On Sunday, Twitter (News - Alert) launched advertising services in Middle East and North African regions to capitalize on growing subscriber numbers in the wake of the Arab Spring protests and the accompanying social media use.
Accounting for around four percent of total advertisement spending, digital advertisement is seen as under-developed in the two regions, but that percentage is set to see major growth as a generation of young, computer-literate individuals come of age.
Twitter vice-president for international operations, Shailesh Rao, explained that the rapid growth of its user base and this recent advertising expansion are interconnected, and went on to estimate a tripling in its Middle East and North African subscriber numbers in the past 12 months. A regional breakdown was not provided.
Advertising services will be initially launched in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, under the provision of Egypt’s Connect Ads, itself owned by Cairo-based Orascom Telecom (News - Alert) Media and Technology. Confirmed clients, according to Twitter, include both Pepsi and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), a Saudi telecom service provider.
Traditional advertisement response rates sit at between 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent, but Twitter boasts response rates of between one percent and three percent. Connect Ads managing director, El Mehairy, explains how social media advertising is different than traditional platforms, remarking that, "social media advertising is totally different because it relies on what people say. It's about two-way, not one-way, communication."
Twitter Inc., founded in 2006, is an online networking and microblogging service which employs over 900 workers and enjoys an active user base of over 500 million. Based in San Francisco, the company also has offices in New York, Boston and San Antonio.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman