The new hub will be home to locally-relevant and data-driven insights, as well as community stories during Ramadan.

Facebook users looking for inspiring tales about everyday heros and initiatives that will allow them to give back to the communities that they live in during Ramadan will be able to do that and more, as ‘SHARED by Facebook’ goes live in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The new hub will be home to locally-relevant and data driven insights, as well as community stories during Ramadan. The launch comes as facebook’s online community continues to grow with its user base reaching 183 million users in the Mena region – 86 per cent of whom celebrate Ramadan. Statistics by Facebook IQ showed that thanks to shorter working hours and holidays, users in the Middle East increase the time that they spend on mobile and social media during the holy month. Facebook has recorded a five per cent increase in the time that its users spend on the portal during Ramadan, compared to any other time of the year. As a result, brands have 57.6 million more hours to capture a user’s attention during Ramadan.

Ramez T. Shehadi, managing director at Facebook for the MENA region

SHARED by Facebook will offer brands and people an easy-to-navigate platform to engage more meaningfully with their audiences, said Ramez T. Shehadi, managing director at Facebook for the Mena region.

“Across the region, Facebook has been instrumental in enabling communities to connect and build positive social impact during Ramadan: from Facebook’s ‘Giving is in Your Blood’ to ‘Hack for Good initiative’ and ‘Ramadan Fridges’, we’ve seen people use our platforms to bring brilliant ideas to life and address important issues while bringing people closer together. During Ramadan, we want to share a deeper understanding of the experiences of our audiences by availing a hub for advertisers that offers unique opportunities to create personalised content and moments that cultivate a real connection with audiences,” he said.

Leen Fakhreddin, Creative Agency partner for the Middle East and Africa region at facebook, also highlighted the important role that communities play in our lives and how they serve as important points of engagement. She recalled how the Ramadan Fridges initiatives had set in motion the drive to ensure that less food was wasted during the holy month. The growing concern about the phenomenon had also resulted in the creation of the Food Bank, which ensured that excess food is distributed to worker camps in a timely and safe manner.

“We have seen a shift in the perception of brands among their users, especially when it comes to millennials,” she said. “Millennials want to see the brands that they are loyal to be active in social situations especially if it involves their community.”

Highlights from Ramadan insights last year indicate over 280 million people globally had about three billion interactions with Ramadan 2018-related content. At the end of Ramadan 2018, more than 150 million people worldwide came together on Facebook to wish a “Happy Eid” to their community. In 2018, the ‘Giving is in Your Blood’ Hack for Good initiative in collaboration with The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was shared across Facebook and Instagram. The initiative tackled the issue of decreased blood donations during the month of Ramadan in the region, and resulted in blood donations increasing in all nine countries.

– rohma@khaleejtimes.com


Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE’s retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.

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