News Column

Study Tallies Social Media Boom

January 8, 2013

Saudi Gazette

A recent study [by Saudi-based social media agency The Social Clinic] researched the main social media usage in the Kingdom on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn and found out that the excessive access of users from the Kingdom has increased the use of Arabic in social media, making it the fastest-growing language currently on the internet. The Kingdom tops the list of Middle East countries when it comes to involvement in the social media in most of the statistics.

The study released this week hopes to increase awareness among businesses regarding the importance of social media usage to connect, engage and interact "strategically" with their clients.

Bilal Hallab, a social business strategist, said that "up to 90m YouTube videos are viewed daily by users in Saudi Arabia, placing the Kingdom on top of the list."

He added Twitter's penetration growth rate increased in the Kingdom by 3,000 per cent from 2011 to 2012, way higher than that of the global average, which is approximately 300 per cent.

"We have to realize that the consumers in the Kingdom are utilizing social media in a very clever way, and not only for fun and amusement. They are using social media to complain, inquire and even spread news and updates on brands and organizations, which might harm or benefit the reputation of a particular organization," said Hallab.

The study found out that 45 per cent of users registered on Twitter are females. The age group that uses Twitter more is between 25-34, followed by 18-24. The study figured out that 26 per cent of people who have access to internet tend to use social media.

The Kingdom accounts for 30 per cent of all Arabic content on Twitter; users in the Kingdom send over 50m tweets per month.

Facebook is still maintaining the number one position in the Kingdom when it comes to its use with 6 million active users. About 23 per cent of people in Saudi Arabia have Facebook accounts and 90 per cent of them tend to use Arabic language to access their pages, while only 8 per cent use English.

The professional network LinkedIn, which has an English-only user interface, is also popular in Saudi Arabia, with 840,000 registered users placing the country at the top of the list of total users in the Arab world, which is approximately 4 million.

"The social media adoption rate in the Arab world in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular is very high, and for that organizations and brands have to make sure that they have the perfect engagement, analytic, crisis management and brand reputation plan, and basically a solid social media strategy," said Hallab.

According to Hallab, businesses should not hand their social media accounts and pages to a company or an agency or individuals to manage but rather develop a separate social media department at their companies that can best serve the marketing, finance and other objectives of the company.

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Source: (C) 2013 BBC Monitoring Media. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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