How to Target the Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on Facebook
Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province is a major market for Bahrain’s businesses. Every weekend 40,000 cars cross the causeway with as many as 100,000 Saudi residents travelling to Bahrain. Annually 20 million crossings are made into Bahrain from Saudi. Marketing to Saudi’s Eastern province is crucial for many businesses and one option is to harness Facebook’s social graph to reach the people most likely to engage with your company.
Targeting Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province using the native Facebook ads platform can be a bit tricky. In this post I’ll explain how to effectively target this demographic and provide some targeting examples once you’ve set up an initial broad demographic layer.
Targeting Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on Facebook
Initially we need to make an audience which covers the Eastern Province but not the rest of Saudi as these are likely to be the most frequent travelers to Bahrain. Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t provide an ‘Eastern Province’ option in its location targeting so first we’ll have to create one using city targeting.
There are around seven major urban areas of the Eastern Province which account for most of the population. However, it’s important to realize that you don’t need to restrict yourself to these population centers as Facebook provides a much more detailed list of towns and cities to target.
To get this list we can use Geo-Names to generate a list of cities in Saudi Arabia and then enter them into Facebook’s location targeting to produce a complete targeting group. This also gives you a more specific list for targeting small areas of the Eastern Province.
From the list of cities in Geo Names we can create a list of 93 locations in the Eastern Province targetable on Facebook. Give or take a few this is a pretty complete location demographic for the whole of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as Facebook see’s it.
Of the 4.1 million people living in the Eastern Province, Facebook gives us a potential reach of 1.7 million. If you create an audience based just on the major urban centers of the Eastern Province the Facebook audience is 1.5 million so the complete list adds another 200,000 people into your targeting list.
You can use the list below to create your own Eastern Province location audiences in Facebook.
Ajam Al Qatif
Al Lahabah Al Janubiyah
Al Lahabah Ash Shamaliyah
`Ayn Dar Al Qadimal
Hafar Al Batin
Madinat Al Malik Fahd As Sahiliyah
Manfadh Al Khafji
Qariya As Sifla
Qaryat Al `Ulya
Qaryat As Suflá
Ra’S Al Khafji
Ra’S As Saffaniyah
Umm Ash Shifallah
Umm As Sahik
Targeting Groups and Interests in the Eastern Province
Once you have this location layer you can begin to narrow your targeting both demographically and psychographically depending on your industry, goals and buyer personas. Below are a few simple examples. I’ll be using the smaller location group of 1.5 million to make it easier to illustrate.
Broad expat vs local targeting
It’s well known that Saudi Arabia has a huge expatriate population. You can begin to segment this population into various buckets using language targeting. If your business gets most of its customers from Arabic speakers you can use this option to remove other language groups from your audience. The ‘English’ bucket is the largest and will invariably include dual language speakers from across the Eastern Province who’ve listed English as their language on Facebook.
Arabic Speaking – 490,000
English – 1,100,000
South Asian – 110,000
Phillipino – 25,000
Targeting the Oil and Gas industry
It’s a common misconception that Facebook isn’t a B2B marketing platform. For example, if you’re a company in the oil and gas industry perhaps you want to reach people working in this sector by targeting people who’ve studied in related fields. Or even directly target people who work for Saudi Aramco – the Eastern Province’s largest oil company.
Targeting Foreign Teachers
Attracted by high wages many teachers live in Saudi Arabia and teach English as a second language. Using interest targeting we can reach those who’ve expressed interest in pages associated with teaching English.
Facebook is an effective growth channel for companies and marketers in Bahrain looking to target their niche in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Facebook allows plenty of granularity in terms of Eastern province location data (see above) that can be segmented for particular campaigns. Once this initial location layer is established, more demographic and interest layers can be added to focus on particular groups or buyer personas and tests run against these audiences.