Egyptians increasingly embrace social media as the use of Facebook increased by 8 points, WhatsApp by 12 points, YouTube by 13 points, and Instagram by 17 points (2017: 47 percent Facebook, 38 percent WhatsApp, 35 percent YouTube, 21 percent Instagram). Twitter is at only 11 percent in 2017.
There are no audience measurement organisations to bring out accurate data about audience behavior, yet according to interviews with senior level managers of public and private newspapers, social media networks come second after search engines for the users to access content. Facebook is the most used social network. According to the Arab Social Media Report published in March 2017, about 30 million Egyptians are using Facebook, 1.7 million users are using Twitter (second in the Arab World after Saudi Arabia), and around 800,000 users are on Instagram (third in the Arab World after Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates).
Most of the newspaper entities have social media teams to monitor the level of interactivity on the social media platforms, especially audience comments (as the commenting option is closed on the official websites), and to monitor the stories that have the highest share on the social media platforms to measure audiences’ feedback. Some newspapers allocate certain budgets for the audiences’ analytics, to measure if the users are coming directly from the website or social media platforms, and understand their behavior on the website in terms of the pages that are browsed and stories that attract them.
It is worth mentioning that the popularity and the impact of the digital media in general and of social networks specifically, allow the government to have a strong presence on the platform. The Egyptian cabinet has a dynamic Facebook page where all the activities of the cabinet are posted; it also developed a section where it posts corrections on any spreading rumors on its Facebook page to ensure that the posts reach the target audience.