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How People in the Middle East Actually Use Social Media

[dropcap style=”2″ color=”#f50a0a” text=”S”] ince the suicide of an underfoot fruit vendor in Tunisia, the Arab world has generated some…

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ince the suicide of an underfoot fruit vendor in Tunisia, the Arab world has generated some of the world’s most-followed stories. History will find the news coming out of Arab countries during this time both gripping and plentiful. Less is known, however, of the news and information reaching Arab countries and communities during this period, and at times much has been speculated of, say, Twitter reliance in Tunisia, satellite TV dependence in Egypt, or tablet use in the highly connected Arab Gulf.

To more rigorously study how people in the Arab world access news and information, rate the credibility of information sources, and use social media, Northwestern University in Qatar commissioned a survey among people in eight Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE.

[blockquote style=”” align=”left” author=””]Facebook is big, LinkedIn not so much.[/blockquote]

People love to lament the quality of journalism, but most respondents in the survey believe things have been changing for the better. Respondents in the Northwestern survey, for example, were asked whether the quality of news reporting in the Arab world had improved over the previous two years, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Participants are far more likely to agree than disagree that reporting has improved, by ratios of more than 19 to 1 in Jordan and 21 to 1 in Saudi Arabia.

How People in the Middle East Actually Use Social Media

Tunisia and Egypt, which overthrew censorial regimes in 2011, are nonetheless far less impressed. Lebanon, home to one of the freest press systems in the Arab world, was also less moved by journalists’ record over the past two years.

Television remains the most important source of news and information in all countries, except Bahrain and Qatar. Qatar has at least 2.3 million cell phones in a country of around 2 million people, according to the CIA World Factbook, which may help explain the country inching away from television. Incidentally, Qatar also reported the highest level of tablet ownership, 34 percent, of any country surveyed. Internet reliance is lowest in Egypt, which is consistent with past research on both Internet penetration and illiteracy in that country.

Tunisia and Egypt, which overthrew censorial regimes in 2011, are nonetheless far less impressed. Lebanon, home to one of the freest press systems in the Arab world, was also less moved by journalists' record over the past two years.  Television remains the most important source of news and information in all countries, except Bahrain and Qatar. Qatar has at least 2.3 million cell phones in a country of around 2 million people, according to the CIA World Factbook, which may help explain the country inching away from television. Incidentally, Qatar also reported the highest level of tablet ownership, 34 percent, of any country surveyed. Internet reliance is lowest in Egypt, which is consistent with past research on both Internet penetration and illiteracy in that country.

While respondents across the Arab world are pleased with journalistic progress in their region over the past two years, they demur somewhat when asked to rate the reliability of news they receive from TV, in newspapers, online and on radio.

reliability

Among respondents from the revolution-emergent countries, Egypt and Tunisia, the outlook is bleak for all media but television (which still comes out bruised). Qataris, Bahrainis and Lebanese are slightly more confident in TV, newspapers, and the Internet. Respondents in the UAE, host to a broad range of regional outlets and western enterprises, such as CNBC, BBC, Rolling Stone, Google, and Forbes, find all media sources reliable. Local newspapers in the UAE tend to receive high reliability ratings; papers in the country are all government-owned, and respondents still rate broadsheets favorably.

Asked more generally whether media in their countries are credible, majorities in five countries–Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Bahrain–affirmed

The notion that the influence of social media in Arab political change has been overstated during the Arab uprisings has itself been repeated so often it’s nearly cliché. Nevertheless, social media are forceful channels in Arab countries.

Participants in the Northwestern survey spend an average of 3.2 hours a day on social networks. Tunisian and Bahraini Internet users are the most voracious social networkers, each devoting 4.1 hours daily. (Bahrain, it should be said, had the highest overall media consumption; more respondents in Bahrain read books, newspapers, magazines, and listen to radio than any other Arab country surveyed).

More than 90 percent of Internet users in all countries use social networking sites, except Qatar and Egypt, at 74 and 86 percent, respectively. Qatar’s relative coolness toward social media is perhaps surprising, as the country was second in general Internet use only to the UAE, and has the largest percentage (79) of wireless handheld users.

Qatar, though, has the smallest national population by far of any country surveyed–less than half the size of the next largest country by citizenry, Bahrain. Qatari nationals in the survey listed interpersonal contacts–friends, family, colleagues–as more important sources of news and current events than the Internet. Region-wide, interpersonal contact was second only to television as a source of news and current events.

socialnetworks-Arab-middleeast

Facebook is by far the most popular social network in Arab countries surveyed, with 94 percent of social network users active on the network. More than half of social network users in the sample are active on Twitter, 46 percent employ Google+, and around one in seven use Instagram. Just 6 percent of social networkers use LinkedIn–intuitive perhaps, given professional introductions are still often fueled by tea and handshakes in Arab countries.

