Arabic Google Ads: How To Improve The Audience Engagement With Ads

Google Ads in Arabic language is considered one of the main digital marketing channels to reach the Arabic audience. Eventually, setting up the Google Ads in Arabic requires key essential practices to make sure you are not burning through your money without reaching your targeted consumer segment.

Starting with proper planning and effective paid ads strategy will help in setting up the Google Ads account effectively. Therefore, I will provide the main top practices to increase your engagement rate!

Firstly and foremost, what I will explain next focuses on Arabic SEM related tactics and I will not talk about the generic ones. Many others have already trod this path before.

1. Think Arabic When It Comes To Your AdCopy

It is the first time the user lays eyes on your brand. Believe me, you do not want to send a first wrong message. The Arabic language is not easy, so Google translate will not really help you to craft a good Google ad. You will need a human to help you generate an authentic message through your ad copy so that you will deliver the right message and boost the engagement rates with your audience. Let’s have a look at one example below:

Below are two ads triggered when you search for the keyword “Book a flight” in Arabic. As an Arabic native speaker, I can clearly see that the first ad is written by someone who understands Arabic well while the second sounds really like a machine translation. Even though it is still Arabic, the second ad lacks coherence and it is full of ambiguity. It totally gives me a wrong impression about the brand, also I do not know what I should expect to see on the landing page if I decide to click on the ad. So, if you want the right audience to click your search ads, make sure that you write an ad copy that is clear, coherent, and can define your own brand.

Google Ads in Arabic

2. How to Optimize The Arabic Keywords Match Type?

No matter what match type strategy are you following, whether it is Exact, Phrase, or BMM Match type. You need to pay extra attention to the fact that due to the Arabic language complexity, the same Arabic keyword can have several prefixes or/and suffix attached to it, the thing that can change the meaning of the word but Google Ads will consider it just one word. For instance:

The keyword “تصليح جوال” which means “repair my mobile” can have multiple versions as follows:

تصليح جوالي , تصليح الجوال , تصليح الجولات , تصليح جواله

Those four terms might look the same but they slightly have different meaning and you cannot be really sure how the close variants of Google Ads will work in your Arabic keywords. So, my advice is to keep testing different match types for the same keywords and keep a close eye on the search term report to add/remove keywords as needed until you reach the best version and match type of your target keywords

3- How To Optimze The Negative Keywords List?

I have an example here of some Arabic ads triggered by the “Booking Private flight” search query in Arabic.

Arabic negative keywords

First ad translation:

  • Booking a private flight. Get quotations now
  • we promise you the highest standard of luxury, privacy, and safety………………………..etc.

Second ad translation:

  • Flights to Cairo, book flights for Egyptians.
  • Book now return flights to Egypt……… etc

What happened here is that I was searching for a private flight and two ads were triggered, the first one is offering the exact service I am really looking for but the second ad is actually not offering PRIVATE flights but just normal public flights. The issue here is that the word “Private” in Arabic should have been added to the negative keywords list in the second ad so that it will prevent their ads from triggering when a user searches for a private flight. This explains why a strong negative Arabic keywords list can save the day and hence save your money too. Thus, make sure to conduct solid Arabic keywords research that taps into all possible negative keywords.

4- Localize The Arabic Ads Efficiently

This might really sound straightforward ! You are now probably saying, “Yeah, I know I have to localize my Google ads into the target language”. This is not that simple though because Arabic language is spoken by 22 different countries and each country has its own version of Arabic and as a result each Arabic country has a its own unique way to search online in Google. For instance the word “Car” in Arabic can be searched online differently based on what Arabic country you are from;

  • Users from Egypt will use the word: عربية
  • Users from Saudi Arabia will use the word: سيارة

Because of those differences, you need to treat the AdCopy, keywords in Arabic localization a bit differently. So, what you can do here is to either use standard Arabic which is common and widely understood between all Arabic counties and this will be a good solution or really learn the differences between the same word or term in the specific Arabic country and this will be a better solution.

5- Why Your Arabic Keyword Research Went Really Wrong?

I have worked on dozens of Arabic Google ads accounts and the most common thing between them is lots of irrelevant keywords and the conclusion I came to is that all keywords research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and etc do not really work efficiently when it comes to the Arabic language. I have no clue why, but they sometimes really screw the keyword research. You would see inaccurate numbers about the search volumes as well as those tools will be missing lots of local potential keywords.

This will result in building irrelevant keywords in your account, leading to less engagement from your right audience. My recommendation here is to add one more step after using the keywords research tool which is to conduct manual keyword research to capture the real keywords that your target audience would engage with. This will help you to bridge the gap between automated keywords research and relevant target keywords.

Mastering the Arabic Google Ads

While the paid search and display is considered as one of the most effective tactics in reaching the Middle East customers, there is still a gap in the market when it comes to localization of the campaigns. Eventually, Google Ads doesn’t provide specific guidelines for the Arabic Ads and the performance teams and paid search specialists would need to expand their efforts by sharing the experience. Accordingly, this article discussed some of the main practices that could help in managing the Arabic Google Ads.

