Twitter Community in MENA Region Increased 300% Says Report

A new unique report was released about twitter, the rocketing micro-blogging platform, this time it’s MENA region centric. Spot On PR, a PR agency in Dubai, who has been active on twitter since mid-year 2008. has conducted the first regional Twitter usage survey which focuses on the Twitter habits and experiences of a sample of 216 registered Twitter users across the region.  This survey started from August 8th to 14th, even if 216-surveyed twitter users number seems to be low and could probably lack generalization, yet it will be the only source of information that you can get it right from all the global research that covers the region as spillover.

Here are some of our survey’s key findings:

  • 54% of respondents are following 100 – 499 other Twitter users
  • 53% of users surveyed have 100 – 499 followers
  • 35% of Twitter users tweet 2-5 times per day
  • 64% typically tweet every day of the week
  • Contrary to global trends, twice as many men in our Middle East and North Africa survey use Twitter than women (other surveys show a similar male bias on Facebook in MENA)
  • 99% of those surveyed tweet in English, 26% of all those surveyed tweet in Arabic
  • Only 50% of Arabic speakers tweet in Arabic
  • 39% tweet mainly with other Twitter users in the Middle East
  • 61% of MENA Twitter users surveyed say that Twitter has affected their perceptions of a brand
  • 70% of MENA Twitter users say they have formed a more positive perception of a brand due to
  • Twitter and 52% say that they have formed a more negative perception of a brand due to Twitter
  • 48% of users surveyed say that they have often been alerted to a major story via Twitter, 54% say that Twitter has lead them to a blog or website and 21% say that they have tuned into a TV program as a result of Twitter
  • 32% of users say that they have bought a product or service as a result of recommendations on Twitter
  • 96% of users expect to continue to use Twitter as much as they do today or even more in the future

Spot On PR based its survey approach, questions and conclusions on the following assumptions drawn from the agency’s own experience with social media, monitoring Twitter activity across the region and feedback from other social media users in MENA.

  1. Adoption of Twitter in the Middle East and North Africa region is broadly following the technology adoption life cycle and Twitter adoption is in the early adopter phase. Most users of Twitter are users of other social media and many of them have a keen interest in the web.
  2. Twitter demographics are changing in different ways and at varying speeds across the region. The UAE has more ‘mainstream’ users, but it seems that these are often brought onto Twitter by an event, campaign or special interest (for example, followers of Dubai92 FM radio DJ Catboy; followers of Paris Hilton and her visits to Dubai; or followers of Intercontinental DFC’s Spring-Summer Twitter competition).
  3. There are an increasing number of Arabic speakers using Twitter, however the majority are Internet and technology power-users and so are also fluent in English. Spot On expects this to change for some countries on Twitter over the next 6-12 months.
  4. Due to the number of different countries, cultures, languages and levels of Internet development, it’s dangerous to assume that the demographics and Twitter habits research about Europe or the USA holds true for Twitter users in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Countries:

UAE leads the region in numbers and user activity, the fastest growing areas in the region are now Lebanon, Syria and Jordan which all had negligible numbers of users in the first few months of 2009 and can now be measured in the hundreds.

Age Group:

Spot On estimates that 15-19 year old users account for less than 10% of Twitter use across MENA and this age group represented less than 5% of our survey respondents. However, the 15-19 year old age group was much less evident in survey respondents from the UAE accounting for just 1.44% of our UAE survey. 77% of respondents from the UAE and 69% overall in the survey were between the ages of 25 and 39. Age groups over 40 accounted for 8% of respondents overall and more than 10% in the UAE, compared with less than 1% in June’s global survey from Sysomos(4). All indicators confirm that MENA’s Twitter communities are older than those of North America and around the world.

Tweeple at Work:

Whilst less than 50% of respondents stated their motivation for opening a Twitter account was at all business related, 78% said that they were employed or self-employed and nearly 80% said that they tweeted often from the office.

The report also covers:

  • Tweeting Habits
  • Perception & Reputation
  • Product & Marketing
  • Media & News
  • Twitter & Social Media

You can download the first twitter report in the mena region here

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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.