By Nada Enan, Head of Communications, Instagram – MENA 

Every year, during Ramadan, families here in the Middle East and around the world come together and celebrate. It is a month marked by generosity, kindness and empathy. At Instagram, Ramadan is a key cultural moment. We saw over 16 million uses of the word ‘Ramadan’ on Instagram in 2019 alone. This year, in the month leading up to the start of the Ramadan, we saw references hit 4 million. In parallel, we also saw 40 per cent growth in the usage of the word “kindness” across the world. 

Nada Enan – Instagram

When this year started, our plan was to amplify that immense sense of goodwill to create a movement of kindness on the platform. We wanted Instagram to showcase the stories of Ramadan. Our mood board was bursting with images of community, compassion and celebration – people breaking fast together, enjoying Suhour together, supporting those who in need and finding common ground. 

However, as we closed in on Ramadan, we were increasingly faced with the prospect of a socially distanced Holy Month, that made several of our tactics – from a media Iftar to an Ideas of Good card set – redundant. So, we took a step back and introspected. Should we cancel this campaign? No. Should we overhaul it and focus on something smaller and focused, like donations, using similar tactics? Maybe. Or should we stick to our original idea but change our tactics to make in an online-first campaign? Yes. 

We are currently wrapping up – #MonthofGood – our Ramadan campaign, which has seen an overwhelmingly positive reaction on the platform, with the support of creators like Huda Kattan, Ahmed Helmy, Yousra, Rawan bin Hussain and many more. What helped us pivot successfully was our commitment to the original insight that Ramadan is time when kindness peaks on the platform. There is no time like this one to start a global movement of kindness. 

Under the circumstances, what helped us was aligning our messaging and content for an online audience and leveraging the assets we already had, such as Instagram Live to host media interviews with our spokespeople and content creators, to spread the messages far and wide. 

Through all this, we did not take our eyes off the goalpost, which was to inspire a movement of kindness. To this end we introduced capabilities on the platform that enabled donations, promoted SMBs and celebrated frontline workers. And people donated, collaborated and created a movement of kindness. 

As we wrap up this year’s campaign, I am proud to have been part of an initiative that, irrespective of  the challenges of the time – was still about community, compassion and celebration – just as we had originally planned.