By: Israa Alzayer
Social media has become a significant part of Saudi Arabian society since the launch of the Kingdom’s Vision (2030) on April 25, 2016. With the aid of celebrities and influencers, the Saudi media delivers information and educates the public. As a result, at the national level, social media platforms and Saudi media have become a deeper part of society.
According to statistics from the DataReportal platform for data and analytics, Saudi society is highly active on social media sites with approximately 29.10 million active users. This accounts for 79.3% of the total population of the Kingdom.
Amidst this usage, Snapchat has emerged as an important social media platform for Saudis, with a staggering 18.38 million users. Out of these, 51.4% are female. Unsurprisingly, many profit-making institutions and some government sectors use the accounts of the most famous influencers and celebrities to promote their services or goods. This is because these accounts have a massive follower base, guaranteeing a high viewership rate.
Despite the emergence of multiple platforms before Snapchat, such as Facebook, X and Instagram, advertisements for products and services through intermediaries did not spread except on Snap. Facebook ads are often limited to the site while Instagram ads are often directly from the advertiser to customers without intermediaries.
What distinguishes Snapchat as an advertising platform in Saudi Arabia is its ability to provide direct video marketing via Snapchat, which is represented in:
- Displaying fixed ads consisting of photos or videos where the target audience, display regions, countries, cities, ages and interests can be specified.
- Creating Snapchat filters and lenses customized for the brand or product that can be used to promote and enhance brand awareness.
- Creating short stories to showcase products or services or provide a look inside a company’s internal operations.
- Making partnerships with celebrities and Snapchat influencers and cooperating with them to promote the brand and products.
- Doing a live broadcast to interact with the audience and provide live and exciting content.
- Promoting special events such as shows, conferences, exhibitions, parties and more.
How is the Snapchat platform used for advertising?
Snapchat influencers and celebrities use two methods to advertise products.
First is direct advertising, which involves the influencer promoting the product openly and transparently. This method has low risks as viewers know this is ad content.
The second method is indirect advertising, which is twice as expensive as direct advertising. This is because the influencer or celebrity is not authorized to advertise and may not have personal experience with the product.
This method can be risky as viewers may try the product based on the influencer’s advice without knowing if it fits them well.
The General Commission for Audiovisual Media in Saudi Arabia obliges anyone who wants to advertise on social media to issue a Mawthooq license to advertise even if they are outside SA. This license aims to verify the products or services. Let’s look at some examples.
Snapchat Influencers and Celebrities
But let’s first know the differences between an influencer and a celebrity. A person who becomes well-known through traditional media, like television, magazines, theater, cinema, and radio, as a singer, footballer, or actor and has a substantial following is considered a celebrity.
For example, Fayez Al-Maliki is one of the most prominent comedians in the Arab world, as he presented a large number of comic series and programs that left an impact on the hearts of his fans. Fayez Al-Maliki is one of the most influential personalities in the Arab world and is an ambassador of goodwill in Saudi Arabia.
On the other hand, an influencer is a person who gains a following on social media through platforms such as YouTube, X, Instagram, and Snapchat. This person is recognized for their expertise and influence in a particular area, such as fashion, beauty, sports, or cooking.
Sarah Al-Wadani is a content creator and beauty expert. With her experience in cinematic make-up and coordinating clothing, she has a remarkable talent for blending colors. In recent years, she became a famous Snapchat influencer because of her entry into the world of motherhood and providing useful advice on pregnancy, childbirth and childcare.
Despite the emergence of new platforms and technologies, along with the increasing number of influencers and brands online, Snapchat remains a top marketing tool in the Kingdom.
When choosing an influencer or celebrity, it is essential to ensure their good reputation to achieve the advertising campaign’s goals.