Digital Marketing in Middle East: Five trends that matter in 2015

Digital Marketing - March 4th, 2015

Change is the only constant. And if you are into digital media marketing, your only option is to move quickly and adapt to changes before others, who are also trying to target the same audience, do it.

Middle East is not a single market; it consists of several markets with audiences from different nationalities, different cultures and different languages. Targeting them isn’t an easy task.

If you are a media planner trying to target audiences in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, you need to have some basics right – videos, Arabic-first, forums, Twitter, Kooora.com etc.

At the most matured level, with adtech getting into mainstream marketer’s handbook in 2014, digital advertising has started to show early signs of maturity. At a second level, smaller brands that started experimenting in 2014, with Facebook, Google Display Network and YouTube TrueView (‘skip ads’ as known in this market) have realised that they can achieve commendable results with measurable outcome. At a third level, there are marketers waiting to test the waters. So, convincing clients on what to do is as complex as it gets!

Overall the combination of technology and data has become powerful in marketing. Beyond the wave of programmatic buying and RTB, 2015 is going to be the year when digital marketing enters mainstream in the Middle East.

Although it is practically impossible to pin down a specific pattern in the region, this post aims to chronicle the main shifts that should dominate a matured digital marketing manager’s agenda in 2015.

1)  Personalized Marketing : Thanks to tools like Criteo and Vizury, personalization has made its way into marketing. These real-time and result driven ads, which are already a game changer for the e-commerce sector, will find more takers from other performance driven campaigns in sectors like insurance, travel etc.

2) Native advertising : Relatively a new tool in the market, brands should start exploring Native advertising as an efficient and effective vehicle to seed their content & reach and engage with an ever-better connected Arab audience. Early adopters include the fashion and beauty segment, which are booming industries in the region especially Dubai. Global players like Yahoo, Adyoulike, AdZouk and home grown platforms like Connate are already making noise in this market.

But the big question is how many brands ‘can’ think like a publisher in this part of the world? Brand marketers will have to shift gears and adopt content strategy as a key element of their marketing strategy.  Lulu Good Life, a lifestyle blog by Lulu Hypermarket (#client) is one of the early examples of putting brands content in the centre. We constantly create content that is searchable, supportable, shareable, specialist and sustainable.

3) Geo-targeted mobile advertising : Middle East Smartphone users are regarded as some of the most active and dedicated worldwide. There is a growing appeal for mobile advertising in the region, but marketers are not yet ready to give it the importance it deserves.

We personally feel that there’s an Arabic-speaking market ready for more localized mobile advertising and applications. Not surprisingly, there has been a spurt in hyper local apps entering the mobile market last year.

Marketers who have tried several online channels (including email) know very well how effective Google Mobile Search is in this market. In UAE alone, according to industry estimates, the largest contributing segment of the online advertising industry would continue to be search and social media, with a share of 44.0% in 2017.

4)The rise of video content : Markets like Saudi breath video content. When the video ‘No Woman, No Drive‘ broke new records on YouTube and went viral with 10 million views in its first two weeks, it was not a surprise. It is estimated that 44% of Saudi residents watch YouTube at least once a day.

Marketers were late, but they’ve realised this magical phenomenon and have jumped into the video bandwagon.

It is not just a YouTube story. Local channels like UTURNent in Saudi Arabia recently claimed that 70% of their viewership comes from mobile users. Put both these trends together and we can expect more video content and more mobile video ads this year.

5)Year of e-commerce : Online behaviour in the Middle East is evolving rapidly and consumers are making wiser choices when it comes to shopping online.  After the initial wave of Souqs and JadoPados, we now have an impressive line-up of traditional brick and mortar retailers looking to add an e-commerce channel.

Even if half of these guys manage to get online in 2015, it will bring in interesting maturity and excitement to the e-commerce segment.



Digital Marketing in the Middle East: The Trends That Matter – ePRNews

January 27, 2017 at 12:21 PM

[...] also becoming increasingly important in areas such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In fact, digital marketing in the Middle East is showing some interesting trends that really transform the [...]

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