6.5 Million Egyptians on Facebook

I keep hearing lots of numbers of Facebook users statistics in Egypt, the total number as of today (17 March, 2011) is

6,393,080 people

How did i know these stats? There is a very simple trick to know this number yourself… Go to the advertising link at the bottom of the FB page, click on create ad button, then you will get a page at which you can specify your targeting options…

Make sure to select the date Any-to-Any and the country Egypt, which should be selected by default if you live there. Wait for a few seconds and then you will see on the right side of the page the up to date total number of Facebook users in Egypt. The total number of users is now:

Facebook users in Egypt in March 2011

What makes a good salesman in a struggling economy?

About 9 months ago i decided to setup a self insurance / retirement plan for myself. Not believing in the value of the government social insurance in Egypt which is a big lie you put yourself in, a false feeling of being secure and covered by the time you retire… Spend 25 years working and then when you retire you will get a big fat 600 EGP per month… that’s gotta be charity not social insurance…..

I knew nothing about insurance so i contacted one insurance agent, his name is Mahmoud, who can give me an advice on which kind insurance fits me, there are basically 3 kinds of  insurance companies in Egypt: governmental, private and banks… Well, Mahmoud did a great job on teaching me the pros and cons of each kind of these companies, he got me offers with numbers from a bunch of them…. and he made his recommendation to me… of course i haven’t taken his words for granted but i did some more research by myself to reach the same conclusion that he recommended to me…

My final decision was to go with governmental insurance for a company that Mahmoud works for. Paying a yearly installment for the next 20 years… having chosen this installment to be small enough not to affect me under bad economy or whatsoever was a wise decision.

I have to pay my next installment on May, i only have 30 days to pay, if i’m late for 15 more days i pay a penalty, if i’m still late i my insurance is dropped and i have to re-active it again… Having know this i asked Mahmoud last year that i would like to pay my yearly installment on March of every year rather than May… why would i wait and put myself in this situation.

But now things are different right? the economy is not so good and people are afraid to spend money, so it is better to keep my cash until next May, perhaps until the end of may to utilize my time allowance until its end… Why would i pay now early 2 month in these current conditions? That’s probably what a typical sales guy would think. Right? Would he have the nerves to call me now and ask me to make my installment payment 2 month earlier? but guess what he did…

One day i came to the office and found that Mahmoud has left me his business card a couple of days ago when i was out of town and asked me to call him. When i called him he told me that he has lost all his contacts and he is trying to reach them by dropping off his business card to their work places… and he asked me whether i am still willing to pay my installment 2 months earlier as agreed… and guess what? i told him yes i am willing… there is no point in waiting, since i will have to make the payment anyway. He was a bit surprised himself… and he was happy of course, collections means bonus for him…

did he say “Why would i bother and call him now? the situation is not clear now… let’s wait until May” or “I lost his number, i am sure he is gonna call me back to pay at may or to cancel, i won’t bother myself finding his number again”

It is really small things that does matter… and in our struggling economy, good salesmen can have their companies economy rolling back again and in turn help the economy of their countries… People can just choose sit and assume and do the “WHAT-IF” analysis and do nothing… or they move and work hard to achieve their goals… Assumption is the mother of all screwups

This is one thing that makes the difference between a salesman and a good salesman…

Egypt Yellow Pages Partners Day

I’m a little late to talk about this one, but last Sunday, January 16th 2011, was Egypt Yellow Pages first event for 2011, the best thing we thought we would do this year with, is to honor our partners and give them a big thank you for being so awesome through 2010… Our event title is Enhancing Local Search And Location-Based Services With Key Strategic Partnerships

Hosted in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza in garden city, more than 40 communications media specialists, editors and journalists covered the event that was attended by Egypt Yellow Pages strategic partners: Ministry of state of administrative development – e-Government, Nokia/Navteq, Al Masry Al Youm and Akhbarak.net

The event started with the keynote from Marc Lambert, managing director of Egypt Yellow Pages. The speech was so insightful, Marc explained how our strategic partners will help us enhance the local search services on more platforms by making it available through our partners sites and in the same time focusing on offering location based services which is the future of the local search…

 

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

I had the opportunity then to present some figures and insights about our achievements in 2010, which ended up with us having more than 175,000 business listing in our database out of which 115,000 are geocoded. At the time i am writing this blog post, we have about 180,000 listings and approaching 120,000 geocoded listings… 2010 was also a year that witnesses tripling our website traffic from 400,000 visits per month to over 1.2 million visits, a truly new milestone for local search in Egypt.

