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Bahrain Online Marketing Country Profile

bahrain online marketing country profile


With one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world at nearly 100%, Bahrain has a rapidly increasing demand for online goods and services. In addition to a high GDP per capita of $29,080, Bahrain has nearly 1.48 million Internet users from both the state itself and foreign nationals, making it an ideal market for diverse online marketing opportunities.


Basic Information on the Kingdom of Bahrain

As with any new online marketing campaign effort, it’s essential to understand the context of the country you’re targeting, so we will start with an introduction into the Kingdom before discussing Bahrain digital marketing.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has a small population of 1,620 million, and over half of that population is non-native. Oil accounts for the vast majority of Bahrain’s income, making up 60% of Bahrain’s exports. The national GDP, which reached USD $47.12 Billion in 2024 with a steady projected growth rate of about 2.7% annually through 2029. After oil, Bahrain’s main exported goods are aluminum and ores, and its top trade partners are Saudi Arabia, China, and the UAE. These lucrative industries keep Bahrain’s economy stable, and it is also bolstered by consistently low unemployment rates. Additionally, Bahrainis enjoy generous subsidies from the state, meaning additional discretionary spending for local families. Bahrain is also making active efforts to diversify its economy, having recently launched a long term plan called Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, with an emphasis on pursuing sustainable economic activities, expanding Bahrain’s reach in the global market, and increasing financial equity within society on a national level.

In terms of politics, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the Al-Khalifa family, though roughly half the government are members of the royal family. The country is predominantly Muslim, with approximately 60% of Shia Muslims and the rest Sunni, including the royal family is Sunni. It is also important to note the population of both native and foreign Christians, who account for approximately 15% of the population. It is critical that any marketing campaign in Bahrain respects the cultural traditions surrounding Islam, but this doesn’t mean a bit of creative marketing won’t be appreciated by the highly modernised and urban population.

Bahrain World Trade Center
Image credit: Todd Gardner




Bahrain’s government enforces fairly strict online censorship practices, as is customary in many of the Gulf countries. There is extensive filtering for pornographic, political, and religious content contra to the opinions of the royal family, with the goal of removing all content that might be inappropriate or politically inflammatory. Censorship is something to consider when launching a marketing campaign in Bahrain, as you will need to make sure all of your marketing content is fully culturally appropriate so it won’t risk being removed by censors.


Bahrain Internet Country Codes


The royal family’s Internet provider Batelco provides top-level domain names in English at various rates. However, .com, .org, and .net sites are far more commonly utilized, with the exception of google.com.bh. Additionally, Bahrain launched the Arabic extension .البحرين (.albahrain) in 2019, which became available for international registration in May 2022. This was a welcome change granted the appeal of Arabic content on the web.


Top Level Domains


Second-Tier Domains








Top Ranking Sites in Bahrain

As per Ahrefs’s 2024 report, the top most-visited websites in Bahrain are:

  1. youtube.com
  2. instagram.com
  3. en.wikipedia.org
  4. facebook.com
  5. edunet.bh
  6. twitter.com
  7. whatsapp.com
  8. ar.wikipedia.org
  9. espncricinfo.com
  10. play.google.com

As you can tell from this list, social media sites are among the most popular searches in Bahrain, in addition to a couple other resource sites like Wikipedia and edunet.bh. We’ll talk about social media use in Bahrain and what it means for online marketing in more detail below.


Get more arab customers in Bahrain

Top Ranking Region-Specific Websites in Bahrain

Apart from the sites listed above, here are the top local domain websites in Bahrain:

  1. Google.com.bh
  2. bahrain.bh (Government Services)
  3. moe.gov.bh (Ministry of Education)
  4. lmra.gov.bh (Labor Market Regional Authority)
  5. uob.edu.bh (University of Bahrain)
  6. bfc.com.bh (Money Transfer/Currency Exchange)
  7. dubizzle.com.bh (E-commerce)
  8. bna.bh (Bahrain News Agency)
  9. evisa.gov.bh (Visa Services)
  10. stc.com.bh (Telecoms/Internet Provider)

It is also worth noting that there are a lot of popular sites in Bahrain that represent the high expat demographic from Southeast Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan such as urdopoint.com, indiatimes.com, dailypakistan.com.pk, and manoramaonline.com.


