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Top 6 Untold Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising in the Middle East

Top 6 Untold Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising in the Middle East

The Northwestern University in Qatar reported that an average of 82% of people in the Middle East are on Facebook. While this is a decline from a high of 88% in 2013, the social media network is still the number one social media platform in this region. 63% say that they use Facebook to communicate, 12% say that they use it to find and share news, while 25% say they use Facebook for entertainment.

The statistics further show that the median number of friends is 160.The age group 18-24 yrs. has the highest number of friends (230), while those above 45 yrs. have an average of 80 friends.

With approximately 218 million people, it means that Facebook has an audience of about 178 million people. There is also a significant number of social media advertising experts in the Middle East. This gives interesting targeting challenges for any marketer looking to use Facebook advertising in this region.

What are the top pitfalls to watch out for when doing Facebook advertising in the Middle East?

  • User Profiling

There is a high amount of censorship in some Middle East countries which has led to a significant number of fake profiles on Facebook. A marketer is then not sure how many ghost users he is reaching out to.

  • Lack of Accurate Data on Nationalities

There is a high number of expats in the Middle East but nationalities tend to stick largely to their own. This invalidates the viral aspect of marketing that makes Facebook marketing effective. A marketer must plan carefully on how to target a specific nationality successfully.

  • Content Relevance

Data on sharing shows that Facebook users are sharing 43% videos, 30% news and 25% music. Facebook marketers have long had challenges with the platform’s support for video ads especially in low bandwidth areas. This restricts the type of ads that a marketer can put out.

  • Cultural Relevance

While the high number of expats may be ripe for more liberal type of adverts, the larger section of Middle East population is still conservative meaning that ads could have different interpretations, which further restricts the content that can be used in marketing.

  • Poor use of Facebook Metrics

There are few marketers exploiting the full potential of Facebook metrics. Social media expert blogs are yet to make a full impact on the marketing community in the Middle East where digital marketing is still largely unexploited.

  • ROI Challenges

Many marketers do not fully understand how to use Facebook metrics to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, and the Return on Investment. This means they over/under budget, and run campaigns without clear outputs.