Attitudes toward freedom of speech online are mixed, with the overall majority of participants clearly favoring online freedom of expression.

 Saudi Arabia, a Wahabbist-leaning country, voiced support for free speech online

When the data are examined by nation, majorities in seven countries believe people should be able to express their opinions online, even if those views are potentially incendiary, and a hefty plurality of Egyptians also agreed. Three-fourths of participants in Saudi Arabia, a Wahabbist-leaning country, voiced support for free speech online.

Asked whether their countries should more tightly regulate the Internet, however, participants showed less libertarian sentiment. Majorities or pluralities in every Arab country surveyed support greater control of the web, even more so, oddly, in countries most supportive of online freedom of speech. Survey participants seem to be saying, then, that while it’s okay for webizens to say what they wish, there’s considerable support for government surveillance of the Internet in respondents’ own countries and communities.

Northwestern University in Qatar’s survey of Arab media use didn’t include a few of the most politically and militarily charged countries in the region, such as Syria, Libya, and Palestine.

Nonetheless, the survey represents one of the most comprehensive multi-country studies of media use in the Arab world available in the public domain. And though Arab media habits examined in the survey are only narrowly reported here, those wishing to drill further down into the data can summon, say, figures on women blogging in Lebanon, Twitter use in Egypt versus Tunisia, or the most popular TV news channels in Saudi Arabia on a site available to the public.

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Dubai Police issued a LIVE fine on driver’s instagram video

Using mobile phones while driving is a traffic violation. Whether you are making calls, texting, or using any apps, including…

Using mobile phones while driving is a traffic violation. Whether you are making calls, texting, or using any apps, including posting on social media.

You can be caught by sophisticated cameras. But now, a new way of being found out has emerged. Dubai Police have spotted people live on Instagram stories while they are driving, and jumped into the live chat to let the people know that they will be faced with a fine!

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazrouei, Director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police, has confirmed the truth of the incident in pictures posted on social media sites regarding a fine issued to a person who was using his Snapchat while driving his vehicle on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The driver was talking with others when he suddenly received a message from Dubai Police on his Instagram that a traffic fine was issued to him for using a mobile phone while driving. Dubai Police issued a LIVE fine on this driver’s Instagram video while he is driving.

Dubai Police Issued a LIVE fine on this driver's instagram video while he is driving.
Dubai Police Issued a LIVE fine on this driver’s instagram video while he is driving.

But it wasn’t just the police, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum also engaged to notify and a traffic violation was being committed.

But it wasn't just the police, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum also engaged to notify and a traffic violation was being committed

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, director of Traffic Department in Dubai Police, told Gulf News that the Arabic driver was on Shaikh Zayed Road on Friday, and went live on his Instagram account while driving.

Other road users noticed him recording live on the road and called 901 to inform Dubai police.

“We received some calls about a man driving on Shaikh Zayed road on Monday afternoon while recording on Instagram. We checked his account and saw the live video and register a traffic offence,” Brigadier Al Mazroui said.

The driver who was broadcasting live on Instagram while driving, was fined by Dubai Police for being distracted while driving. The driver was fined Dh800 and four black points for being distracted while driving.

“Drivers can’t being distracted by their phones when driving on highways. We want people to be aware of such mistakes by drivers on our roads. Anyone can call Dubai Police to alert about any traffic mistakes done by other drivers and we check before issuing traffic fine,” Brigadier Al Mazroui added.

Earlier, Dubai Traffic received calls from several people on 901 that a person was Snapchatting pictures on a public road. One of them gave the police the Snapchatter’s Instagram Live account through which the police discovered that the incident was true.

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Digital marketing

Ahmed Mekky would make new YouTube records for Middle East

Back in 2015, Moroccan Singer Saad Lamjarred’s ‘Lma3allem’ made its way to hit over 31 million views in one month. This…

Back in 2015, Moroccan Singer Saad Lamjarred’s ‘Lma3allem’ made its way to hit over 31 million views in one month. This was considered an all-time record for an Arabic music video on YouTube in such a short time

The Egyptian-Algerian actor, Ahmad Mekky just released his latest hit “Wa’fet Nasyt Zaman” entitled (Standing on the Corner of My Old Street) has accumulated plenty of feats over the last few hrs and is showing no signs of stopping.

It isn’t that YouTube video is dead. In fact, it’s still very much alive. It’s about changing the tactics and its obvious that Mekky decided to monazite the exclusive video via YouTube.

Ahmed Mekky directed his 855,053 Facebook fans to watch the video on his YouTube channel without considering publishing even a parallel teaser video on Facebook to accumulate all the predicted viewership on one sole digital channel.