 

 

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Our partners were the ones who presented our strategic partnership details to the media, the following were representatives of  our partners:

Mathia Nalappan, General Manager – North Africa, Nokia
Phil McKinnon, Head Of Marketing – North Africa, Nokia
Mohamed Abd El-Jalil, Head Of Solutions Sales – North Africa, Nokia
Sahar Afia, Project Manager – Government Services Development Program, Ministry Of State For Administrative Development
Kismet EL-Sayed, Shareholder / Business Development Director, Al-Masry Al-Youm
Osman Ahmed Osman, Founder, Akhbarak.Net

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Twitter Stats in Egypt

With some huge statistics ranging from 80 million visits per day (reported by ComScore) and 190 million visits (reported by twitter) and more than 110+ million users, there are no clear statistics if any about the activity, stats or number of twitter users from Egypt or even the number of Egyptian tweets.

A world of tweets is a a twitter heat map developed based on sampling from Twitter API, according to the geographical area. So i tried to monitor Egypt, at a time that is expected to be a high peak, it’s 8:45 PM, and Egypt has just beaten Australia 3:0, so i guess many people would like to tweet about the big win of Egyptian national team and the goals of Zidan and Gedo!

I kept the page open for 10 minutes and i was surprised that there was no activity on Egypt area, even though there is activity in some gulf and middle east countries (i wouldn’t say MENA region, since there is no activity in North Africa) like Saudi Arabia and UAE, some African countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Even Liberia!

Twitter heat map just after Egypt Match – No activity in Egypt

3 minutes later i was able to barely spot Egypt, with very little traffic apparently.

Twitter Activity 3 minutes later – Egypt can be seen

Twitter in Egypt is not yet a big thing, i am not saying it is not magnificent, it is indeed a mean of communication used by the blogger and activists, some politician and some major companies and brands in Egypt. However, it has not reached the point where you would find3 or 4 of your 300 or 400 Facebook friends have an account on twitter.

Well, that make my estimate, twitter has 1/100 or less of the number of users Facebook has, Facebook has in Egypt about 4 million users, that makes roughly 40,000 twitter users, …. wonder how of them are active and how much created a twitter account and said: “This is my first tweet” or said something like “I am having Pizza for lunch” and then never used their account again because they didn’t get the idea of it.

Let’s wait and see how things go, but i don’t think twitter in Egypt is taking off any soon. Though i am very proud of the 1,250 twitter follower that Egypt Yellow Pages have today. Putting in mind that our activity is relatively low on twitter, sending tweets a couple of times a week.

Egypt Yellow Pages Twitter Followers

That said, all respects goes to the the active twitter user base who where able to do positive changes, like the pressure that was done on Vodafone Egypt to remove their Abbas Ibn Fernas Ad, which was removed from Vodafone Egypt Official YouTube channel recently. If you want to read more about this topic just login to twitter and search for #VodaFly.

Do you think my estimates are accurate? More or less than the reality? Do you have the real numbers for twitter number of users in Egypt? if you do please share your opinion here.

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Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages Partners with Navteq and Nokia

Turkey Yellow Pages signed a 5 year strategic deal to supply business listing information to NAVTEQ and Nokia global mapping platforms. This is the kind of partnerships that the giant mapping provider Navteq and Nokia are looking for. In these days, the mapping technologies have reached a new level, GPS became a major component in any mobile phone, not less important than a camera. Most new cars are already equipped with in-car navigation systems. Detailed maps are now available for almost anywhere in the planet. Without a detailed map a GPS would be useless.

So the equation that stood for some time was:

GPS + Detailed Maps = Know your way

Now this equation has totally changed, having access to hundreds of thousands of locations for hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations, hospitals, …. definitely means much more. It means you do not need to worry any more about finding a place you want to go to.. All what you need is to decide what you want to do, and the where or how is not a problem anymore.

The new equations is

GPS + Detailed Maps + Business Listing Locations = Find your destination

It is so exciting now that Turkey Yellow Pages data will power up Nokia OviMaps which were offered for free a few days ago.  Nokia OviMaps is now one of the most convenient mobile maps that you could use, not only because it is free now, it’s technology has changed from raster images into vector maps so the application can be downloaded locally to your mobile from Ovi App Store, and it’s size is no more than 8 MB. This includes all the maps installed on your local mobile, no need to keep downloading images from the internet.