E-commerce logos


E-Commerce in Bahrain

Bahrain is jumping on the e-commerce train, along with the rest of the MENA region. The e-commerce market size brought USD $491.9 Million in 2023, with expected growth rates of close to 10% annually throughout the next five years.

The top e-commerce sites in Bahrain right now are:

  1. Amazon.com
  2. hm.com/bh/ (H&M)
  3. AliExpress.com
  4. Talabat.com/bahrain/
  5. Namshi.com/bahrain/

Currently, the biggest demand in the Bahrain e-commerce market is for Hobby and Leisure products, closely followed by Electronics, Fashion, and Furniture and Homeware. The market for online grocery shopping is also growing with the rise of quick delivery options provided by sites like Talabat.


Search Engine Marketing in Bahrain


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Google is by far the most popular search engine in Bahrain, though specific statistics are unavailable. There are two versions of the www.google.com.bh site, in English that is left to right, and in Arabic that is right to left. Both are hosted on the same site, and are changeable with a button below the search bar. This means that both SEO and PPC marketing options are available in English, and in Arabic.





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 State of SEO in Bahrain


Searches in Bahrain are in both English and Arabic, but barely over half the population is from the Arab region, meaning searches in Arabic and effectively equal to searches in English. In the section on e-commerce above, you’ll notice that all the top sites have easy options to view the page in English or Arabic, as you can see in the top-left corner of this screenshot from the Namshi.com home page.

Namshi.com website

To look at the question of language as it relates to Bahrain SEO in a little more detail, we conducted a comparison of organic search metrics for the top ranking websites in Bahrain for the keywords “Hotels” and “Cars for Sale” on Google. These comparisons serve as an example of the differences in link authority for localized websites versus highly competitive international websites.


“Hotels” in the US vs. “Hotels” in Bahrain




“Cars for Sale” in the US vs. “Cars for Sale” in Bahrain


These two charts demonstrate how much easier Bahrain SEO is since it is less competitive for a website to rank on Google in Bahrain than on Google in the US. The Moz Page Authority rank is a measurement of predicted page ranking potential based off of all metrics, and the numbers indicate that it requires far fewer links to rank in Bahrain than for a site in the US, if the site is geo-targeted for Bahrain.

Get more arab customers in Bahrain


State of PPC in Bahrain


The Pay Per Click market in Bahrain is dominated by Google Adwords, and there is far less competition for most markets than in the States. PPC is still growing in Bahrain, especially for geo-targeted campaigns. Despite the small market, Bahrain has unique opportunities to reach native Bahrainis, expatriates, and visitors from other GCC countries.


Analyzing the PPC Differences between the US and Bahrain


We performed a comparison between google.com.bh and google.com using two popular search queries for “Toyota” and “iPhone 15” to investigate the differences between PPC marketing in the US and in Bahrain. When searching for “Toyota” Arabic in Bahrain, there are no paid search results- it’s just organic search results and a map with retailers.


Toyota Google Search


If we perform the same search in English in the States, we get very different results with at least 2 different Adwords ads, and only one organic search that shows up without scrolling down the page. This is a good indicator of the drastically different levels of competitiveness in the two markets, and the opportunities present in Bahrain to deliver a strong online marketing campaign.



When we perform the same search comparison for the new iPhone 15, the situation changes a bit. Now, the Bahrain-based search is showing a variety of ads display first, which highlights how popular of an item the iPhone is. This also shows that while the Bahrain PPC market lacks a lot of competition in some areas, certain sectors like electronics tend to be more competitive so if that’s what your selling, you will need to make sure your ads really stand out.

iphone 15 arabic google search

As you can see below, the US-based search for the iPhone 15 resembled the Bahrain-based search much more than the Toyota comparison above.

iphone 15 google search

Don’t let this competition worry you – instead, take it as a sign that the Bahrain e-commerce market is really thriving. With a strategic SEO and PPC approach, you can certainly reap the opportunities of this market.


Geo-Targeting Opportunities in Bahrain


Though Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East, there are still a few geo-targeting opportunities on the archipelago. Across the Kingdom, there are pockets of urbanized populaces with both expatriates and locals, but the most important is the capital of Manama.



Image of Manama Bahrain
Image credit: Charles-Adrien Fournier


The population is concentrated most heavily in the capital of Manama, with around 200,000 people in the city proper. Manama is the centre of business activity in Bahrain, and is highly developed, with a diverse array of enterprises, malls, and construction. Since it is the hub of the country’s activities, it’s an important marketing opportunity.


