Media consumption & habits of MENA Internet users

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The figures in our new Media Consumption & Habits of MENA Internet Users Survey simply confirm what everyone involved in the Middle East’s growing digital marketing industry has already been talking about for the past year or two: Internet connectivity has become pervasive amongst many of our key target audiences and is now a significant part of their daily lives. The new research survey conducted by Effective Measure in conjunction with Spot On PR, underscores that the Internet opportunity is not just something that exists in the USA or Europe, its right here in the MENA region too. It’s not just a rich thing. It’s not just a youth thing. (And its not just a Facebook thing either). The Internet’s reach is now much broader than that and its influence in the Middle East and North Africa is now truly rivalling its traditional media counterparts and providing marketers with real (and highly measureable) alternatives.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:

MENA Internet users now spend more time browsing the Internet than they do watching TV.

MENA Internet users daily access of Internet exceeds TV

88% of those surveyed stated that they access the Internet daily

71% of those surveyed stated that they watched television daily.

Most traditional media have peaks and troughs in attention. Radio and newspapers achieve peak share of audience in the morning. Television audiences peak in the evening. However, the Internet holds audience attention fairly consistently throughout the day and well into the night.

28% more respondents watched TV during peak viewing hours than when viewership is at its lowest, at 7%),

20% of respondents stated that they use the Internet at any time-period surveyed, peaking at 33% in the evening (just 13% higher than the lowest period).

Predictably, 73% of the survey’s respondents cited email as the activity they most often carried out online, ranking abover all other online activities.

Social networking and search activities followed as the next highest ranking online activities for MENA Internet users, all coming it at about 40%.

54% of Internet users surveyed used mobile applications daily.

79% of Internet users surveyed spent up to three hours per day updating their social networks. 20% spent more than three hours updating their social networks.

Internet users were more positive to companies and brands using “Internet marketing” than they were towards companies and brands using “social media marketing”.

Most responses to our survey showed little variance between male and female respondents. However, there were a number of notable differences between the genders in their stated experiences with social media.

Survey Downloads

Download the full survey report (PDF)

Download the press release (English, Word doc)

Download the press release (Arabic, Word doc)

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Creative Commons

Media consumption & habits of MENA Internet users by Effective Measure and 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 MENA Internet users, you might like our other Internet demographics and habits surveys:

15 Million MENA Facebook Users – Report (May 2010)

Twitter & Customer Service Survey (March 2010)

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

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Carrington Malin

About the Author ()

Carrington Malin is co-founder of Spot On 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 his website

Comments (12)

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  1. M says:

    You really need to spread this. I being part of the online-only media, you have no idea how poorly I get treated for not having a print publication, even thought we have a huge audience. Some of the biggest companies here assume only penniless kids use the internet.

    • Thanks for the comment. We feel your pain! Everyone has faced similar resistance to online marketing, but we believe that this is really starting to change now. Lack of data available on online demographics and habits has been a big part of the problem, hence our focus on getting facts and figures out in the public domain.

      50% of our survey is under 25 years of age, however that does also mean that 50% is over 25. You’ll also find some interesting stats on age of users in our Facebook report (May 2010), where we found that 69% of Facebook users in the UAE were over 25: that’s 1.1 million users. Please also check out Effective Measure’s services, which help website publishers demonstrate their demographics to advertisers in real time.

  2. Loai Taha says:

    Carrington, Thanks a bunch for your efforts of sharing such stats. As M stated before, it’s really hard to find MENA online stats publicly or through the web.

    Here in LG Levant we are searching and analyzing the available online opportunities in order to strengthen our online presence. But so far, we see Facebook as the dominant social media tool in the region and we are considering it as the first step toward evolving our online existence. I would appreciate any suggestions or tips if possible. Thanks again

    • Thanks for the comment Loai! Difficult to offer specific advice here, but you can’t really go wrong focusing on Google Search, Facebook and YouTube. However, you should also look at key influencers for your target audiences and you’ll find other sites / platforms that will help you get your fans talking about you.

  3. Loai Taha says:

    Appreciates your response Carrington. Sure thing we’ll be looking into other sites and/or platforms. Thanks

  4. Brendon says:

    Hi guys, just so you know Effective Measure does measure the majority of commercial sites in the Middle East, if you represent an agency we are able to provide our service for free.

    Our tool goes beyond just traffic we include deep demographic insight per website.

    Please reach out to me if you are interested.


  5. Hisham Faouri says:

    Carrington…. great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    Loai…. see you Sunday! 🙂

    Brendon…. no one denies what you guys are doing.

    We just hope everyone keep their focus on the middle east as Levant and GCC. Otherwise, they should call it GCC data.

  6. John Antonios says:

    I would like to congratulate Effective Measure and SPOT ON PR on their great work! It is truly inspiring to see such great information being shared for free! this clearly reflects the professionalism of the companies behind it!
    thank you very much for the continuous valuable insight you guys provide!

    • Thanks John! We’re happy to share research and insights like this. We hope that the more information that is made public about Internet in our region, the more organisations are going to invest in online marketing. And that’s good for us all.

  7. Siaf says:

    I have deep dived in search engines a lot to get some information about the Online usage statistics in MENA region and today is the day I got some information which are solid. Thanks to SPOTONPR. When ever I talk about internet as a media to reach out to public in MENA I never had a solid to back up motion. Good work. Hope to associate with you guys soon

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