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Gulf’s Social Media Usage Transforming Brand Engagement

Gulf’s Social Media Usage Transforming Brand Engagement

High levels of internet penetration and social media usage are transforming customer strategies and brand engagement in the Middle East.

Increasing social media interaction and high levels of connectivity in the Middle East are transforming the methods of brand engagement by businesses in the region.

“Social media driven digital engagement is a disrupting force that is among the most significant factors driving business today,” said Trixee Loh, senior vice president at Dubai World Trade Centre, speaking ahead of Gitex next week.

“Users are more empowered and vocal than ever, which presents unique opportunities and completely redefines the concept of ‘business as usual’. The pressure to adapt (digitally) is immense.”

According to Ipsos, the UAE tops the regional internet penetration rate table with 71 per cent, followed by Kuwait (62 per cent), Qatar (61 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (60 per cent).

Recent figures from the Dubai School of Government reveal that the Arab region now boasts around 125 million Internet users, 53 million of which actively use social media.

Social media analysts State of Search said that 80 per cent of Internet users in the MENA region spend more than one hour each day updating their social networking channels.

State of Search adds that there are 36,000 new Facebook users in MENA, while Google figures show there are 100 million YouTube video playbacks in the region every day, as well as an hour’s worth of video uploaded every minute.

“We are living in an increasingly connected society and securing the digital world has become a top priority for most businesses in the region,” said Hisham Surakhi, general manager of Gemalto Middle East.

High social media involvement in the region has also driven up advertisement volumes in social networks like Facebook.

“Newsfeed and mobile advertising are both growing globally and in this part of the world for us,” said Jonathan Labin, head of Facebook, Middle East and Africa.

Labin said that platforms like Facebook helps FMCG companies to reach their full potential by targeting a wider customer base.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of advertisers who are turning to Facebook to get their message to people who matter most,” said Labin.

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