Snap Plans Big For MENA; Launches Localized Content Platform

Snap Inc. has got aggressive in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With new senior hands on board, the social media company is now working towards creating more options for Snapchatters and also for advertisers in the region.

Earlier this year, Snap opened its first office in Dubai, and tapped Hussein Freijah as its manager for the region, and Rami Saad to lead its content efforts.

The company has now launched Discover that will feature local content in Arabic produced exclusively for Snapchat from various local media companies that cover news, entertainment, fashion and lifestyle.

Launching localized content for Snapchatters in MENA is an important step as it strengthens the platform’s presence in a region that it sees as an increasingly important global market for the company. Last month, Snap had crossed the seven million daily active Snapchatters mark in Saudi Arabia, and one million daily active users in the United Arab Emirates.

The Discover Proposition
The host of media companies that will begin publishing daily stories for Discover include Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera,, MBC, Sayidaty, Sky News Arabia and Zahrat Al Khaleej. Each publisher’s story will be Live for Snapchatters every morning (beginning at 7:00 am GMT+3). This will be the regular daily publishing time for content on Discover, except for Ramadan, when the content publish time will change (10:00 am GMT+3).

In preparation for Discover’s launch, Snap held workshops with each publisher to offer guidance on producing stories for a mobile-first audience, while ensuring that they stay true to each of their strong editorial perspectives.

All media publishers on Discover have editorial independence over their content, and Snap’s team will work closely with them to ensure they have the support they need to create content for this new medium. Each publisher’s content features Snap Ads from advertisers, which are vertical, full screen, sound on video ads that play for up to 10 seconds. Brands can give Snapchatters the choice to swipe up to see more, like they do elsewhere on Snapchat, to reveal extended content like a long-form video, app install ad, or mobile website.

Continuing to offer localized and relevant content for Snapchatters, Snap is also planning to launch a number of creative tools for its users in MENA that will be available during Ramadan, including special Geofilters in Arabic and English (which Snapchatters can use to add overlays to their Snaps); Ramadan-themed Lenses (which Snapchatters can use to apply real-time visual effects to their Snaps); and Our Stories covering Ramadan celebrations in different regions.

Snap has now launched localized Discover content in five languages including English, French, German and Norwegian.

Publishers Take On The Partnership
“As one of the leading international news brands; Al Jazeera is excited to participate with Snapchat to reach out to our younger audience; providing them with news, current affairs and captivating content that is social, human and emotive. This partnership with Snapchat Discover is part of our endeavor towards the digital transformation and utilization of new and innovative mediums to continue engaging with our diverse audience,” said Dr Yaser Bishr, Executive Director of Digital for Al Jazeera.

“We are delighted to be part of Snap Inc.’s launch event in the region. Our collaboration is a testament of Layalina’s successful leadership role in digital content publishing. The Discover platform will further empower the discovery of our content by our fans, clients and advertisers. We are excited to show new ways of storytelling powered by creativity in the holy month of Ramadan,” said Anas Abbar, CEO of

Fadel Zahreddine, MBC’s Group Director of Brand Management & Digital said, “Launching our MBC channel on Snapchat shows our leadership and brand maturity, that isn’t limited to one platform. We offer visual, digital and even audio media which is loved by our wide audience across MENA. We extend our experience in the entertainment & news making business through content creation that is demanded by our audience.”

Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, Editor-in-Chief, Sayidaty confirmed that launching Sayidaty on Snapchat Discover is one step toward further expansion and spread of Sayidaty on social networking platforms. Mr Al-Harthi said this represents a new step added to the already huge assets that Sayidaty enjoys among the youth followers on social media. Such an audience finds that Sayidaty satisfies its needs by keeping pace with the updated social and international news, in addition to his own personal and family needs, women concerns and affairs including beauty, fashions, health topics and all the information and tips that help her to shine and achieve success.

“Snapchat revolutionized the world of social media and the success of the platform in the MENA is a proof. Zahrat Al Khaleej has always been a leader in the publishing and digital industries. With the launch of our Zahra Channel on Snapchat Discover, we are combining our strength and knowhow in both fields. And we are extremely happy to be the only Emirati publication launching this experience in the Middle East. We are committed to deliver to our readers the best in luxury and lifestyle content and we promise nothing but the best to our social media followers,” said Hala Al Gergawi, Executive Managing Editor at Zahrat Al Khaleej.

“The effective monetization of our publishers’ content remains at the core of DMS’ offerings and mission. ‘Discover’ represents a great new opportunity for DMS to expand the monetization horizon for MBC Group’s market-leading content, beyond its owned, proprietary assets. We are very pleased to be starting-off with Snapchat, as the first of many relationships, which we are developing with platforms that can enhance our media partners’ distribution capabilities and ultimately enable them to reach wider audiences, all within premium, brand-safe environments,” said Michel Malkoun, Chief Operating Officer, DMS.

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