Twitter Inc. launched advertising services in the Middle East and North Africa on Sunday as the social media firm seeks to exploit a tripling of its regional subscriber base, following its widespread use during the Arab Spring protests.
Digital advertising is under developed in the MENA region, accounting for an estimated 4 percent of its total advertising spending.
But, a young, tech-savvy population and a rise of people using the internet do point to a significant potential for growth.
"The two are interconnected - the rapid growth of our user base with the timing of why we want to help brands connect with that audience," Shailesh Rao, Twitter vice-president for international operations said.
Twitter does not provide a regional breakdown of its more than 200 million users worldwide, but Rao said its MENA subscriber base tripled in the past 12 months.
The company has recruited Egypt's Connect Ads, which is ultimately owned by Cairo-listed Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, to initially launch advertising in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Pepsi and Saudi telecom operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) are among its confirmed clients, the company said.
Twitter says the products it promotes typically have an audience response rate of 1 to 3 percent, significantly higher than traditional the advertising rate of 0.1 to 0.5 percent.
"Social media advertising is totally different because it relies on what people say. It's about two-way, not one-way, communication," said Mohamed El Mehairy, Connect Ads managing director.
The Arab Spring brings Twitter ads to the MENA region