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Making friends with Facebook

Making friends with Facebook

Middle East brands are slowing starting to embrace the benefits of social media.

February 25, 2010 1:06 by

Almost half of the internet users in the UAE are active members of social networking site Facebook, and the company is now hoping to sell more advertising in the region. The company announced on Tuesday an agreement with Connect Ads, a regional digital advertising company, so that it can increase targeted advertising in the region.

“Advertisers at the end of the day are looking for consumers and looking at ways to reach consumers,” Mohammad al-Muhairi, managing director for Connect Ads, told reporters. “So we’ll be providing them [the advertisers] with a tool to have direct access to those [Facebook] users,” he said.

The Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) boasts almost 10 million active Facebook users and the number is increasing significantly, according to the site. The company has more than 400 million active users across the world.

“The opportunity [in the Middle East] is massive,” said Trevor Johnson, Facebook’s head of Strategy and Planning, for EMEA. “We’re very much at a tipping point. Now is the time where there are enough people where it makes brands sit up and listen,” he said.

And some regional brands have already begun to appreciate the benefits of social media marketing. According to Dimitri Metaxas, regional executive director, Digital, at Omnicom Media Group, brands like Pizza Hut, Adidas Arabia and telecom operator Du have managed to successfully implement strong social media marketing campaigns in the region.

“It’s fantastic progress,” he says. However, brands should be cautionary while entering the space, he adds. Wallpaper advertising within social media is not very effective, he says, and brands must engage with social media as if they were members of that community.

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