Other Cities in Bahrain to Consider Targeting:



Day Kulayb

Madinat Hamad


Saudi Arabian Tourism


Bahrain is a popular destination for Saudi tourists thanks to the King Fahd Causeway that was built to branch the Western Saudi mainland with the island of Bahrain. In 2023, Bahrain officially became the top destination for Saudi Arabian tourists, with over 1.43 million tourists visiting just in the first half of the year. Generally, they come to vacation for short periods of time, spending large amounts of money on non-essential items such as hotels, entertainment, insurance, food, and accommodations. The influx of wealthy tourists into Bahrain from Saudi presents a unique and highly valuable marketing opportunity. As Saudis search for restaurants, cinemas, and hotels online and on their mobiles, there are many different platforms for a strategic online marketing campaign. It would be extremely beneficial to try and target this population as they escape to Bahrain for vacation.


Social Media in Bahrain




With the highest Internet penetration rate in the Middle East, it’s unsurprising that social media rates are also through the roof: according to DataReportal’s 2024 Bahrain report, 97.2% of the population is active on social media. The top sites are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and X (Twitter). The same report also shows that over 68% of the population made at least one online payment in the past year, highlighting the growing shift towards e-commerce. Given the popularity of social media there is great potential for wide ad reach, meaning that a creative online marketing campaign that incorporates social media ads can be very lucrative.


Mobile Marketing in Bahrain


With an Internet penetration rate of nearly 100%, it’s unsurprising that mobile phones are quite popular in Bahrain. In 2023, there were over 1.5 times the amount of mobile phone connections as people in Bahrain. Not all of these subscriptions are for smartphones, but between the residents of Bahrain and the tourism industry, it’s important to consider a mobile campaign. It is especially important to have a website that adapts to popular mobile devices, such as iPhone and Android. Since not all smartphones are created equally, adaptability is key.


Online Display Advertising in Bahrain


Display- advertising on search engines is increasing in prevalence throughout the MENA region, and Bahrain is no different. This young population has a lot of consumer potential. Pay-per click advertising is a form of display advertising where businesses “bid” for ad space in a search query by offering a certain amount to pay for each “click” on their ad. Though this can be an excellent strategy to use for advertising in Bahrain, especially because of the country’s high smartphone penetration, it’s also a tricky gamble. Companies need the technical and cultural knowledge to carefully design ads and appropriate bids to guarantee revenues.


Seasonal Promotion Times


Public holidays in Bahrain are listed below. It should be noted that the dates of Islamic holidays change yearly based on the lunar calendar. These holidays serve as beneficial online marketing opportunities to connect with the local population, and take advantage of the festive spirit.


January 1: New Year’s Day

May 1: Public Holiday

Ramadan (Varies based on Lunar Calendar)

Eid al-Fitr (Varies based on Lunar Calendar)

Eid al-Adha (Varies based on Lunar Calendar)

Muharram (Varies based on Lunar Calendar)

Ashura (Varies based on Lunar Calendar)

November 21-28: White Friday

December 16-17: National Day



The Kingdom of Bahrain is a highly modernised, urban society with many potential online opportunities for marketing and business. Despite the small population, the country has a high GDP per capita, a diverse demographic population, and interesting tourism activity. As of now, the online marketing of Bahrain is relatively underdeveloped, with both SEO and PPC opportunities that should be exploited for a significant expansion into the market.

Do you need help with your Bahrain internet marketing strategy and execution?



Other MENA Country Profiles

Online Marketing in Saudi Arabia The Ultimate Egypt Online Marketing Guide
Oman Online Marketing Country Profile Jordan Online Marketing Country Profile
Iraq Online Marketing Country Profile Online Marketing in the UAE and Dubai


Updated by:

Jordan Boshers

Jordan Boshers is the Chief Digital Strategist at IstiZada, a digital agency that helps companies market to Arabs. He has 10+ years of experience running successful digital marketing campaigns in the Arab world. His insights into Arabic SEO helped him grow previously unknown websites to dominate Arabic niches on Google including growing one site from 0 to more than 1 million users monthly. Jordan has consulted for hundreds of companies including helping corporations like Amazon, Berlitz, and Exxon Mobil with their Arabic digital marketing. Learn more here or on LinkedIn.