Breakdown of the number of internet users in the Middle East. [Source: Black Hat]

Broadband penetration rates [Source: Interactive ME, 2010]

Key Facts of Search Engine Marketing in the MENA Region

Overall market figures stated that across the MENA region, search is growing at around 25% each year.
[Source: Google, via The National, February 2012]

  • Search engines are used most for research in relation to technology (67%) and travel (48%) products. [Source: Purchasing Behaviour Survey, via Google Agency Day, 2009]
  • Google is the preferred search engine in the UAE with 58% preferring and 38% preferring [Source: Purchasing Behaviour Survey, via Google Agency Day, 2009]
  • In the UAE, English (76% of respondents) is by far the most popular ‘search’ language (likely to be related to the highly multinational nature of UAE society) vs. 23% preferring to search in Arabic. [Source: Purchasing Behaviour Survey, via Google Agency Day, 2009]
  • Search engines are the most used source of online research information (81% of respondents). [Source: Purchasing Behaviour Survey, via Google Agency Day, 2009]
  • Search engine marketing is also frequently used by marketers, with 56% of companies in the Middle East using SEO and just over a third (35%) using paid search or PPC. [Source: The, February 2012]
  • There are 100m Google searches made across the MENA region each day and the biggest search category in the MENA region is news. [Source: Alexandra Tohme, via SlideShare, October 2011]
  • Google is the most commonly used search engine in the region with 61% of consumers using the English version of the site. Over half (58%) are using the Arabic version of Google.  [Source: Middle East and North Africa Digital Consumer Report, Econsultancy / Real Opinions, October 2011]
  • A quarter of respondents (25%) use Yahoo! Maktoob in the Middle East. Bing is only used by 8% of consumers in the Middle East. Over a third of consumers (35%) search mainly in Arabic, while just under a quarter (24%) of respondents search mainly in English. Just under a fifth of consumers (19%) always search in English. Only 7% of respondents search in languages other than Arabic or English. (source: Real Opinions, October 2011)
  • More than half of organisations (53%) say they use natural search or search engine optimization for marketing, and over a third (39%) are using paid search or pay-per-click advertising.

Social media and banking related searches dominated Google in the UAE during 2010.
[Source: Zawya, December 2010]

  •  10% of search queries are coming from mobile in the MENA region. [Source: Wael Ghonim, via ArabCrunch, December 2010]
  • YouTube and video-related searches made up 11% of top 10 searches for Arabs during 2010 while games followed closely with about 9% of all searched terms. [Source: The Next Web, December 2010]


Internet Statistics & State of Digital Marketing in MENA
Nawaz Shahzad

Nawaz Shahzad

My name is Nawaz Shahzad and my strengths are Strategic Internet Marketing, SEO, Paid Search, Direct Response Engagements, Online Conversion Techniques, Social Media Optimization & Marketing, Mobile Advertising and Online Brand Reputation Management. For last 11 years i worked for top names in the online marketing industry. Currently working for one of worlds biggest media agency in UAE as an marketing consultant. Some of the industries i worked for are Airline Clients, Top Banks, International Automative Clients, Top Hotels, Telecommunication companies and many more...

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