Guest blog post from Feras Hilal of The Online Project Ever wondered when’s the best time to engage with your Facebook fans and Twitter followers during Ramadan? We did too. And to help brands in the region, we’ve delved into the differences between the user habits on Facebook and Twitter during the Holy Month. Ramadan has a significant impact on people’s behaviors and daily routine in the Middle East. The pressure now is on brand managers and social media strategists who need to know the differences between their audiences, and make adjustments to their marketing messages accordingly.
Our colleagues in the US have put together a fantastic summary of some of the today in the deck below. Here in the Middle East, we’re increasingly focusing our attention on the importance of mobile and how that shapes interaction with our clients’ stories on social media and beyond. Another key trend is the convergence of paid, owned and earned media – something any brand or organization embracing social media today should consider.
Here are the latest global trends! In this issue, the UAE trends are mentioned in 3 sections – social media, technology & digital and culture. The third edition of The Quarterly is the JCPR report covering the latest trends from around the globe including social media, technology & digital, brand & marketing, culture, good purpose, fashion & luxury, retail, food & drink, health & beauty and travel. These reports come from colleagues from across the world including UK, Germany, USA, Canada, Mexico, Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, UAE, India, Singapore, China and Australia.
**First **** LinkedIn **MENA office opens in UAE Exciting news for the Middle Eastern business world this week as LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 175 million members worldwide, announced the opening of its first office in the Middle East and North Africa. Located in Dubai’s Internet City, the office will serve as regional headquarters to over five million members in the Middle East and North Africa, one million of which are based in the UAE, where a team of approximately half a dozen will support the growing membership and client base.
A dirty QWERTY, regional social TV, Facebook postcards and top-Tweeting cities? It must be time for our weekly wrap-up! Social TV UAE based companies Arabi on TV and SkyGrid have collaborated to develop Touch TV – the first free application to watch TV shows on Facebook, according to a report in Gulf News. The app, which works on all major operating systems, is designed to tap into the way people in the region access social networking sites for entertainment.
As Ramadan commenced, an Arabian Business headline caught my eye: Over 100 hospitalized in Qatar after overeating. This appears to be the effects of a Ramadan celebration gone awry, but as an expat, recently relocated to the UAE, I can sympathize. I’ve been lucky enough to eat the buffets at brunches and Iftars, and while I’ve never had to resort to hospitalization, I can see the importance of self-regulation and self-control.
Is Facebook dying? In its first report as a public company last week, Facebook announced that it has lost $157m from April to June. Shares have now fallen to a new low of $23.71 compared to the initial price of $38 when Facebook first became listed on the Nasdaq in May. On top of this, it has been estimated that Facebook has over 83 million illegitimate accounts, adding to the growing concern about the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing and advertising platform.
The Online Project (TOP) family extends its wishes to all Arabian Bytes on the advent of the Holy month of Ramadan. The Online Project released its second industry report in 2012, which is under the theme of exploring user behavior trends during Ramadan. Our rationale was that the nature of the Holy month, affects the personal and professional schedules of people in the Arab and Muslim worlds dramatically. It all started with Ramadan 2011, when our analysis team, which is tasked with keeping tabs on all activity related to the pages of our clients, noticed an interesting change in user behavior on Twitter.
As the world tunes in to the Olympic Games, this Friday 27th July, the hopes of over 200 countries are pinned on their nation’s preeminent sporting icons. While the Games have evolved over the past century, the Olympic spirit remains the same: to bring people together in peace and friendly competition. The 2012 Olympic Games marks an unparalleled sense of history with the inclusion of female athletes from every participating nation, as well as the first Olympics to involve female athletes in every sport.
As I’m relatively new to the region (6 months and counting), I wanted to share a few (or four) of my favourite finds and insights related to the rich Middle Eastern media landscape that I hope will enlighten, educate or at the very least, entertain: Brownbook Magazine – According to the magazine itself, Brownbook “is an urban lifestyle guide focusing on design, culture and travel across the Middle East and North Africa.
Last week, one of the leading social media agencies in the Middle East, The Online Project, published what may well be the first report and infographic that answers the question: ‘Who in the Middle East uses Facebook the most?’ Facebook Marketing Why Global Brands Need to Change Strategies in the Middle East View more documents from The Online Project Global brands wanting to tap into Middle Eastern market, with its 300 million inhabitants, the majority of which are youth, are definitely the biggest beneficiaries of such a report.
