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DUBAI: The Kingdom’s ministries of health, education and sports were among the top government social media outlets in 2021, according to a report analyzing their digital activity.

The “State of Digital Government” report was compiled by social media marketing firm Emplifi in partnership with advertising network Extend.

“Social media is a valuable tool for government agencies to communicate with citizens and residents, to establish and build trust, share important information quickly and in real time, answer questions and engage on a more personal level. “, said Christian Bechara, Vice President of Emplifi. president for the Middle East and Africa, told Arab News.

“The world is increasingly social first, and public sector organizations are vying with private sector brands for the same attention and awareness,” he added.

“Saudi Arabia recognizes that digitalization and innovation in government services is necessary to deliver capabilities at scale, to lead as a G20 country, and to keep pace with changing information consumption.”

According to the report, the Ministry of Health had the best performing social media accounts, while the Ministry of Education had the best performing website and the Ministry of Sports ranked first in terms of “e- participation”.

He also said that the Department of Municipal Rural Affairs was the most active, the Department of Education the most mentioned and the Department of Health the most followed, as well as the most engaging content, the most new subscribers and the most engaged users.

According to Bechara, the report analyzed the digital performance of 24 ministries across 81 social media accounts and 24 websites.

“In 2021, we saw exponential follower growth across all departmental social media accounts, and in particular, 7.1 million new followers,” he said.

When it comes to people who speak and engage with Saudi ministries, the report found that about two-thirds are between the ages of 18 and 35, and about 75 percent are men.

“Around 66% of social media users are Gen Z, which is no surprise: they grew up with the internet and social media at their fingertips. In their view, government agencies are another brand competing in the same space,” Bechara said.

Looking at content, the report found that while 62% of all posts used photos, the most engaging format was video, which accounted for 42% of all engagements.

This image was similar to what was happening in the private sector, Bechara said.

“Short video as a way to share information and updates, as well as using influencers is a common strategy for all organizations and is part of a successful marketing mix.”

Saudi Arabia’s young and highly connected population, coupled with the Kingdom’s digitization and modernization efforts, has positioned social media as the ideal channel for the government to connect with its citizens.

Bechara advised ministries to “continue to focus on your audience, using data and metrics to tailor content.”

But he said governments shouldn’t use social media for all of their messaging. Instead, they should think about the relevance and value of social media content “and how it will be perceived.”

“Finally, always engage with your followers,” Bechara said. “Social media is here to stay, and it’s great to see government agencies pushing the boundaries.”


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