How do Saudis use social media? [Infographic]

by Maya Rahal, December 16, 2013

Saudi Arabia is no doubt one of the main markets digital entrepreneurs want to dominate. With more than three million active Twitter users, the Kingdom has the highest Twitter penetration worldwide, making it one of the Middle East’s most active countries in social media.

To learn more about the behavior of Saudi users on social media networks, The Online Project (TOP), a regional social media agency, collected data on its target audience and shared its findings in the infographic below and a report (downloadable here) called Getting To Know Social Saudis.

To better outline its conclusions and findings, TOP created three general personas for the average Saudi user on Facebook, Twitter, and video sharing platforms YouTube and Keek, based on common trends its analysts observed while analyzing data from each social platform. Despite an uptick in Saudi women’s interest in social media, the number of male users far surpassed the number of females, so none of the personas are female.

The personas are:

Mohamed, the average Saudi Facebook user, is 30 years old, married, mostly engages between 6 and 8 PM, is most active on Wednesdays, and uses Facebook through his Android phone.

Ahmed, the average Saudi Twitter user, is not married, mostly tweets in Arabic, tweets an average of three times per day (generally around midnight), favors his iPhone, and is most active on Fridays.

Abdullah, the average video consumer in Saudi, checks YouTube on a daily basis, is subscribed to “Eych Elli,” a comedy YouTube channel, and follows LoujainHathloul and Silver000 on Keek.

Below are some of the most interesting findings and conclusions mentioned in the report and infographic, based on the personas’ behavior.

  • Facebook is the largest social platform in Saudi Arabia (7.8 million users) but the Saudi social media user is more active on Twitter
     
  • Saudis prefer to engage in Arabic on all the platforms (51% use Facebook on the Arabic interface, and 89% of Twitter users tweet in Arabic)
     
  • Mobile usage in Saudi Arabia is generally very high, and Facebook users are mostly Android phone users while Twitter users are more likely using iOS-enabled devices

     
  • Saudi users connect with brands on Facebook more than on Twitter
     
  • Comedy is the most popular category of videos watched on YouTube, while on Twitter the categories with the highest number of followers is religion
     
  • Saudis engage with short videos more than longer ones (Keek surpassed YouTube twofold in the ratio of number of views per video to the number of videos uploaded)

Based on its conclusions, TOP presents the following recommendations for entrepreneurs targeting the Saudi market:

  • Visualize your audience as real people with very specific characteristics so you can understand their behavior and tailor the campaign specifically to them
     
  • Schedule periods to test content pieces (according to type) and then observe the change in engagement rates
     
  • Listen to the conversations that your audience engages in (particularly with advocates, competitors, and other consumers of your brand)
     
  • Select which platforms you want to engage on depending on the behavior of your audience, and how your audience uses each platform
     
  • Identify and engage with influencers that are relevant to your company or industry
Click on the infographic for a larger image.
 
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Maya is Managing Editor of Wamda. You can reach her at maya[AT]wamda.com, or on Twitter @RahalMaya.