It’s that time of year again: Ramadan. During this period, many online startups look back to their last year’s analytics to try to make the best out of the surge in internet usage that happens around this time.
Last Ramadan, there was a 30% increase on Facebook and a 33% increase on Twitter users engaging with regional brands, as we reported then. This means more users will be online and hungry to engage.
This year, TOP goes more in depth to explore exactly what these audiences are discussing online during the Holy month. In the study tackling trends during Ramadan, the authors justify their emphasis on Twitter as follows: “We decided to use Twitter as the main focal point for our study since it’s the most public platform and we can tune into user conversations and pick up on those trends liberally.”
The findings of the report were gathered based on hundreds of thousands of tweets analyzed by TOP from 11 countries in the Middle East. The categories of the report include: a language breakdown of tweets, their main themes, hashtags used, peak times of usage, and finally, their content and volume.
Additionally, international hosting company Rackspace recently released a similar infographic, on Social Media Usage During Ramadan (see below). Based on multiple studies and reports, the infographic highlights the changes in “users infrastructure” and aims to help companies get ready for these changes during the Holy month.
The infographic shows a 10 to 15% increase in traffic, a 30 to 40% increase in time spent online, and an increase in activity by 35%. An overall 30% average increase in social media usage during Ramadan was also noted, where engagement was calculated as the number of likes, comments, shares that regional brands received divided by the average number of fans these brands had during that time interval. On Twitter, engagement was calculated according to the number of mentions and retweets these brands received.
Based on the main takeaways from the TOP and Rackspace studies, we gathered four pieces of advice for brands looking to increase social media engagement with their audiences during Ramadan:
- Don’t skip Suhoor. Rackspace’s infographic mentions a peak in internet usage between 12 and 3 AM, just before Suhoor (the traditional early morning meal before dawn). Brands should make sure they are ready to interact with their audiences at those times.
- Arabic is your language this month. If you are targeting KSA, as are most startups in the region, make sure your social media channels are communicating in Arabic during Ramadan, as 86% of Saudi tweets are in Arabic. At the same time, Kuwait has a higher percentage (94%), followed by Oman (79%), then Egypt (68%), and the UAE (52%). Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine seem to be the only three countries preferring English, with respectively 51%, 79%, and 59% of tweets made in English.
- Settle in for a chat. As reported by TOP, almost half of all tweets in the Middle East are conversational during Ramadan. People are tweeting text more than media, hashtags, and links, and are more open to start or join a conversation engaging with brands than during the rest of the year. In Egypt for example only 4% of tweets included media, whereas 51% of tweets were text only. In Jordan, 7% including media, whereas 41% were text only; in Saudi, 10% of tweets included media whereas 54% were text only.
- Chime in. According to the TOP study, most trending topics between 8 PM and 2 AM are political, religious, and charity-related. Would you be ready to step out of your comfort zone a bit and join the conversation during Ramadan? If your business type allows it, make sure you do enough reading and research to engage with your audience on these popular topics.