How is the Arabic digital marketing is changing? What is the major changes and how to indicate it?
In the past few years, all internet statistics point towards the Arab world as one of the most booming markets. The region had a massive rise in the numbers of Arabic-speaking people getting online (413 million in 2015).
However, this massive increase doesn’t have a major impact on the digital marketing in the Middle East region anymore. You’ll need to deal with the different facts that will have a greater impact on the market.
The majority are already onboard
The majority of Arabic-speaking people are already online, which means the real matter will shift from the high numbers of followers to the relevancy of your followers. Believe it or not, most of the brands in the region still focused on the hits and likes. RIP the numbers of fans.. It is the time for the real buyers. Show me the money!
Where is the sales? Where is the profit?
Goodbye, the role of “Purely branding” and let’s close some sales. Digital Marketers will have to start considering the profit for their online budgets since companies are not able to see the benefits in the region. The digital strategist should align with the sales in order to fill the gaps with more solid techniques like the relevancy of the content, improving conversion rate, optimizing landing pages and humanization. Digital marketing in the Middle East is not about branding only anymore.
Facebook pages are not effective anymore
The golden times of Facebook pages are gone. In 2014 we all felt it while managing campaigns over the Facebook pages and we all started to see how the numbers of reach are dropping down. Facebook news feed filter is working against you and there is nothing you can do about it.
Marketers will have to come up with new solutions like the Facebook store, optimized landing pages and call to action instead of only focusing on likes and replies.
YouTube is the King
YouTube is mainly considered as a traditional media channel for the marketers in the region. They are still not able to maximize their benefits from video marketing. I have seen some of the startups using video content effectively and promoting their solutions and gaining a lot of attractions and even sales.
Marketers should build more video content for their products and go beyond the mentality of using YouTube as a TV channel for TV Ads. YouTube is eager for more valuable content in Arabic. Let me give an example:
If you are selling electronics and you started to create some reviews videos in Arabic. I believe this will help you sell the product more than just promotional Ads. The Arabic users are more for such interactive solutions.
Instagram is the new trend
People in the region are moving with their pictures to Instagram. A lot of businesses such as fashion, hospitality, food are moving to Instagram and its working. Instagram is now one of the most engaging channels in the region and if you wish to gain more attraction to your images try investing onto Instagram. There are many benefits from Instagram such as hashtags but I believe the great opportunity with Instagram, that it is almost politics free.
The shifting mode of the Arabic audience on Social Media
The most important issue with the social media users in the region is politics. Social media evangelist used to believe that social media played a main role in the Arab Spring. Although, this relation between the Arabic audience and social media already changed over the last year. The Arabic users are now avoiding the political news and potential arguments with their friends on the social media. A lot of users consider it stressful especially with their beloved channels like Facebook. Facebook has turned into a political buzz in the Middle East and this started to drive a lot of people away from the timeline. The same thing started to happen with Twitter since the news channels started to invade it.
The mode of the Arabic user started to drive them away from the traditional social media channels to new channels like Instagram. The marketers should start to study the psychology of Arabic audience and keep on track with the recent changes.
The mobile experience is not a luxury anymore
Do you have your website optimized for touch experiences? Do your pages fit in mobile/tablet display? Do you have large text and touchable big icons and buttons?
Arabic users are now using smartphones and tablets to access the internet and it is a must to consider a fast and easy to navigate website. Dull websites with old design are easy to abandon no matter how competitive products or services you have. If you still an old fashion with an old website, believe me, you are missing a lot of your digital marketing efforts! Your website pages will not help you converting sales.
Humanization and Localization
Every market in the Arab region and the Middle East is different. What works in Dubai doesn’t work in Egypt. The region is not only about outing your content in Arabic and that’s it. Promoting a product for ladies in the Gulf region requires a local lady wearing the traditional clothes and not a lovely blonde model. You need to take each market in the region separately and build a different campaign based on the traditions and trends.
I had a makeup client in UAE who was super angry because we posted an image of a lady with UAE flag colors as a makeup during the Flag Day in UAE. They considered it an insult to the flag. In any other culture, this would be totally fine but certainly not in UAE.
Humanization is one of the main concerns for marketing in the region. In Egypt, a campaign with a sense of humor works better than a neat idea. In Lebanon try to focus on the luxury of the experience while in Dubai you better focus on the short-term trends and new products.
Certainly, the region is still eager for more ideas and you’ll need to stop taking your 2014 and 2013 strategies for granted. I hope that I was able to deliver some of 2015 predictions for the Arabic digital marketers or those who are focused on this market. If you have any thoughts, please shoot and let’s share the ideas.