Transforming communications: Emergence of interactive content in Middle East

In the realm of rapidly evolving digital communications, the Middle East stands out as a region undergoing a significant transformation. The transition towards online platforms and digital communication tools has been significant, influencing interaction and information sharing between organisations and people. Interactive content has been at the forefront of this revolution, playing a vital role in shaping the communication landscape in the region.

Engaging content, ranging from polls and quizzes to interactive storytelling, has become a catalyst for higher levels of participation compared to conventional methods. A recent survey suggests that 80 per cent of B2B marketers agree that interactive content grabs more attention than static content, while over 90 per cent of B2C marketers consider dynamic content to be more effective in educating buyers, in comparison to 75 per cent for static.

As a versatile and effective tool, it stands out as a cornerstone in modern PR strategies, offering a comprehensive approach to audience engagement while delivering benefits in terms of data, social presence and brand relationships. One of the significant advantages of the versatility of such content over traditional content is its capacity to provide valuable data and insights on consumers. The responses and interactions collected offer a wealth of information, enabling businesses to better understand audience preferences, opinions and behaviours. Another report indicates that content that encourages engagement produces 50 per cent higher engagement than static content. People spend approximately 7 minutes looking at static content, while interacting with the latter averages 12 minutes.

Furthermore, the nature of interactive features encourages active participation, making communication more responsive. This shift is particularly significant in the Middle East, known for its diverse cultural landscape. Engaging posts can always be used to captivate the attention of the audience, and consumers can participate in the material posted, whether it is an infographic, a poll, a quiz or an assessment. As a result, the target audience feels more linked to the brand.

One of the key advantages of interactive content in the Middle East is its ability to facilitate culturally sensitive communication. Tailoring content to specific cultural preferences and sensitivities becomes more accessible with the incorporation of dynamic features. This ensures that messages are not only heard but also resonate with the diverse audiences present in the region. The Middle East is a market leader in the usage of social media, with UAE, Saudi and Egypt are ranking on the top, followed by Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon and Oman. The region ranks above the global average in the percentage of the population using social networks.

The region boasts a substantial youth population, and their preferences are steering communication trends. According to a report by Forbes, the Middle East is home to one of the world’s youngest populations, with a median age of 22. This demographic is the boosting element behind the demand for latest technological innovations and need for digital services4. Interactive content has found a welcoming audience among the younger audience. The youth population in the Middle East is one of the key factors driving the digital market expansion, owing to their tech-savviness.

In the region, digital platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are widely used, and interactive content thrives on these platforms. A market report reveals that in the UAE and KSA, 70 per cent of the youth consumes more video digitally than on TV. Meanwhile, in Egypt, 75 per cent of the youth are engaged on YouTube on a daily basis. The same report suggests that most of the Arab youth, between the age of 18-25 years, use at least one social media platform regularly.

Moreover, beyond social engagement, dynamic content has also been reshaping educational methods in the Middle East. Virtual events, webinars, and tutorials provide innovative ways of disseminating information and creating engaging learning experiences. This transformation is particularly vital as traditional educational models undergo digital reformation.

While the benefits are evident, implementing content that fosters audience participation in public relations (PR) campaigns in the Middle East is not without its challenges. Cultural challenges, varying levels of digital literacy and privacy concerns are among the hurdles faced by PR professionals. Crafting campaigns that strike the right balance between interactivity and cultural sensitivity are still a delicate task.

Despite the challenges, numerous opportunities arise from incorporating such content in a diverse and evolving market. By understanding the unique characteristics of the Middle East, communicators can tailor content to captivate audiences effectively. This not only enhances brand efficiency and visibility, but also fosters meaningful connections with consumers. According to Rock’s survey, the usage of interactive content significantly enhances the ability of organisations to measure efficiency, with 60 per cent reporting improved measurement capabilities. Meanwhile, organisations relying on static content experience only 25 per cent enhancement in efficiency measurement6. This highlights the increasing role of dynamic content in optimising organisational performance and emphasises its dominance over static content.

The Middle East has been experiencing a significant transformation in its communication methods, driven by the widespread adoption of interactive content. From social media engagement to educational innovation, the impact is reshaping how information is shared and received. As the region journeys towards a more digitalised era, the strategic integration of interactive content will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of communication.

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