DUBAI: Twitter, the microblog, is introducing its stable of advertising products in the Middle East and North Africa, a move encouraged by the significant surge in the service's uptake across the region
Shailesh Rao, Twitter's vice president, international operations, revealed Arabic is the language witnessing the most sizeable increase in usage on its pages at present.
"When we decided we wanted to prioritise the Middle East region it was principally because we had a large user base here and was growing rapidly," he added, as reported by Zawya Dow Jones
"The active user base in the Middle East has tripled in the last year. It's one of the fastest-growing regions in the world."
In reflection of this rising interest, Twitter is working with Connect Ads, part of OTVentures, an Egyptian group, to offer its promoted trends, tweets and accounts to brand owners in several countries.
The main initial targets for Twitter are Saudi Arabia, currently its biggest market by user volume, as well as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait and Pakistan.
Pepsi, the soft drink, Mobily, the Saudi Arabian telecoms firm, and Dubai Calendar, the events website, are among the operators that have proved keen to tap such tools.
"The two are interconnected - the rapid growth of our user base with the timing of why we want to help brands connect with that audience," Rao told Reuters
Mohamed El Mehairy, managing director of Connect Ads, estimated that digital adspend in the Middle East comes in at $200m annually today, with Twitter strongly-placed to attract revenues.
"The response has been amazing," he added. "Half the job is done, brands are not asking 'why Twitter?', but 'how?'"
According to figures from the most recent Arab Social Media Report, produced by the Dubai School of Government, Twitter had 2.1m users in the Middle East in June 2012.
Deloitte, the business services network, has also predicted digital adspend will log a compound annual growth rate of 35% from 2011-15, reaching $580m by the end of this period.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Reuters; additional content by Warc staff