Middle East Internet Users Addicted To Social Media

A majority of the internet users polled said they preferred virtual communication over face-to-face or telephone conversations.



The majority of internet users in the Middle East have more than two social media accounts and visit a social network at least once a day, a Performics MENA study has revealed.

The marketing agency survey found that Middle East internet users are rapidly adopting social media with around 85 per cent of the respondents having at least one social media account while 61 per cent of them have two or more social media accounts.

Twitter was rated as the most popular social media network in the region, currently attracting more users than any other platform.

The figures are expected to rise in the future as social media becomes an ‘indispensable tool in people’s lives’, said the study.

“Social media is gaining popularity – at an incredible speed – here in the Middle East,” said Jamil Zablah, managing director of Performics MENA.

“It has redefined communication and reconfigured many aspects of our lives including our daily activities, how we conduct business and how we engage with each other. The study indicates that people in the Middle East are quickly embracing social media and its ability to keep us increasingly connected as well as making life happen ‘on demand.’”

The study showed that users now prefer to communicate through networking sites rather than by telephone or more personal means; around 64 per cent said that they would prefer to talk to distant friends on social network sites while 51 per cent chose social networking to communicate with close friends and will opt for social media conversations instead of telephone communication.

52 per cent of the respondents even said that they even felt comfortable over virtual conversations than real time conversation.

The survey further reveals that brands are dialing in on users’ social media addiction to monitor and enhance consumer interest.

More than 30 per cent of users affirmed that they ‘like’ a brand on Facebook if they are a regular customer, like to keep track of their new offers, require insider knowledge or search for recent posts by the brand.

On average, each user ‘Likes’ a total of five brands, the survey found.

“With constant exposure to consumer trends, brands now have unprecedented access to a wealth of data – further reducing the possibility of a disconnect with the target audience,” added Zablah.

“In effect, this is essential as real-time data exchange can help maximize consumer engagement.”

According to another survey, released earlier by YouGov and multilingual social network dudu.com, 35 per cent of internet users in the GCC use social networking sites for business purposes thus enhancing brand engagement.

70 per cent of respondents replied that they would engage with the brand they ‘Like’ on Facebook if the post is a picture while 58 per cent chose videos and 52 per cent chose jokes, memes and selected status updates to engage with the brand.

Only 50 per cent responded that that they would engage when links to an article were posted.

“These findings can be used to help brands effectively cultivate consumer engagement, create successful multi-channel initiatives and interact across various customer touch points,” said Zablah.

The online survey sampled 2,042 respondents – aged 15-64 – with at least one social network account and living in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.