Twitter Inc launched advertising services in the Middle East and North Africa on Sunday as the social media firm seeks to exploit a tripling of its regional subscriber base. Twitter will work in partnership with Connect Ads in MENA to keep companies and brands on the pulse of their consumers through Twitter’s suite of advertising and sales products. The new partnership was announced at a press conference held in Dubai.
Connect Ads is an Egyptian owned company. The advertisements will initially be launched in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Already, Pepsi and Saudi telecom operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) are signed up as clients.
Twitter seeks to monetize recent tripling of its regional subscriber base following its use during the Arab Spring protests in North Africa.
Twitter does not provide a regional breakdown of its more than 200 million users worldwide, but it claims MENA subscriber base had tripled in the past 12 months. One of the main factors for this is that the micro-blogging site offers Arabic speakers the opportunity to tweet in their own language. This has led to very high profile users including rulers, high government officials, sportsmen, poets, writers, academics and celebrities to sign up for the service in recent years.
Digital advertising, data measurement and analytics are still relatively undeveloped segments of the media industry in the region, although a big hope for many web companies with industry insiders betting on young, tech-savvy population and rising Internet penetration to propel the industry.
Digital advertising is relatively undeveloped in the region, accounting for an estimated 4 percent of its total advertising spending, but a young, tech-savvy population and rising Internet penetration points to significant potential for growth.
Mohamed El Mehairy, managing director of Connect Ads, said: “Brands from a very wide range of industries and sectors in the region can now use Twitter to share and interact with their client base and the public, steer conversations and strengthen their message on Twitter. Twitter is about everything that is buzz-worthy, and companies recognize that they have with Twitter a strong marketing platform that can help create positive sentiment around the brand, support them in reaching a new audience and strengthen brand loyalty.”
Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president of international operations said: “We are excited to launch Twitter’s Promoted Products in the Arab region, one of Twitter’s fastest-growing regions, and where we continue to see users coming to Twitter to get closer to things they care about. Twitter has selected Connect Ads as our official partner in the Arab region, where they will be an extension of Twitter’s own sales team. This partnership is in line with our strategy which is now focused on building out our international presence.”
Twitter says the products it promotes typically have an audience response rate of 1 to 3 percent, significantly higher than traditional advertising rate of 0.1 to 0.5 percent.
Mohamed El Mehairy concluded b saying “Twitter is one of the most dynamic and engaging marketing platforms available on the Internet today. In this era of digital communications, it is imperative for brands to adopt all methods available in the digital arsenal to receive maximum visibility and build a positive brand image. We believe Twitter’s suite of advertising products will help brands grow wider and faster across the region.”