Brands are mining social media to engage the Saudi market

Saudi men explore social media on their mobile devices as they sit at a cafe in Riyadh. (AN file photo)
Updated 07 August 2018

Brands are mining social media to engage the Saudi market

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.


REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

Updated 17 August 2019

REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so.

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians.

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's

Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks.

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order.

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.