July 9, 2011
July 9, 2011
Use of the Arabic Facebook interface has skyrocketed to reach 10 million users. It’s expected that within a year Arabic will overtake English to become the most popular Facebook language in the region, according to Jerusalem Post, one of Israel’s best-selling English Daily.
Spot On Public Relations, a Middle Eastern publicity agency, specializing in social media, conducted a study which revealed that Arabic Facebook has grown about 175% a year, double the overall rate of the mushrooming use of Facebook worldwide. In some countries, like Algeria, it grew a whopping 423% annually. According to this research, 56% of Facebook users in Egypt (3.8 million) opt for the Arabic language version. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, 41% use Arabic and in Saudi Arabia 61% use it. On the other hand, Morocco has 17% recorded Arabic users and at the bottom of the list is the United Arab Emirates, with its big expatriate population, showing only10% Arabic Facebook users.
“What’s fascinating for us is not Facebook’s overall growth in the Middle East, but its growth in Arabic. Today, twice as many people in the Middle East are logged on to Facebook than buying a newspaper. If you want to get the reach across the region to people, if you are promoting products or services then you have to advertise in 274 newspapers to reach the Middle East and North Africa or you can use just one platform. And the daddy of the all in the region right now is of course Facebook”, says Alexander McNabb, director of Spot On PR.
Until recently, marketers in Arab were under an impression that the region’s Facebook users were English-speaking Arabs or expatriates, who used Facebook in English and represented a fairly elite group of on-line consumers. It has become apparent that this is far from being true.We can expect Arabic to become the most popular Facebook language in the region within a year, the study says.
Social media played a crucial role, helping people organize protests, during the Arab Spring. It has woken up people to the fact that social media is not just a fad, but something that has a more serious role to play in our lives.
Picture credit: bbc.co.uk