Carrington Malin

15 Million MENA Facebook Users – Report

Scroll down the page for survey download links (and Egypt update)

Summary

Facebook has become a force to be reckoned with in the Middle East and North Africa and the platform can now claim 15 million users as of May 2010. Whilst Facebook saw strong early growth in 2008/2009 from English and French speaking users across the region, Facebook’s decision to add an Arabic interface in March 2009 has opened up access to a whole new demographic of Internet users and added 3.5 million Arabic users over the past year. Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s Facebook communities have seen the strongest growth among Arabic users during the past year with each adding 1.1 million Arabic language interface users. We soon expect the number of Arabic language Facebook users in Saudi to surpass the number of English users.

However, with the strong expectation that the weight of numbers will move from English language users to Arabic language users in a number of key MENA Facebook markets, today’s reality is that just 23% of users across the region use Facebook’s Arabic interface. So, those seeking to make the most of the Facebook platform are advised to keep up-to-date with its changing demographics.

Here are some of the key Facebook statistics covered in this report:

There are now 15 million Facebook users in the Middle East & North Africa (this figure excludes Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Turkey).

Top MENA Facebook Communities

MENA’s top five Facebook country markets, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, account for 70% of all users in the region.

50% of MENA Facebook users have selected their primary language for using Facebook as English, with 25% preferring French and just 23% Arabic.

Only 37% of Facebook users in MENA are female (compared with 56% in the USA and 52% in the UK). Only Bahrain and Lebanon Facebook communities approach gender equality with female users accounting for about 44% of total users.

The GCC has five million Facebook users, which Saudi Arabia and the UAE representing 45% and 31% of that total respectively.

North Africa has 7.7 million Facebook users, with Egypt accounting for 3.4 million users (or 44% of all North Africa users). Egypt has the largest Facebook community in MENA.

Francophone countries Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia together account for 3.7 million French speaking Facebook users, equivalent to nearly 25% of all MENA users.

MENA Facebook Users Under The Age of 25 (By Country)

Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen all have Facebook communities with more than 50% of users below the age of 25 years old.

The UAE has the oldest Facebook community in MENA with 41% of users being over 30 years old, 28% being 25-29 years old and 31% being under 25 years old.

You can find Spot On PR on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/spotonpr

Note: update on Egypt demographics now available. Click on the link below.

Egypt Facebook Demographics Update (January 2011)

Survey Downloads

Middle East & North Africa Facebook Demographics (May 2010)

Facebook beats newspapers in MENA (Press Release, English)

Facebook beats newspapers in MENA (Press Release, Arabic)

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Creative Commons

Middle East & North Africa Facebook Demographics by Spot On Public Relations is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Want to read more?

If you liked reading this post about Facebook statistics, you might also like:

Twitter & Customer Service Survey (March 2010)

Spot On PR’s MENA Twitter Demographics & User Habits Survey (2009)

Carrington Malin

About Carrington Malin

Carrington Malin is co-founder and managing director of Spot On PR and has been managing sales, marketing, media and communications campaigns across the Middle East for more than 20 years. He likes technology, surfing and chicken liver salad. You can contact Carrington via Twitter at @carringtonmalin or via email at carringtonm(at)spotonpr(dot)com
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3 Responses to 15 Million MENA Facebook Users – Report

  1. Mohamad Takriti says:

    I am amazed by how the report goes out of its way to avoid using the term “Arab World”, and uses a 9-word alternative, “Middle East & North Africa excluding Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Turkey”. Is “Arab World” so objectionable??

  2. Thanks for the comment Mohamad. Interesting point. We felt the best short description was ‘MENA’ for this report, although we agree there is a strong case for ‘Arab world’.

    The Arab world is often taken as the League of Arab States, which also include Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan (not covered in this report), plus Syria, which Facebook provides no data for as a country. Also, as a matter of fact, there are many citizens of North African countries that don’t consider themselves as Arab at all. So, there is an argument that says that the only recognised definition of the Arab world should be the Arab League.

    As you noted, we had to be explicit about what countries were included in MENA, since some research reports have included Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Turkey in the Middle East for such reports and this has led to misleading figures being quoted in business and in the media. So, we’ve gone with a particular definition of Middle East & North Africa, mostly in an attempt to be clear about the area covered.

  3. Mohamad Takriti says:

    Thanks Carrington for your prompt response. However, I take issue with your justification and it confirms some of my fears.

    First of all, you could as well have used the Arab World term and excluded some countries, just as you with the MENA term. Noting that the only common thing between the countries surveyed is the Arabic language, not the continent nor the economic standing etc.

    Second and most important, you say “there are many citizens of North African countries that don’t consider themselves as Arab at all” and I just don’t believe you say that! So if “some” people in the EU don’t consider themselves Europeans, would you work on finding another name for the region? And did you ask yourself how many of us in the covered region don’t accept being called MENA people?

    I am sorry but this is just skewed reasoning and we are not clear about its motives!

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