The Arabic language becoming the 4th language on the Internet and the need for targeting the Arabic consumer is rapidly increasing. Marketers always believe that launching a paid search campaign is one of the most effective ways to generate online sales in as little as few days. Yet, the Arabic PPC management is technically not an easy task and could be sometimes very tricky.

To localize your search engine advertising campaigns, you will need to understand many factors such as the difference between Arabic slangs and popular keywords for each country, landing pages optimization for campaigns and Arabic copywriting for the ads.

How to Manage the Arabic Search Engine Advertising

There are several important tips and variables to consider before targeting the Middle East markets with Arabic search engine advertising campaign such as Google AdWords.

Outsource or In-house?

The first question that might get you confused; what is best option to run a campaign, professional agency or in-house? To answer this question, I have to declare some terrifying facts about this business.

  • I have seen some of the advertising agencies managing campaigns for two or three competitors and not telling about it. There is a conflict in this situation and it is not secure to share data with the agency.
  • Some of the clients don’t have KPIs and they don’t really screen the service provider carefully.
  • In-house teams are not having enough expertise with PPC practices or sometimes they are expats with no in-country experiences.
  • There are numerous PPC advertisers in the market and some of them claim to offer the best services, but not all of them live up to their own promises.

Practically, there is no ideal choice for this situation. My best advice for you is: Get involved! Don’t just hire an agency without understating the market or the results. Your marketing team should be involved in the process of keywords research, target segmentation and even the Ads copywriting. And most importantly, set your KPIs and ROI properly based on your research.

Study the Local Competition

It is no secret that the competition in Arabic AdWords is not highly competitive in many sectors. There is an open opportunity for businesses. The most competitive firms are limited to real estate, hotels, automotive, e-commerce, and electronics while there is no real competition in other firms. The good news about this, that with a small budget you can drive successful results in the local market. However, studying the local market might lead you to drop PPC and go with another approach. Based on the results you can determine even if you need an Arabic paid search or not. I had a B2B company tried Arabic PPC for a while but when I recommended an English campaign targeting the region, they were able to generate 300% increase in the leads. My recommendation was based on the market research that indicated English as the favorite language for business in the Middle East.

Arabic Keywords Research

The Arabic language has almost three times more words than English. The Arabic keywords may sometimes have multiple meanings which generate a major challenge for keywords and relevancy. Another problem with using the Arabic language online is that different regions within the Arab World use different words to explain the same thing. This might be tricky in finding and retrieving relevant keywords that help to target your consumer. For example, for the term “properties” could be “عقارات”, “منازل”, “مساكن” or “بيوت”. Each Arabic market is different; KSA is not using the same Arabic keywords like Egypt. Based on local search volume, consumer behavior, and market nature you have to determine which keyword would benefit your campaign.

Set the Right Settings

Don’t target the whole region as one big chunk. After you study the market and conduct a solid keywords research you will need to set different settings and bidding strategy for each country. Devices, Seasonal Occasions, demographics, and budget could be very different for each Arabic market. Pay attention to the local trends in the market and as well the public holidays and traditions. Target your local segmentations effectively with separate personalized campaigns. Make sure you use the extensions and you are ready with local salespeople to engage with customers. Pay attention to Mobile advertising as most of the market users are using mobile internet.

Original, not Translation

If you are translating your keywords and Ads into Arabic, then you are screwed. Trust me, don’t fall for such huge mistake. Remember always that you are paying for each click. Your list of keywords needs an advanced local research in order to generate the right leads. Invest money and time in researching the search volume for the local market and create original Ads with from the scratch.

Surprisingly, most of the Arabic paid Ads I see every day are too generic and trashy. Advertisers repeat the same Ads over and over with few tweaks. As well, some are just providing translated copies that make no sense. The quality of the Ad copy is a major step to win the competition.

Optimize the Landing Pages

Remember what we said about the original content? Now add to that the converting content. Don’t throw your money on clicks that don’t lead to a real action “hint; sale”!

If your Arabic Ads are leading to English landing page, don’t expect the right results. Your landing page is your sales desk, your display window, your sales numbers and your conversion hot spot. Optimize the Arabic SEO for each landing pages you are targeting in order to increase the quality score which would lead to better ranking and more cost-effective bidding.

Each group of Ads and keywords should lead to the relevant landing page with engaging content and call-to-action (CTA). Invest in creating compelling Arabic pages that would add a value and help in converting leads. Empty Arabic pages with just an image of the product and two lines, will not help your campaign. Optimize your landing pages for the Arabic user’s experience and step ahead of the competition. Always measure the pages analytics and the time spent on the page and don’t only rely on the PPC analytics.

Conclusion: Over the years, I have seen a lot of Arabic SEM throwing money on unworthy and irrelevant clicks. Having a budget for search engine marketing doesn’t mean you should simply launch one. There are many misconceptions regarding Arabic search advertising, which you have to fully address. The Middle East markets are very different in the terms of competition level, culture, and consumer behavior.

Get involved and do your homework to achieve successful sales results with your campaign’s budget. Put in mind that at the end of the day, ROI is what you’ll have to show to the investors and stakeholders.

Published by Yasser Ahmad

Yasser Ahmad is an independent digital marketing consultant and marketing strategist with a Master's degree in Data Analytics & Marketing. Yasser is a certified member of the CIM and holds and has over 16 years of experience in managing marketing strategies and consulting brands in EMEA, USA, and APAC. Specialized in Marketing Analytics, MarTech, Growth Hacking, Automation, and Performance Marketing.

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