Dubai: Bring them on ... and more of them.

Unlike consumers in the West, social media users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are more receptive to advertisers “pushing” messages their way, according to a trend spotting report by Kantar TNS.

Globally, consumers are turning their “back on brands as 26 per cent of respondents actively ignore social posts or content,” the research firm says. “However, internet users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia buck this trend with only 17 per cent (UAE) and 15 per cent (in Saudi Arabia) ignoring brands.”

“We are also seeing a far more open and tolerant attitude towards online brand promotions in key Gulf markets,” said Stephen Hillebrand, CEO of Kantar Insights MENAP. “While the global average suggests that 30 per cent of users object to the idea of their online behaviour being tracked by brands, in UAE and Saudi Arabia consumers are more liberal in their attitudes, with only 16 per cent in each market objecting.”

Both Gulf markets have seen a tripling in social media use, with Saudi Arabia’s increasing from 24 per cent in 2014 to 74 per cent in 2016, while UAE’s grew from 15 per cent in 2014 to 53 per cent in 2016. “This acceleration is in line with the high social media usage we have recorded in previous studies, but the magnitude of the growth took us by surprise,” said Stephen Hillebrand, CEO of Kantar Insights MENAP.

“Gulf markets continue to lead the way on social media usage. Globally, the use of Snapchat has almost doubled in the last two years from 12 per cent to 23 per cent. However, in Saudi Arabia and UAE the app has witnessed a massively higher growth in usage.”

While Instagram’s global average usage is at 42 per cent in 2016, (from 24 per cent two years ago), in the UAE, that has shot up to 60 per cent this year compared to 38 per cent in 2014. In Saudi Arabia, it went up from 57 per cent to a staggering 82 per cent during this period.

Ads are just part of the social media experience for UAE users

* Only 13 per cent of UAE’s social media users actively “ignore any social posts or content from brands”.

* Only 19 per cent completely object to the idea of “brands tracking their online behaviour in order to serve them adverts”.