Brands are mining social media to engage the Saudi market

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Time : August 07, 2018

Saudi men explore social media on their mobile devices as they sit at a cafe in Riyadh. (AN file photo)

LONDON: Companies using social media to engage with Saudi consumers are calling on the services of monitoring platforms to tap into their target markets.

Saudi Arabia is more active on social media than any other country in the Middle East and brands harnessing Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms are investing in data that offers a deeper insight into the forces that drive Saudi spending.

According to Dubai-based social media monitoring start-up Crowd Analyzer, Saudis are especially active on Twitter and Snapchat and the country has around 16 million and 12 million users on Facebook and Instagram respectively.

The company, which has gathered real-time information from conversations surrounding major events including the World Government Summit, Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions, recently secured pre-Series A funding of $1.1 million from a group of venture capital firms, including Wamda Capital, Arzan Capital, Faith Capital, and Raed VC.

Brands realize the huge potential of accessing the lucrative Saudi market via social media and are looking to increase their understanding of the Saudi consumer, Crowd Analyzer CE0 Ahmed Saad told Arab News.

The company, which specializes in Arabic-focused social media monitoring, analyzing content using groundbreaking technology including AI, proprietary machine learning and natural language processing, has clients in about 10 countries but Saudi Arabia is its largest market.

“Our use of AI and machine learning enables us to better monitor social media and mine data, providing brands and organizations with the most up-to-date and relevant insights,” Bahaa Galal, CTO and co-founder of Crowd Analyzer, told Wamda.

The investment will be channeled into increasing its presence in the Saudi market and opening new offices in Riyadh to connect with clients on the ground there.

Saad, who co-founded the company with Galal in 2014, said that brands and people are increasingly connected over social media in the Kingdom.

Social media culture is “booming” in Saudi Arabia, he added, explaining that more and more companies now liaise directly with consumers over social media platforms.

“It’s all about understanding people’s opinions about the product and the brands themselves,” Saad added.

One Crowd Analyzer client — a major ride-hailing company — uses the platform to gain a sense of how users are talking about the service in different countries across the region, focusing in particular on what people say about their pricing, the technology behind the service and the quality of the service itself.

As a result, brands are increasingly taking their social media campaigns in-house rather than sourcing the process out to agencies, Saad said. “This is amazing for us because it opens up a bigger market,” he added.

The company only uses publicly available data and its technology does not access information sent over private messenger. In general, he said, when people in the Kingdom voice their opinions about a brand, service or events over Twitter or Facebook, they want audiences to listen. “Saudis like being heard on social media,” he said.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

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