The impact of Ramadan on social media users

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This article is a crosspost with Nuwait.

The holy month of Ramadan is an opportunity for its adherents to both do good and practice self discipline, as well as spend time with their family and loved ones.  

A new study recently released by Oxford Journals, which includes an in-depth look at the evolution of the business sector in Muslim countries over the past 50 years, concluded that Ramadan is often accompanied by a decrease in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the sector. This is mainly due, they said, to the fact that employees in Islamic countries often work a shorter number of hours during Ramadan. However, this trend is also accompanied by an increase in consumption, which offers an opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs looking to gain more users and customers.

Social media usage and user behavior changes considerably during Ramadan. Startups looking to market their business should take note of the changes in peak times in order to effectively advance their enagement with potential users.

“Twitter is most active during Ramadan, where people share different experiences and express their opinions via an image tweet,” said Khalid Al-Sultan, general manager at Kuwaiti marketing agency Ghaliah.

Identifying patterns

Al-Sultan believes that the perfect strategy to getting more user engagement during  Ramadan is to use social media channels to share and post content designed specifically for the month. He also advises marketers to use competitions and prizes as an engaging medium for users.

Khalid Al-Sultan. (Image via Ghaliah)

While certain statistics point to an increase in social media usage during Ramadan, in part because of less working hours, Al-Sultan stresses the importance of monitoring the changing peak times for user activity. Marketers should engage with users right before Iftar time, and around 10pm, he said. Users are also active while watching their favorite television shows.

Hind Al Nahedh, CEO of social media agency Socialobby in Kuwait, believes that in addition to the aforementioned peak times, social media users are also most active during Ramadan between midnight and the early morning hours. Games and competitions on social media are often the best way to boost user engagement, she said.

“Our clients during Ramadan do acknowledge that customers are connected most of the time, especially during long fasting hours,” she said. “Anything entertaining, such as games or engaging content like competitions and puzzles, will be perfect for audiences that want to occupy their time and have fun on their mobile phones.”

Ramadan-specific content

Al Nahedh advises companies to always prepare an innovative social media strategy during Ramadan to use during peak hours. This strategy will be dictated by user behavior and preferences both online and in real life, with a focus on mobile games. Al-Sultan also advises clients to use popular hashtags while posting Ramadan-relevant content, and focus on social and volunteering initiatives in their posts.

Hind Al Nahedh of Socialobby. (Image via Socialobby)

Twitter and instagram in Kuwait are huge as [they] involve hashtags and visuals up to a minute long now… Facebook not so much,” Al Nahedh told Nuwait. She added that paid ads on Instagram have been very successful since their launch in Kuwait.

Ramadan is an opportunity for startups to build their brands and promote them to users by taking advantage of new trends and initiatives that evoke positive emotional responses from users. Al-Sultan, for example, uses the quotes of widely popular figures when marketing his clients’ brands during Ramadan.

Al Nahedh concluded that marketers should always monitor others’ successful media strategies to learn from and adapt them.

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