Four tactics to make niche Arabic content work, from health platform Anakeef

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The web is teeming with forums and platforms tackling a wide range of  health, nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, beauty, fashion and celebrity news without focusing on just one of them.

Amidst multiple conversations and tips encouraging entrepreneurs to focus their companies’ efforts in one direction and master it well before expanding its activities, the Anakeef? platform comes as a testament to the multiple conversations and tips encouraging entrepreneurs to focus.  

Anakeef? is an Arabic website that focuses on helping users improve their health, psychological mindset, and personal aesthetics. It encourages users to ask the question Anakeef? (‘How am I?’ in English) and discover solutions to their various problems through the website. “I did not feel that there are high-quality internet platforms in the Arab region that really discuss topics on healthy lifestyle. This topic has been my passion ever since I was a child,” says the site’s Jordanian founder (and serial entrepreneur) Dina Yassin.

Over the course of her career, Yassin worked on many projects including founding a school to teach Arabic language in San Diego, before returning to live in her home country of Jordan in 2001. There, she contributed to the establishment of educational initiatives and organizations before launching Anakeef? in 2012.

At the beginning of this year, Yassin re-designed the platform, adding a set of new features, most notably two systems that calculate calories on the basis of one’s daily diet.

The platform currently offers topics and videos that include tips and advice about food recipes, the health benefits of various foods and vitamins, diets to try, fitness exercises, and beauty tips. A chat section facilitates connections between users and experts and specialists in the Anakeef? network.

Yassin worked with nutrition specialists to develop a diet with new options every week, along with shopping lists and easy recipes. “We have prepared a list of all foods common in the region and modified [them] to make them healthier and lighter,” said Yassin of the diets.

Digital Arabic content focusing on health, lifestyle and fitness is proving itself to be a viable and sustainable business model.

There already are two big players in that field. Yasmina.com, managed by digital media company Diwanee which was recently acquired by a big French digital publishing company, and who has a sub-category dedicated for health while the main page focuses on beauty and fashion.

And 2Pure’s Nawa3em which also has a sub-category for recipes, but focuses on celebrity news and fashion, while the group is still expanding with its recently launched video platform for women Olntv.tv.

With many successful models to get inspired from, and more niche content, Anakeef? seems to have a bright future, and looks like is already doing well.

Since its launch, Anakeef? has built a loyal customer database; 80% of the site’s visitors are regular and 20% are new. Around 55,000 visitors visit the site daily; of these, 35,000 are unique visitors. Average time spent on the site is 2.3.

It is interesting to note that Anakeef? has attained these numbers out of the founder’s personal investment and without allocating any fund to advertising and marketing. “We are at a stage where we have a hope of being able to make profit through advertising, and we have other plans that we will disclose later on,” she notes.

According to her, there are four major factors that contributed to the success of the platform:

  1. Hiring people who share her passion for physical fitness and the importance of eating healthy, and who are convinced by the aims of the platform. “I have noticed that users are aware that the aim of the platform is not purely commercial and that our work is stemming from our own passion. This encourages them to return and have confidence in the content that we offer,” Yassin says.

  1. Focusing on clear and comprehensive information in one place. “The website is comprehensive and tackles all aspects of physical health, such as psychological tips for the adoption of a healthy diet and the focus on the importance of surrounding oneself with friends and a supportive network of people,” she notes.

  1. Emphasizing Privacy. From the name of the site, you can tell that the people behind it are adopting a personal approach in the way they address their users. It also allows users to manage their own accounts where they can enter a weekly plan, favorite, follow-ups, Body Mass Index (BMI), etc.

  2. Targeting both women and men. Health and nutrition websites often target women, mothers, and pregnant women only, which impacts their design, colors, and tone. However, Anakeef? adopts a general approach and gives advice to both men and women. “70% of visitors are women and 30% men. We have been witnessing a significant increase in the percentage of men recently,” Yassin notes in this regard.

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