The future of digital marketing in the #MENA region

video marketing

This article was written by Miguel Rojas who works for Beyond 190 Studio, a media production company based in Dubai that has clients all over the Middle East.  Beyond 190 has specialized in offering video production services that include corporate films, documentaries and tv commercials among others.

It seems like the past couple of years have been key for the development of digital marketing in the Middle East. Although, a great majority of marketers in the MENA region still rely most of their marketing budget in traditional advertising methods such as newspaper advertising, live events and even direct mail, the new online marketing techniques have seduced many marketers in the region.

Social media has grown significantly during the past few years, and it is no longer used only by big brands. According to E-consultancy, 20% of companies in the Middle East invest heavily on Social Media, and in comparison, only 12% have never used it for promotional purposes. Together with social platforms, email marketing and pay-per-click advertising are the most important online channels nowadays.

A new challenge

While most marketers are still trying to adapt to these new channels, technology keeps moving forward and people change their behavior to consume digital media. The Middle East, especially the UAE, Barhain and Saudi Arabia have very high numbers in smartphone and mobile broadband penetration.  Also, some countries like Egypt have an impressive percentage of Mobile Ecommerce, with 80% of smartphone users buying at least once a month from their device. This is a great opportunity for companies to target their target audience, but also a major challenge.

Numbers indicate that in the next few years there will be two clear trends involving mobile marketing:

  1. Local Search: more than 80% of searches performed from a mobile device have a local intent.  This means that, most cases users that search from their mobiles will be trying to find a service around them. The most typed keywords are related to restaurants, financial services or legal services. For that reason, it is not surprising to know that mobile advertising impressions have significantly grown during 2012.
  2. Video marketing: watching digital media, particularly video, is one of the most common activities of smartphone users.  Video marketing has traditionally been left out of the marketing strategy of many companies due to its high cost. Video sharing platforms has solved this problem for most of the businesses, since they don´t need to spend large amounts of money in order to give visibility to their corporate videos or commercials. Besides, given it´s more interactive and visual nature, it has proven to be highly effective in driving conversions. This is due to the statistic that more than 90% of shoppers found video useful in making purchase decisions. Online video is accountable for almost 40% of the mobile data traffic in the region, and it is predicted to keep on growing over the next few years.

All these facts haven´t been disregarded by marketers in the region. Surveys show that 61% of advertisers in the region plan to increase their mobile marketing efforts while 56% plan to increase their spending in online video marketing.

It seems like the next few years are going to be interesting for this industry, with new technologies changing the rules of the game year after year, and marketers trying to keep up with the new trends. Are you ready for the challenge?

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These posts have been added by guest contributors from different backgrounds with extensive knowledge and experience in their fields.