Raphinha. Sports and betting website pakakumi was also the seventh most searched item overall.
In other forms of entertainment, YouTube’s data showed a sharp rise in the consumption of locally generated content from elections news to comedies, music, religious, and real life talk shows. Locally created content that celebrates different ways of life by Kenyans registered the highest viewership.
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Pastor Ezekiel Odero recently caused a stir on social media when the Kasarani stadium was filled to capacity during his crusade. A look at YouTube stats gives a clue. He commands a large following in real life and online, as his channel, New Life TV Kenya came second on the top 10 top creators on YouTube, after Thee Pluto show.
Kenyan entertainment also did well on TikTok, as the top most watched videos were local. ‘Nyumba imeleta shida by comedian David Oyando, popularly known as Mulamwah, was the most watched video on Tiktok.
Locally generated entertainment may have carried the day in general, but it is a different story with Kenyan music. While Spotify data showed that Kenyans listened to more local music than last year, they still showed a preference for music from other countries, with Nigerian, Tanzanian and American artistes coming out on top.
Spotify and YouTube seem to attract different kinds of audiences, as their top ten lists of most the listened to music were significantly different. The undeniable consistency between them is that Kenyan artistes do not come out on top on either platform.
Five of the YouTube’s top ten music videos were by Tanzania's Diamond Platnumz, The Ben, Marioo, Zuchu, Harmonize and Alikiba. Four Kenyans were in the top ten, but two of those were collaborations with Tanzanians. Toto by Willy Paul and Kishash by Ndovu Kuu were the only purely Kenyan songs in the top ten. The top video was Calm Down by Rema, while Sugarcane Remix by Ghanian artiste Camidoh came tenth.
On Spotify, however, Nigerian and American artistes came out on top, with no Kenyan or Tanzanian on any of their top streamed lists, with the exception of two curated Kenyan playlists on the top ten playlists.
Incredibly all the top ten most streamed songs on Spotify were by Nigerian artistes. Eight of the most streamed artistes in general were American, with Nigerian artistes Burna Boy and Fireboy DML also making the list. The only Kenyan appearance on Google’s most searched lyrics, was Tushangilie Kenya Lyrics which came in second, while all the other nine most searched song lyrics were by Nigerian artistes.
Kenyan artistes fared a bit better on Tiktok, with Michael Bundi, Willy Paul, Wahu Kagwi and Guardian Angel being in the top ten most viewed artistes on Tiktok in Kenya. On Tiktok’s most soundtracked songs however, Bingo Bango by Madini Classic was the only Kenyan song, coming in at number 10, though Mi Amor by Tanzanian artiste Marioo might also be counted as half Kenyan since it featured Kenyan artiste Jovial. The top ten most sound-tracked songs were mostly by Tanzanians, followed by Nigeria's Ruger, Kizz Daniel and Ayra Starr with three songs in the top ten.
On the influencer side, 2022 seems to have been Jackie Matubia’s year, as she came seventh on YouTube’s top ten creators, was named their number one breakout creator, with her channel attracting the highest number of new subscriptions registered as she discussed issues from personal finance, love life, baby ‘journey’ to family issues. Her video, “oops!” was the second most watched on Tiktok this year.
Kenyans had some unexpected interests. An unusual entrant in the most searched categories on Google was “What is innovative gardening”, a very niche search item that was the most searched for in the “What is” category.
It is not clear what caused this to be such a popular search item, even beating “What is Form 34A” which came second. The first result when you search “What is innovative gardening” describes it as “being inventive in how you efficiently utilise what you have around you to grow and cultivate plants that you can use in your home or that you can sell.”
Less surprisingly, during an election year, something to do with elections was bound to be on the lists, so “IEBC portal” was the single most searched item overall on Google this year.