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Asif Iqbal
Qatar with 2.4 million users and the UAE with 9.2 million users have the highest social media penetration of any country in the world, a new report has said.
According to a report by Hootsuite, the most widely used social media management platform, and We Are Social, the global social media agency, Qatar and the UAE have the highest social media penetration globally at 99 percent each.
The report said, of the 246 million people living in the Middle East, 60 percent (147 million) now use the internet - up 15 percent from 2016 - 34 percent (93 million) are active on social media, representing a 47 percent year on year rise.
"One of the greatest opportunities of a digitally connected world is the ability to have immediate conversations, wherever and whenever customers want. Social media not only enables organisations to amplify its brand, but also build trust, credibility and human relationships at scale. It is now as much the responsibility of the top executive as the social media manager," said Penny Wilson, CMO, Hootsuite.
The report that examines data from 238 countries noted that Qatar also had the highest percentage of any population using social media through mobile devices. It said about 2.3 million access social media through mobile devices, which is about 95 percent, while UAE with 8.2 million user was second with 88 percent.
The report further suggested that internet penetration increased by 10 percent in the last 12 months to hit 3.773 billion, or 50 percent of the world's population while global social media use has increased by 21 percent in the last 12 months, reaching 2.8 billion users globally.
The 2017 digital data report added that mobile social media use has increased by 30 percent year-over-year to surpass 2.5 billion users globally, with 91 percent of social media users accessing social from mobile.
It said North and South America saw 8 percent year-on-year growth in regional internet penetration.
"The US alone contributed 22 million (25 percent) of the 88 million new social media users across the region in the past year. Increased use of smart phones and social messaging has driven a significant shift in how people communicate. As a result, organisations should plan to transform their communications strategy to increase customer engagement and real-time interaction across the customer journey," the report said.
Commenting on the findings Simon Kemp of We Are Social said,"Half of the world's population is now online, which is a testament to the speed with which digital connectivity is helping to improve people's lives.
"The increase in Internet users in developing economies is particularly encouraging. Given this latest data, it's probably time for us to stop referring to social as 'new media', and integrate it more seamlessly into our day-to-day activities."
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