Ramadan and the impact of social media

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SHAFAQNA – We’re only a week or so away from the holiest month of the Islamic year, when Muslims fast to remember the first revelation of the holy Quran to the Prophet Mohammed. Just as the Middle East has embraced social media, so have Muslims. Ramadan is one of the most active times of the year for social media in the Middle East – on all social media channels – as Muslims reach out to friends and family, prepare for the holy month, and celebrate in the run up to Eid.

First of all, let’s look at Twitter. The short messaging service recorded over 51 million mentions of Ramadan last year, with 8.4 billion impressions.

The number of Tweets during Ramadan in 2015 based on Twitter’s own internal statistics

The number of Tweets during Ramadan in 2015 based on Twitter’s own internal statistics

Google’s focus is on YouTube, in particular channels which have a specific relationship with this period of the year. Cooking is initially popular (Ramadan meals are cooked and served at home), followed by religious channels and general entertainment.

YouTube viewership during Ramadan changes dramatically as you can see from this internal Google data

YouTube viewership during Ramadan changes dramatically as you can see from this internal Google data

And last but not least, there’s Facebook. During 2014, 14.6 million Muslims in the MENA region posted 47.6 million updates on Ramadan and Eid. Facebook provides fascinating insights [PPT] into when Muslims are online and how much more time they’re spending online, as well as the shift toward mobile and a breakdown of chatter by age and gender. Facebook believes that millennials are shifting away from television and towards the internet, which may be disconcerting for advertisers and television networks.

While it’d be fascinating to understand how Muslims are using WhatsApp and other messaging services to spread religious messages and other related content, I don’t have any data on this (and other) channels.

Whatever you’re planning for Ramadan, do remember the importance of social media channels to Muslims across the region. Make your content engaging (either entertaining or informative), relevant and shareable. And Ramadan Mubarak!

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