The song “Wa’fet Nasyet Zaman” cinematography main theme is very authentic and it represents the true precious culture of the Egyptian street. The song story is all about reviving the good morals of the past while being nostalgic for beautiful past memories with friends and neighbours as well as the old values and ethics.

 

Iconic digital metrics made by Mekky:

YouTube Insights:

  • In less than 10 hrs, Mekky’s latest hit “Wa’fet Nasyt Zaman” made its way to be #1 trending video on YouTube over Egypt.
  • The new exclusive video needed just 12hrs to hit 1M views on YouTube to be one of the fastest videos from Middle East to reach 1 million views.
  • The YouTube video achieved 1,524,281 views in 24hrs exactly.

Facebook Insights:

  • Since the teaser post, Mekky’s Facebook page achieved 42K+ Average Engagement/post.
  • The 6 posts concerning the video release attracted 254K+ Engaged users in 48hrs time span.

 

Social Media Reaction:

The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell. Did you notice that the video is already directed by Mekky?

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Featured Stories, Inspiration, Marketing, Strategies

Step into 2018 with a plan; 10 easy ways to improve your content marketing strategy

The year is coming to an end, the cold is starting to seep in and the streets are getting closed…

The year is coming to an end, the cold is starting to seep in and the streets are getting closed from the winter weather. As we prepare to move forward to a new year, we’d like to help you out with a few ideas.

We’re all looking for to reach out KPIs and goals through out the year. We try this and that to improve our content, to improve our rates and etc.

So, to help you out, here are some content marketing tips and ways to improve your content for the brand-new year!

 

1- Have the Looks and the Feels

2017 was the year in which marketers scrambled to push visual content.

It was a year where we saw many companies move from text or simply images to well-polished designs and posts.

If 2017 was the year of the visual, 2018 moves it into another level.

A new tactic that is bringing its way to the social market are Tactile photos.

Create and distribute images that not only touches the visual senses, but the other senses as well. Create images and content that make us hear, remember the touch and sensation of an object, or let us feel the wind in our hair.

 

2- Lend a helping hand

For those new into Content Marketing, or may need a small reminder, Content Marketing is all about providing your audience with information and content they are searching for.

Sometimes, without them even knowing they wanted it in the first place.

Millennials and Gen Z (Millennials’ children) are skeptical about marketers. The main ways to get around their expectations?

Give them content they are searching for, or better yet, align yourself with a cause they can get behind.

 

3- Talk about the pain, and let them know you’re here for them

Content themes save you a lot of trouble.

They save time, effort, and brainstorming whenever you have a content plan to fill, or new content to create.

Many of us have our themes on backwards apparently. Raise your finger, so no one else sees, if you’re themes are centered about marketing your product/service and its many benefits.

Let us say, we saw you, and we’re here to let you know you’re not alone.

For 2018, let’s take a step back and truly look at our consumers.

What are their issues? Their problems? What can we do to help? Sure, we ask these questions when creating the product or service, but now we have to think about it during our content process.

Directly talk to your consumer next year. Tell them you understand and you’re here to help.

 

4- Augment and change the world

Augmented Reality (AR) has definitely made an impact this year, even stronger than its top contender Virtual Reality.

Both Facebook and Google released AR services or products this year at their respective annual developer conference. Not to mention that Snapchat’s success came from their innovative use of AR.

Take a look at IKEA’s successful IKEA Place app, which uses AR technology to help users see how the brand’s furniture will look at home.

From either simple AR photo-frames to crazy face-changing AR filters on FB or Snapchat, Augmented Reality is popular and here to stay. Not only that, it’s cheaper than making stickers to hang out the city, and cheaper than an extensive paid campaign on social.

 

5- Get Personal. Really. Please do.

Although we marketers may say that brands need to become more grounded, more in-touch with consumers, many actions may not be heading in that direction.

This year, a lot of platforms are coming to our aid.

With Facebook Live really starting to show off its power, to Instagram’s stories, getting personal with consumers are getting easier and easier.

Creating dynamic content, content that makes the brand “alive,” gets easier with these new tools. Tools also include the new Live Photo feature by Facebook, and FB stories.

While recorded and pre-prepared videos are still a great way to promote your brand, personal live-videos are an even better way to connect with people.

Behind the scene videos, behind the curtain, or even the people behind the brand, are all dynamic video content-types that you could use to get in-touch with your audience.

People want to purchase from brands they care about, so let them know you so they can.

 

6- Or don’t get personal, get others to influence them instead

While influencer marketing in Egypt is still a growing field, there are many other ways to spread content around the web.

Creating content strategies that include using 3rd party websites and influencers is still going strong.

In 2018, we are going to see an even larger growth rate, especially as more and more content websites and social pages pop up and grow in credibility.