Nokia Mobile Search

Back in late 2006, when we developed our Nokia Mobile Search plug-in for Egypt, UAE and KSA Yellow Pages we were so delighted about it, it was a breakthrough for the use of the mobiles in our daily life to find a restaurant or a hotel on the move. One and half years later Nokia decided to drop support for their Mobile Search applications. Their insights were toward mobile maps. Now here comes OviMaps, the new amazing free Nokia mobile mapping platform and again powered by Yellow Pages, the most trusted local search provider as always.

So stay tuned for the upcoming updates from OviMaps which Turkey Yellow Pages will power up its data soon…

Online Media Dominates Traditional Media

Since Q4 2008 it is know that SMB’s use the traditional media and online media equally. Now things has changed. Many SMB’s use electronic media more than the traditional forms.

Very interesting numbers from Kelsey Group

Pay Per Click campaign: Is it successful?

So i took the 60$ credit i have as Google AdWords credit and decided to start a mini-campaign to see how the Pay Per Click advertising model works. Here is the story:

I created a campaign for the Egyptian stock market section that we launched at Yellow Pages, i thought it could use some more traffic. I followed the guidelines and chosen my words and the minimum bidding CPC that google recommends for each word to appear in a good place in the search results page and in the Google partner network websites that are relevant to that topic. After this i specified the daily budget that i want which was 2$ per day that i reduce later to 1$ when i was about to run out of credit later 🙂

Here are some words i have chosen that were approved by google as good traffic words: Egyptian stock market, Egyptian stock market news, Egyptian Bursa, EGX30 prices, Talaat Mostafa Stocks, Mobinil Stocks, ….

CPC was pretty cheap, $0.05 for Egyptain Stock Market, some words were cheaper other words were more expensive…. I’m just gonna focus here on this word…

So everything was set and i got around 80 hits on the first day of campaign July 16th 2009.. The larger portion was coming from Google network website not from Google search results page but it doesn’t matter… very nice, i though i just put this to bed… but i was wrong.. look at the below:

 Google Adwords Traffic

On 17 July, hits dropped to 25, so i opened the control panel to see what was wrong, if found that google suggest me to change the CPC bid amount to $0.07 for Egyptain Stock Market instead of $0.05. I did that and here we go again, hits reached 80’s again.

On 21 July and 27 July, I had to re-adjust the CPC again and again until it reached $0.21 which seemed after this that it was not enough… I just started to give up, i can’t keep monitoring this way on aday to day basis… I have other more important stuff to do than adjusting some keywords CPC… I took a look after a while and i found that the CPC recommeneded by google Passed the $1.10 margin!!

CPC for Keywords

I was paying 5 cents for a keyword and getting good traffic. Now i am paying 21 cents and hardly getting any traffic.. Then i was expected to pay one dollar for each click!! All the credit i have (60$) and was planning to use for one month would now evaporate in one day.

I don’t really understand the pattern, what happened during these 2 weeks that raised the bid amount for Egyptain Stock Market from 5 cents to 1 dollar?? is it really people paying more in that word suddenly, does it make any sense that no one was interested in this word at all and all in a sudden everyone wants it?? or was this some way Google AdWords drag their customers to invest more and more by offering words for a little price at the begining and then gradually increasing the value until it reaches the market amount? i don’t really know but i know 2 things for sure:

  1.  I don’t like PPC model, too much complicated.
  2. Normal end users and SME would find it extremely difficult to manage this on their own unless provided to them by an advertising agency that manages their account. Putting in mind also the special needs of customers in the middle east and that they would rather have someone do these things for them instead of doing it themselves because it is too “technical”. Self provisioning and PPC model might not be the best advertising solution for MEA region.

The Yellow Pages time-based contractual model is simple, efficient and easy. If you compare it to PPC model it is also much more cost-effective.

CPC vs Yearly Contract

In Yellow Pages we are always trying to improve the services we are offering to advertisers by monitoring and analyzing the statistics, logs, impressions, and hits their different ads get. This is why our products are always changing from one canvass to another in the favour of the end user and the advertisers as well.

The advertising services that we offer are based on the contract time, which is one year. It does not depend on the number of impression or hits the investors get. This issue whether we should move to the model of Pay Per Click (PPC), Cost Per Click (CPC), and Pay Per Call (PPCall) are always under consideration.

So which model is better? which model suits the customers in our middle east region? what model would suit SME’s better which makes the greater proportion of the Yellow Pages advertisers in middle east and worldwide?

I will try to answer these questions..