Ala Shashaa, Data and Insights Director at the regional digital marketing agency Netizency, shares with Communicate a social recap analyzing the discussions in the GCC’s public sphere and highlighting the most relevant trends.
At the end of each month, here at Netizency, we explore the dynamic realm of social media and online platforms in the Gulf. Our goal? To cast the spotlight on the key trends that matter and dissect the conversations that are making waves. To achieve this, we've curated a set of keywords in both Arabic and English that encapsulate discussions relevant to the region's key industries. These keywords are then categorized based on the frequency of mentions, enabling us to dissect the discourse across social and online media throughout the entire month.
During January, the Electronics category maintained its lead, closely followed by Entertainment in second place. Health secured the third position this month, surpassing Education. Other categories retained their respective rankings. In terms of interactions, Entertainment remains the most engaging category, followed by Electronics and Automotive. Now, let's explore the details.
Photo Source: Netizency
CES 2024 played a significant role in driving discussions within the Electronics realm this month. Influencers fueled the buzz by covering the latest launches, generating a lot of interest from tech enthusiasts in the GCC. One notable launch that caught attention was LG’s transparent OLED TV, designed to seamlessly blend into its surroundings and double as practical furniture (making it a hit among interior designers!), Gamers were equally pumped about HP’s OMEN Transcend 14 and Razer's Blade 16 laptop reveals. Samsung also stood out in discussions with the return of Ballie, an AI companion robot for the home, and the introduction of the world's first transparent MicroLED display. Users speculated about its price, but the brand hasn't spilled the beans on the cost and retail availability yet. All this just scratches the surface of the online excitement stirred by CES 2024, and the discussions were anything but dull.
Honor Magic V2 has also captured the attention of tech geeks this month - debuted as the world’s thinnest and lightest folding smartphone. Chatter among users about its aesthetics and features peaked, covering topics like pricing inquiries, retail availability, pre-order links, and more. The device has received positive reviews, with a specific focus on its ultra-slim 9.9 mm design, 5,000 mAh battery, super-light titanium hinge capable of enduring 400,000 folds, and a tablet-like experience. Tech influencers joined the conversation, sharing YouTube reviews that compared it with the Galaxy Fold 5. They delved into essential aspects such as thickness, weight, screen, performance, battery, camera, and more, providing informative insights for viewers.
On a broader scale, Dubai's association with artificial intelligence (AI) has spurred discussions in this category during the month. This surge is particularly evident following coverage of the city's preparations for the upcoming World Government Summit (WGS), scheduled for February 12-14, 2024. News outlets have highlighted that this year’s summit will primarily focus on exploring the future of AI, featuring experts like OpenAI's Sam Altman and Nvidia Corporation's CEO Jensen Huang. The event is anticipated to attract significant international representation, with around 4,000 participants, underscoring how AI is becoming essential in our daily lives. Consequently, we expect the summit to generate numerous mentions in February - stay tuned for next month’s article, and we'll find out together!
Photo Source: @DXBMediaOffice (Twitter)
The onset of the new year was a key topic of chatter within the Entertainment category, as expected. Conversations included diverse ways people celebrated the occasion, with videos of fireworks at iconic locations like Burj Khalifa and Lusail Boulevard flooding our feeds. The excitement reached its pinnacle, particularly with the spotlight on the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Abu Dhabi. This event marked the New Year with exceptional shows, breaking 4 Guinness World Records, showcasing a stunning firework display and a 60-minute drone show. We've also seen numerous posts going viral, depicting people welcoming the new year with a countdown for a ceasefire in Gaza as a demonstration of solidarity with Palestine.
Additionally, the Joy Awards 2024 emerged as yet another pivotal occasion that sparked widespread conversations within this category. Held in Riyadh, the event hosted Arab and international celebrities from all over the world. Social media platforms buzzed with posts capturing the glamor and entertainment of the night, featuring celebrities gracing the lavender carpet. The event showcased significant moments that heightened the ongoing conversations. These encompassed the heartfelt speech by Syrian actress Mona Wassef, honoring her mother upon receiving the "Lifetime Achievement Award." The presence of acclaimed actor and director Anthony Hopkins, along with the surprise appearance of Najat Al Saghira on stage were all unforeseen twists that resonated with the audience.
We all know that football is a global passion, which is why it makes sense that the Entertainment category witnessed spirited surges throughout the month, all thanks to the fever surrounding the Asian Cup. From the opening ceremony at Lusail Stadium, featuring a live presentation showcasing significant Asian literary legacies, to the presence of senior officials from friendly nations, Olympic Committee leaders, and a sizable audience—the excitement was nothing short of extraordinary. Social media became a buzzing arena where users expressed their team loyalties, commented on matches and players, and celebrated pivotal moments, such as Palestine's 3-0 triumph over Hong Kong and Iraq's 2-1 victory over Japan, among others. With matches extending into February, there's no expectation for the excitement to wane anytime soon.
Photo Source: IMAGO (Sebastian Frej)
For the second month in a row, the Automotive sector has held firm among the top three most engaging categories. January witnessed a multitude of stories that seized considerable attention, igniting animated discussions among petrolheads in the GCC. Here's a glimpse of some of the notable highlights.
Leading the pack is CES 2024, not only triggering surges in the Electronics category, as previously noted, but also resonating within Automotive discussions. The show's groundbreaking reveals dominated headlines, with a pivotal focus on the resurgence of hydrogen-powered vehicles of all sizes, sparking renewed interest. Companies like Nikola, Hyundai, and Bosch have emphasized the advantages of hydrogen, suggesting that the recent slowdown in battery-electric vehicle adoption has paved the way for reigniting discussions about hydrogen's potential. Yet, the shine of electric vehicles remained undimmed. Users and news outlets shared content about Honda Motor unveiling two concept cars, the "Space-Hub" and "Saloon," offering a sneak peek into their upcoming lineup of electrified vehicles. Kia also stirred chatter with its foray into electric vans, revealing a forthcoming lineup of electric vans, trucks, ride-hailing, and last-mile delivery vehicles. Another star in the conversation was Generative AI, notably with Volkswagen making waves by incorporating ChatGPT into its cars and SUVs. The AI chatbot seamlessly became a part of its IDA voice assistant, marking a significant stride in the integration of artificial intelligence into automotive technology.
Speaking of innovations, Samsung's recent announcement about its SmartThings Connectivity platform coming to Hyundai and Kia cars has also piqued interest in the GCC. The partnership aims to seamlessly connect your smart home with your car, as simple as it sounds! They plan to integrate SmartThings into Hyundai and Kia connected car services, exploring services that link your home and car, along with an integrated home energy management system. So, in a simple example, you could use SmartThings to manage your car's air conditioning or windows from home and control your home's devices from your car. This news has been shared by mainstream sources, generating discussions among users who are excited about the possibilities technology could bring to simplify our daily lives.
Photo Source: Road & Track (Samsung)
Saudia has also taken center stage in the Automotive conversation this month due to coverage of its plans to introduce air taxis for Hajj pilgrims. The airline is gearing up to launch flying taxis, offering swift transportation for pilgrims traveling between Jeddah Airport and Makkah. Various news outlets have discussed the viability of this initiative, citing Saudia Group spokesperson Abdullah Al-Shahrani, who revealed the airline's intent to acquire approximately 100 German-made electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) Lilium jets for this purpose. These jets have a capacity of four to six passengers each. Numerous comments expressed users' enthusiasm for the initiative, emphasizing its positive impact on the tourism sector in the Kingdom.
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