During the holy month of Ramadan, it’s not uncommon for businesses to extend their opening hours or run special offers, but how well are top brands accommodating to their consumers’ behavioral shifts on social media?
To answer this question, DataEQ conducted a cross-industry social media trends study on some of Saudi Arabia’s top influential brands in the period leading up to and during Ramadan, 2022. The brands, which were chosen based on a recent research piece by Ipsos, included Al Rajhi Banking Corporation, Panda Supermarkets, Saudi Telecommunication Company (STC) and Toyota.
Having analyzed a random sample of over 1 million public consumer tweets, the study found that:
Conversation volumes on social media surged during Ramadan
Consumer conversation increased by 214.6% overall, with all brands except for Panda experiencing higher conversation volumes during Ramadan. The largest percentage change came from Al Rajhi, which witnessed a 333.3% change in volume. This spike in conversation was primarily driven by brand campaigns and competitions.
Brand posts helped shift the nature of consumer conversation
During the pre-Ramadan period, the conversation was mostly related to regular customer service issues. However, with the advent of Ramadan, engagement increased because of brand campaigns, competitions and discounted product offerings. While service conversation remained prevalent, these initiatives introduced diversification of themes
High engagement did not translate into purchase opportunities
While advertising was a major contributor to brand engagement, this was mostly removed from sales, which did not prompt growth for purchase conversation. Conversely, intent to purchase volumes witnessed a 6.9 pp decrease during Ramadan. In some cases, brand posts triggered customers to respond negatively to highlight frustrations and operational pain points.
Reputational conversation masked Operational pain points
Customer service and technical issues, such as slow resolution times and mobile app issues, were ongoing drivers of negative sentiment for customers. However, due to the prominence of reputational conversation in Ramadan, these pain points were somewhat concealed. Nonetheless, consumers continued to express their frustration with the brands’ inability to resolve issues quickly in Ramadan due to high volumes of calls and long waiting times for chatbots, which had a drag in effect on overall Net Sentiment.
Ramadan had a negative impact on brands’ responsiveness online
Overall, the brands experienced a 29.4% decrease in Twitter response rates with the advent of Ramadan. Response rate refers to the percentage of conversations and interactions that received at least one reply from the brand.
Time to respond was also generally slower during Ramadan, with only Toyota having managed to improve on their response times during this period.
Commenting on these findings, Nic Ray, CEO of DataEQ says, “From this study, we see that during the holy month of Ramadan, consumers expect higher levels of service across all channels from the brands they love – and social media is no exception. This is due to amplified customer experience needs, requiring enhanced service and communication capabilities from popular brands.
“Given the increased consumer preference to seek service advice or complain on social media, a comprehensive analysis of brands’ operational and reputational performance can help identify more specific improvement points for each specific brand. By strategically using these available data-driven customer insights, brands can ensure they are market leaders in the realm of social media service for the next Ramadan,” Ray concludes.