Technology and media are evolving before our eyes it seems, a point the Pivot Conference has illustrated beautifully with an infographic they compiled showcasing how seven tech and web companies today started out. It’s a great reminder that we are right in the middle of a technological revolution. While established industries rely on large scale manufacturing and mature worldwide delivery networks, new communications technologies have resulted in cottage industries popping up across the globe where language and cultural awareness are a marketable asset.
This week has been an eventful Facebook week, “coincidentally” following on from the release of new social network Google+ last week. The main highlights of the week; Arabic to overtake English as number 1 language in Middle East Following a recent study commissioned by Middle Eastern PR agency Spot On PR, results have indicated that within a year, users in the Middle East will be using Facebook in Arabic more than any other language.
It’s a short week for those of us in the UAE, but there’s still plenty to highlight in this special all-Google edition from the week that was. Google Launches Google+ The much-hyped Google social network, dubbed Google+, is now open for a public beta and invites to the Google+ network are already going fast. Once inside, users will notice some striking similarities to Facebook, or as some commentators have uncharitably put it, a “clone.
Along with his Morland cigarettes, Walther PPK and Savile Row suits, it seems that James Bond has another favourite brand: The National newspaper. In Carte Blanche, the latest instalment of his thrilling adventures, written by Jeffery Deaver, an American thriller writer, Chapter 26 begins: “James Bond had his coffee and water in front of him as he sat with The National newspaper, published out of Abu Dhabi. He considered it the best newspaper in the Middle East.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Doha Debates; a well-known series that is produced in Doha, Qatar by the Qatar Foundation and aired monthly via BBC World news. The aim of the debates: to enable the outside world to catch a glimpse of the issues affecting the Arab world, and provide a free forum for discussion. Launched over seven years ago, the programme – which is filmed in front of a select audience of students and high-end university scholars – identifies tough local issues and pulls in senior level politicians and academics from across the world to discuss, debate and take questions from the audience.
Oh, such a dramatic week. First, Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs – now known to have had an affair with Welsh model Imogen Thomas – put his foot in it by attempting to sue Twitter after some of its users posted his name despite the fact he had taken out an injunction preventing UK media from naming him. The only problem is that it caused so much outrage that Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming used parliamentary priveleges to name him anyway.
Prominent Emirati commentator and journalist Sultan Al Qassemi. With such a huge following on Twitter, was he tweeting updates during the Arab Media Forum? The tenth Arab Media Forum kicked off this morning in the presence of 2,400 media personalities and experts from the Middle East region, and Arabian Bytes was there to catch all the action from Day One. After being officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the two-day forum – which is taking place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai – began with a keynote speech by Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Emad Abu Ghazi (who attended after Egypt’s post-revolution Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, apparently pulled out at the last minute).
So, it has been quite the Walt Disney week, hasn’t it? A royal wedding, a papal beatification, and the death of a prominent terrorist. Introducing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Last Friday’s British royal wedding was reportedly watched by 2 billion people worldwide, which shows a 1.25 billion increase in 30 years since Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana. When it comes to social media; the U.S.A generating most of the social media buzz (55.
A recent article by David George-Cosh in The National discusses upcoming upgrades from Etisalat and du which are set to make Internet connections in the UAE up to seven times faster thanks to new cables. Beyond the obvious benefits of allowing all of us here in the UAE to download faster and watch streaming videos, investments in internet connectivity are a positive development for the trends toward greater internet usage and consumption, already one of the highest in the region.
Our colleague recently posted some interesting Twitter stats and across EMEA. Based on the latest Comscore data, Twitter usage in the Middle East was up 104% from November 2009 to November 2010. In related news, a recent survey by the TRA of the UAE showed Twitter was the second most popular social network in the UAE, with 9% using Twitter (though far behind Facebook’s 97% dominance). Perhaps Twitter’s upcoming Arabic interface will help fuel even more growth in 2011, but no matter what it’s clear that Twitter is on an upward trajectory in the Middle East.
The spate of 2011 prediction articles that have been rolling out to mark the New Year make for some enjoyable reading. Below are some links to trends I’ve found particularly interesting. Of course, I couldn’t resist throwing in three of my own about the Middle East so here they are… Social buying heats up (more) in Middle East In an already crowded field including GoNabit.com and Cobone.com, the granddaddy of social buying sites, Groupon, has recently launched a UAE site at Groupon.