Qatar is leading the way in social media regionally according to statistics shared at the Digital Doha Summit hosted by Forum One Agency that focused on communications strategy and online trends. According to Nam-ho Park, Regional Director at Forum One and Director of Mobile Services, businesses and organizations in Qatar need to take a three pronged approach to their communications strategy these days to include mobile, social media and website. Park says that social media must be central to any communications planning along with relevant and optimized website content and mobile optimization.
When considering responsive design and user experience it is important to take note of the rise in the mobile penetration. In Qatar there is over 140% mobile penetration and Qatar also has one of the highest rates worldwide for smartphone usage at 75 percent according to the very latest findings. Within the MENA region there has been a 200% rise in mobile search queries this past year using a smartphone.
A startling mobile fact emerged at ictQATAR’s Everything Mobile event earlier this year, that most people look at their mobile phones on average 150 times per day. These statistics are extraordinary and demonstrate the importance of configuring mobile when instigating any communications strategy.
QATAR RANKED #1 FOR FACEBOOK PENETRATION
Rami Al-Karmi, CEO of N2Vlabs shared some enlightening statistics on social media in the region which illustrated that Qatar has one of the highest Facebook and Twitter penetration levels in MENA. He said, “Qatar has 65.5% Facebook penetration, it is ranked number one in Arabia for Facebook penetration and the fifth worldwide in terms of Facebook penetration, you must check out the opportunity here in Qatar with social media and Facebook.”
Qatar also has the highest penetration rate in the Middle East on Twitter, although Saudi Arabia found a 240% increase in Twitter penetration during 2010 to 2011. Altogether there are 6.5 million Twitter users in Arabia with 155 million tweets posted daily in the Arab region. Statistics from Discover Digital Arabia show that in the Gulf States, Facebook has a 96% penetration rate among Internet users and YouTube usage is slightly higher here in the Gulf than in other parts of the Middle East with 71% penetration and there is an astonishing 100 million YouTube videos viewed daily in Arabia.
OUR MAJOR INTERNET CONSUMPTION IS SOCIAL MEDIA
Interestingly, within the region the most prominent users of Facebook by age group are the 22 to 28 year olds, so according to Al-Karmi, if this is your target audience you are missing a huge opportunity if you are not connecting with them on Facebook. Fifty percent of the 18 to 28 year old age group are using Facebook regularly in the Mena region. And of those who engage in social media within the Mena region, 88% do so on a daily basis, therefore social media is clearly where our major Internet consumption lies.
Also speaking at the Digital Doha Event was ictQATAR’s Executive Director of Communications, Brian Wesolowski who spoke about the importance of open source software and David Banes, CEO of Mada, Qatar Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center who highlighted the importance of building accessibility into your website. For more information about the forum go to www.digitaldoha.com.