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Where are young Saudis spending their time?

Lewis Chappell, Senior Strategist at Socialize writes where young Saudis spend their time and how brands can best resonate with them

Credits: Image by marymarkevich on Freepik

Saudi Arabia has the world’s sixth largest Arabic population and with 79 per cent of the population using social media, the user base amounts to more than 30 million people. 

While these figures represent sizable reach and opportunity for brands, a more interesting takeaway is the age of Saudi’s population, two-thirds of which are under 35 years old and 18 per cent (13 million) are Gen Z.

Let’s take a look at some of the behavioural trends to establish where these audiences spend their time and how brands can best resonate with them.

Video-first for Gen-Z 

It’s no surprise that video remains the dominant content format, with 94 per cent consuming video on a weekly basis.

Not only is Gen Z more comfortable with new and immersive forms of content, but they have become highly efficient at consuming it.

Brands must make sure their content is concise and resonates with their audience’s values, as well as fitting it into 15 seconds or less – not such an easy task.

Out of all video formats, live-streaming gained the largest increase in consumption in Saudi (29 per cent) mainly owing to the growing influence of the gaming world, which continues to be highly influential in the Kingdom.

The second Campaign Saudi Briefing event of the year will be taking place in Riyadh on 12th October 2023. A variety of panels and speakers will be discussing the themes of media and marketing. For more details, click here. 

The fact that 45 per cent of Gen Z stated that their avatars or identities were a more accurate representation of themselves than in real life, highlights that the gaming world is a place where they feel both comfortable and more expressive.

This represents a huge opportunity for brands to cultivate deeper and more personal relationships with young audiences.

YouTube claims the number one spot as the best platform to reach Saudis on, with 79 per cent of the audience available to advertisers compared with 72 per cent on TikTok.

Snapchat still ranks as one of the most popular platforms for advertisers in KSA, with a potential reach of 21 million users, behind TikTok and YouTube.

The reason for Snapchat’s popularity lies in the nature of its disappearing content which has allowed the Gen Z audience (particularly females) more freedom and privacy and has enabled them to express authenticity and reveal themselves.

Lewis Chappell, Senior Strategist at Socialize

Connecting with cultural values

Brands must be sensitive to cultural nuances and values that define Saudi society. 

Saudi is a culturally homogeneous country that takes many of its traditions and customs from its deeply rooted beliefs in Islam and its population is vastly different to that of the UAE, which in contrast is one of the most multicultural countries in the world and populated almost entirely by expats.

Family ties are highly valued in Saudi society and as such brands should always consider incorporating messaging that highlights family values and underlines the importance of community and social connections.

Gender roles are well defined in the Kingdom, so brands should tread carefully when targeting messages to specific genders or otherwise make sure they’re conforming to the nuances and roles of gender in society.

Brands must be ready to adapt their campaigns accordingly so that they fit the cultural beliefs of the Kingdom or they may risk alienating their audience and failing to establish any sort of connection.

By Lewis Chappell, Senior Strategist at Socialize