Twitter Usage in the MENA region

arab social media report logo

arab social media report logo

Following up on the last post about the Facebook statistics in the Arab world, here will display the findings from Dubai’s school of government results regarding Twitter usage in the Arab world published in their second release of their Arab Social Media Report.

Here’s an overview of the major points:

  1. At the end of the first quarter of 2011, the number of tweets had risen to 155 million a day, up from 55 million a day around the same time last year, with a 41% increase daily in the number of tweets.
  2. The first quarter of 2011 has also shown a 50% increase in monthly unique mobile signups and a 52% increase in Twitter account signups.
  3. Only 30-40 million of the 200 Twitter users are actually “active,” meaning that most information on Twitter is generated by a minority, while the majority use Twitter to consume news as more of a newsfeed than a microblog.
  4. The estimated number of active Twitter users in the Arab region at the end of March 2011 was 1,150,292. Multiplying by the ratio of total users to active users above (an average of 200 million/35 million = 5.7), we get a total Twitter population of 6,567,280.
  5. The estimated number of tweets generated in the Arab region in the first quarter of 2011 (Jan. 1 – March 30) by these “active users” was 22,750,000 tweets. The estimated number of daily tweets is 252,000 tweets per day, or 175 tweets a minute, or roughly three tweets a second.
  6. The estimated number of daily tweets per active user in the Arab region in Q1 of 2011 is 0.81 daily tweets.
  7. The most popular trending hashtags across the Arab region in the first quarter were #egypt (with 1.4 million mentions in the tweets generated during this period) #jan25 (with 1.2. million mentions), #libya (with 990,000 mentions), #bahrain (640,000 mentions), and #protest (620,000)

Number of active twitter users in the MENA region (Average number between Jan. 1 and March 30, 2011)

Twitter users in the MENA

The UAE has a clear lead over the Arab countries with the most active users at just over 200K users, (an active user is defined as someone who has tweeted at least once within two weeks).

Twitter penetration in the MENA (Average between Jan. 1 and March 30, 2011)

twitter penetration in the MENA

When it comes to penetration rates its a different story Qatar and Bahrain have a the highest penetration rates in the region, the countries marked in green are considered top performers these countries also high enjoy high rates of users accessing Twitter from their mobile., the yellow countries are emerging countries and the countries in red are the developing countries meaning there is a lot of room for growth in those countries. Egypt is one of those countries, mainly due to the fact that 51% of the active users in Egypt are from Cairo, 8% from Alexandria and the remaining percentage dispersed throughout the country. Another big factor is that Twitter has still not introduced their Arabic interface which could explain why numbers from Egypt are still low.

Number of Tweets in the MENA region (Jan. 1 – March 30, 2011)

Tweet numbers in the MENA

The country with the most number of tweets from the MENA after Turkey was Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. This was explained at a conference last week by Racha Mourtada who is the research associate at the Dubai school of government being due to the fact that Kuwait has higher maturity when it comes to users communicating on social networks as well a large number of spam or bots. As for Qatar, the reason could be because of the World Cup bid, the Asian cup held in Qatar and they recently hosted the Doha 2011 Twestival.

Volume of tweets in the Arab region

daily tweet volume in the MENA

Over 60% of tweets within the first quarter of 2011 were generated by Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. These countries have the highest Consequently to a certain extent, the size of a country’s active Twitter population correlates with the volume of tweets it generates.

Top Twitter trends in the MENA region Q1-2011 (number of mentions)

Top Twitter Trends in the mena

Clearly the highest issues that were mentioned were related to the protest and civil unrest that spread throughout the region early this year.

These are the major points in the report about Twitter usage in the Arab world, the sources, sample sizes and dates the report used are all cited in the full report.

What do you think of the numbers mentioned in the report? Let us know your thoughts… To view the latest facebook statistics you can check out our earlier post.

Let us know your comments


Having worked with top digital agencies and companies in the MENA region for the past number of years I'm now looking now to venture on my own with small side projects in online, SaaS products. Things I like include: gaming, sports, technology, social media, start ups, funny things and reading about new bright ideas.


  1. Hi Linda, thanks for the comment, well we asked the same question to the DSG (they're the ones who did the study) however they never came back with a clarification.

  2. What population figure are you using for the UAE? The UAE National Bureau of Statistics (April 2011) sets the population at 8.3 million, but the penetration rates seem to indicate you are using a UAE population figure of 5.1 million. Please clarify.

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