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Facebook on the rise in the Middle East and Africa

The region has seen 10 million new Facebook users in 2012, Egypt alone added 2.5 million

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 8, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2c40

Despite having one seventh of the entire world population as its user base, it is a well-known fact that Facebook has a strong desire to break into previously untapped markets, specifically those in the Middle East and Africa, by using mobile.

New data from Socialbakers shows that the social network’s efforts are working in what it calls the "MENA countries," meaning Middle East and North Africa. Since the beginning of this year, Facebook grew 10% in the region, adding over 10 million new users.

Facebook saw it userbase grow 115% in Qatar, 86% in Libya and 81% in Iraq. Egypt has seen 2.5 million new users since January 2012, the highest absolute user growth.

The region, which is seeing 21 new Facebook registrations every minute, is predominantly male, with 65% of users, compared to only 35% female users. 

The types of businesses with biggest Facebook presense in the region is the Media industry, with an average page size of 431 million. E-commerce, Airlines and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are also popular, with an average size of 369 million, 297 million and 213 million, respectively.

The least popular brands on Facebook are beauty, electronics, fashion an alcohol, the last one being kind of obvious given the relgious nature of many people in the region..


Even though the region is growing quickly, Socialbakers questions whether or not the region is living up to its potential, since only three of the industries would qualify as Socially Devoted, by Socialbakers standards.

Socially Devoted is a service that measures the quality of customer service in social media channels. For an industry to be Socially Devoted, it has to respond to over 65% of questions from fans on Facebook pages. 

Only e-commercem airlines, and electronics meet the criteria.

"Overall, it’s clear that Facebook is becoming an inherent part of lives, business and people in MENA countries. Based on statistics that show a high number of social interactions between the top brands and their customers, it is evident that marketers are increasingly becoming aware of Facebook’s role in driving business growth," Socialbakers wrote.

"It is encouraging to see such a positive trend especially in countries outside of the world’s largest economies. It proves that marketers in this region already acknowledge the benefits that high quality relationships can have on customers in social media."

Facebook's global stategy

Facebook has been attempting to break into uncharted territories by using its newfound status as a mobile first company.

In September, Facebook teamed up with Myriad Group, which develops services for feature phones. Facebook wants to open up in new markets, and it is going to use its mobile service to do it.

Myriad was chosen by Celcom in Malaysia, Indosat in Indonesia and Mobilyin Saudia Arabia to bring social mobile messaging services to 70 million users through its text-based Myriad Updates service. By partnering with Myriad, it would bring Facebook to millions of new users in these previously untapped markets.

Facebook said that it will be updating its Messenger for Android app, now letting non-Facebook users to sign up for the service.

The app, which was only be available for those with a Facebook account, will now be open to anyone who wants it. The roll out for the new feature will begin in five countries, India, Australia, Indonesia, Venezuela and South Africa, before it reaches the rest of the world.

Why these countries? Because of their low adoption rates, and their high potential, especially in India and Indonesia.

Data from SocialBakers shows that India ranks as the number 3 country in terms of number of users, but the social network only has a 5.24% penetration rate in the country. Indonesia is also high on the list of users at number 4, but the penetration rate is once again low, at 20.92%. The large number of existing users, combined with the huge potential for growth, makes these two countries perfect candidates to roll out the new feature.

See Socialbakers full infographic regarding Facebook in NEMA countries below:

(Image source: http://www.devicegadget.com)


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