Don’t be afraid to have other people review, video, test, and write about your products/services. If you’re confident in its quality, then this should be a no-brainer.

 

7- Updating Communication

Communication channels keep growing with each new step and technology we create. A new channel that not many leveraged this year is through online messengers.

Facebook’s Messenger’s chatbots, as well as AI website messaging, are making a strong case this year, and they’re here to stay.

Content marketing with Messenger’s chatbots is easy to do. Simple tap on the Discovery tab for inspiration, from restaurants to online stores, there is a wide variety of uses.

Website AI messaging can help aim customers through your website as they go through their buyer journey. A cleverly written script and direct questions can lead your customer from browsing to buying, answering all (or as many as possible) of their questions on the way.

 

8- Break it Down

One of the main ways to fill out a content calendar?

Update, reuse, break down.

Update, reuse, and break down large and deep content into separate content pieces.

If you want to go into 2018, you have got to have a plan. If you don’t have enough content, then plan ahead by breaking down already existing content.

A Press release or informatic video can be broken down into multiple pieces of content. Videos can be broken down into articles or multiple image posts, and etc.

Why spend more when you can do more with less?

 

9- Stop closing the box and be open to the long-term

Although Content Marketing has become one of the top buzz words in our community, as well as quickly becoming one of the industry’s top strategies, we are still treating it as if it is advertising.

It’s not.

Most companies still push content in the same way as an advertising campaign, locking themselves in a box without more opportunities. Create short term content, such as a 6-episode video series, market it through the usual channels, and then when it finishes we stop.

What should be happening is a complete switch. Content marketing may be cheap, almost to the point of free, but it is something that takes long-term planning to truly appreciate it.

Plan at least 6 months ahead to truly capture your target audience. Get your content rolling, and keep it rolling! Show 2018 that you have your content down, with only a little bit of planning, and a lot of faith and data.

 

10- Let’s get on it!

There you have it, easy ways to improve your content without a lot of work.

The new year is right around the corner. What are you doing to prepare?

 

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Digital marketing, Featured Stories

YouTube Rewind 2017 reveals most popular and top trending videos of the year

With 2017 ticking away, YouTube has posted its annual Rewind mashup for the year to recap the top videos, music,…

With 2017 ticking away, YouTube has posted its annual Rewind mashup for the year to recap the top videos, music, events, and more. This video features many hit moments and contains the largest amount of talent of any Rewind.

The annual YouTube Rewind video gives people an insight into what the world has been loving that year. YouTube also listed 2017’s top trending videos based on time spent watching, sharing, commenting, liking, and other factors. These top 10 videos have received 630 million views and have collectively been watched over 40 million hours.

The seven-minute long video immerses you in the culture of 2017. Finally, YouTube revealed its YouTube Rewind 2017 video, “The Shape of 2017,” which features almost 300 YouTube creators, musicians, celebrities and more.

YouTube ranked the top trending videos and music videos for 2017. “The Shape of 2017” features “nearly 300 creators, viral stars, musicians, and surprise guests” from over 20 countries. That full list is available here.

Here are the top 10 trending videos:

  1. Until we will become dust – Oyster Mask | THE MASK SINGER 2
  2. ED SHEERAN – Shape Of You | Kyle Hanagami Choreography
  3. Ping Pong Trick Shots 3 | Dude Perfect
  4. Darci Lynne: 12-Year-Old Singing Ventriloquist Gets Golden Buzzer – America’s Got Talent 2017
  5. Ed Sheeran Carpool Karaoke
  6. Lady Gaga’s FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL
  7. “INAUGURATION DAY” — A Bad Lip Reading of Donald Trump’s Inauguration
  8. history of the entire world, i guess
  9. In a Heartbeat – Animated Short Film
  10. Children interrupt BBC News interview – BBC News

Meanwhile, the top 10 music videos for 2017 were:

  1. Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee
  2. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You [Official Video]
  3. J Balvin, Willy William – Mi Gente (Official Video)
  4. Maluma – Felices los 4 (Official Video)
  5. Bruno Mars – That’s What I Like [Official Video]
  6. Chris Jeday – Ahora Dice (Official Video) ft. J. Balvin, Ozuna, Arcángel
  7. 05. El Amante – Nicky Jam (Video Oficial) (Álbum Fénix)
  8. Jason Derulo – Swalla (feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign) (Official Music Video)
  9. DJ Khaled – I’m the One ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne
  10. Enrique Iglesias – SUBEME LA RADIO (Official Video) ft. Descemer Bueno, Zion & Lennox

 

YouTube has a trivia game to test your knowledge on the year’s most popular videos. There is also a behind-the-scenes clip on the making of this year’s Rewind.

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