Which Social Media Networks Do MENA Influencers Love the Most?

Published June 30th, 2020 - 09:00 GMT
Which Social Media Networks Do MENA Influencers Love the Most?Which Social Media Networks Do MENA Influencers Love the Most?
Only ten years ago, words like influencers and vloggers were barely heard of, especially in our region. (Shutterstock: Rawpixel.com)

Ever since smartphones enabled us to browse the internet using pocket-size devices, our usage of the internet has evolved that it's become a major part of our daily lives. It's allowed many social phenomena to emerge and it has affected our terminology as we indulged in a new virtual reality.

Only ten years ago, words like influencers and vloggers were barely heard of, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, but here we are today, celebrating Social Media Day and examining their content, their popularity, and their favorite platforms.

It's interesting how content offered through social media networks has developed over the years, inspiring new interests among the public and offering a lot of new insights on issues, whether by regular users or well-known influencers.

According to the Digital 2020 report published last January, internet users in the MENA region have grown by 14% during the past year, adding more than 23 million new users. The report also noted that social media networks have welcomed 16 million new active users.

90% of internet users report spending most of their time watching videos, 51% of whom, watch video blogs, dedicating a lot of time to following well-known influencers, and granting them an increasingly huge fan base. Being an image-centered platform, Instagram is now attracting more Middle Eastern influencers than any other social network.

However, many influencers looking to make a profit from their online presence had put effort into more than just one tool. Several of the region's most popular internet figures have entire business teams that run their online activity smartly, in order to attract brands that are looking for expanding their market through product reviews or service recommendations.

In 2018, Gulfnews reported numbers analyzed for the first time through BPG Orange, revealing that UAE-based influencers make an average of $1,000 to $5,000 per each social media post in which they promote a certain product.

In their "Middle East Influencers Directory," Talkwalker listed more than 650 influencers that are based in the Middle East, 615 of the well-known figures have created Instagram channels.  In the second, with only 231 accounts, came Twitter, which still has a solid Middle Eastern presence mainly attributed to its character limit that promises concise and short messages. Meanwhile, only 174 of the MENA influencers have YouTube channels compared to 169 managing their own blogs and websites. a 2020 Ijnet reported that Saudi Arabia is the 6th biggest market for Snapchat globally.

According to the same report, TikTok and Facebook attracted only +100 MENA influencers, while a LinkedIn channel has been created by about 40 of them.

Travel experiences and food are amongst the most popular topics MENA-based digital content creators are interested in. Lifestyle, beauty, and high-tech vloggers are also amongst the most popular themes discussed.

Heading Talkwalker's list of countries hosting the MENA's most prominent influencers were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which has pushed both countries to issue several regulations in order for them to keep the emerging marketing industry under control.

Over the last year, the UAE has started issuing licenses that aim to regulate commercial influencer's content. Last July, the company reported having authorized over 1700 influencers in the country, each for $4000 USD.

Lockdowns imposed following the COVID-19 outbreak have pushed many Middle Eastern vloggers and influencers to start exploring TikTok besides channels they have been known for, an app previously associated with an overwhelming teenage-majority fan base.

Digital media creators have for the last few months been promoting their TikTok channels in an effort that aim to make up for the lack of new outdoor content.

It's this growing popularity of several social media networks and the constant need for Arab-focused content that is fueling the online-based industry in the region. There is also real potential for other not-so-popular platforms to attract MENA users by offering them new features that can help serve their needs.

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