The 13th of August marks the start of Dhul Hijjah, the month where millions of Muslims descend to Mecca for pilgrimage (also known as Hajj).  This year, it is reported that Saudi will be hosting close to 2 million pilgrims from around the world for Hajj season.

In August alone, there have been over 275,000 social media conversations around the topic of Hajj globally (almost 169,000 in the month of Dhul Hijjah).

We analyzed the level of engagement around Hajj online. The following insights present you with key social media highlights on the topic.

Top Languages on Social Media

Although the topic gained lots of traction globally, Arabic remains the top language used on social media around the hashtag (73%). Followed by English (21%) and Indonesian (2%).

In 2017, Indonesia had the highest number of pilgrims heading to Hajj globally (221,000 pilgrims).

Some of the trending topics and keywords on social media around Hajj include the viral video of the security guard in Mecca who took off his shoes for an old lady in the Grand Mosque.

Trending themes on social media (around the topic of Hajj)

The Hajj Security Forces

Another trending topic on social media was the annual parade organized by KSA’s Hajj Security Forces, which garnered over 5,000 mentions online in August alone. The annual parade often takes place before Hajj season and sees the Saudi security forces simulate responses to a variety of security scenarios for the public. The minister of interior, Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz was also in attendance and was mentioned over 2500 times on social media in relation to the parade and Hajj.

Technology & The Hajj Hackathon

It’s no secret that the Saudi government is working towards making Hajj a ‘smarter’ experience for all pilgrims. According to Laila Mousa, Meltwater’s Director of Special Projects “Year on year, we’ve seen Saudi adopt new technologies to make the Hajj experience smoother and more efficient.”

Since the beginning of August, there have been over 5,200 mentions of keywords such as “smart” and “technology” in relation to Hajj.

The Guinness world record breaking #HajjHackathon had a big role to play this year in specific. The Hackathon saw over 2,900 developers come together from around the world (the largest group to date). The Hackathon also gained over 52,300 mentions on social media during the event alone (August 1-3 2018).

“It was inspiring to see a team of four women emerge as the winners of the Hajj Hackathon. In an industry that is mainly male-dominated, it’s admirable when women challenge stereotypes and break the glass ceiling globally and in the Kingdom especially” Laila added.

When analyzing the topic of Hajj on social media based on geography, we find that Saudi Arabia generates the most mentions (31%), followed by the United States (2%) and United Kingdom (1.5%).


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