Hopefully, this helped you understand the uniqueness of the Arabic language when it comes to Google ads and PPC & SEM in general. Stay tuned! Many more tips on how to manage and optimize your Arabic Google Ads campaign are on the way.

The State of Programmatic Advertising in APAC in 2017

In APAC, programmatic is still in its early stage in several emerging markets, but more mature markets are beginning to compete with the US market adoption rates.

It is critical to have a different analysis for the APAC market based on the diversity of the region. The findings could vary within the region which requires enhanced research in order to have a better understanding.

While Australia and New Zealand are the most advanced markets in the region with an average of 50% programmatic rate, as well as the highest adoption of PMPs, the rate is very low for other countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. Furthermore, the region still has publishers from traditional media background who are still not ready for programmatic.

To better understand the state of programmatic advertising in APAC, let’s dig deeper and explore the top programmatic trends in the region during 2017 and what is to expect in the future.

#1 The programmatic in APAC is reaching a new milestone

APAC leads global ad spend growth globally and is to grow up to 33.4% of the global figure by the next year 2019, according to Zenith’s latest forecasts. According to Magna, digital Ad spend across APAC increased by 5.6% in 2017 to reach $156bn.

The huge increase in Ad spend is driving programmatic in APAC market to reach a new milestone. According to the forecast, programmatic spending reached $56 billion in 2017, surpassing the programmatic spend in North America. Moreover, the gap between APAC and US in respect to programmatic information is closing so we can expect to see APAC programmatic growth in line with US trends in the coming years.

programmatic apacAccording to MAGNA, APAC region has the 2nd largest programmatic markets in the world, China as well as the 3rd biggest market, Japan. Furthermore, the region also presents some of the highest growth rates in global programmatic markets such as Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. According to Ad agencies, 93% of marketers in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore are investing in programmatic advertising with almost 32% of companies dedicate more than 50% of their digital advertising to programmatic.

According to DoubleClick Ad Exchange, The top five countries in the world with the fastest-growing Programmatic Direct adoption rates are all in the APAC region: Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and India.

Would it be the turning point in the history of advertising? As the technology infrastructure is catching up with the global market and different AdTech platforms evolve locally to help marketers better understand the users, I am expecting APAC to become the center of programmatic evolution in 2018.

#2: The diversity of the region is shaping the programmatic demand

The diversity of consumer patterns, publishers and local networks across the region is the main factor that is impacting programmatic in APAC. The demand for programmatic as the most reliable solutions for digital advertisers to access the local markets with an effective strategy requires customized tactics.

Google is still the easiest and most popular solution for a lot of the publishers in the region who tend to rely on DoubleClick for Publishers and Ad Exchange. Due to lack the ad tech people, skills or ad operations, so they find Google is an ideal solution.

However, the situation is totally different when it comes to China. According to Eslam El Swedey, Digital Marketing Manager at Curvature Singapore “Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and iPinYou are playing the main role in China’s programmatic market. IPinYou will continue to grow in the coming year to become one of the top players”. This is not the only case, for instance, Japan’s 90% of the market belongs to Dentsu and Hakuhodo.

Businesses understand that accessing the APAC market require a flexible approach and dealing with a variety of providers to get the best projected RTB solutions.

3# Singapore is becoming the digital advertising and programmatic hub

Some people refer to Singapore as “Easy Asia” and I can’t agree more. Significantly, most of the international headquarters are settling at Singapore with their marketing and business development in APAC region. While the competition is expected to intensify with Hong Kong and Shanghai to access the China market, Singapore remains the best choice as a digital advertising hub. Among the most strategic reasons is to benefit from advertising giants such as Facebook and Google who might have several limitations in a city like Shanghai.

Another main advantage of Singapore as advertising hub is money. As huge budgets that need to be paid for advertising, the secure financial system and stable exchange rates in Singapore provides an ideal situation for billions of dollars industry.

In the last few years, we have seen more and more advertising giants, DSPs, Publishers and AdTech agencies expanding rapidly in Singapore. Furthermore, Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser, are moving their regional power bases to Singapore. We expect to see a major increase in programmatic adoption and advertising technologies coming out of Singapore and targeting the whole APAC region.

programmatic singapore

#4 Programmatic still challenging in APAC with majority of consumers buy offline

Programmatic SEAAccording to Google research study which was published at in July 2017, the majority of countries within the APAC still buy offline. The study examines how consumers in APAC research and buy products for financial services and baby care and the findings are not a big surprise especially for Singaporean marketers.

Programmatic is still struggling with the providing a profitable alternative to advertisers. The challenge is bigger with markets like Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Singapore which doesn’t have the full potential yet for online conversion.  However, the researchers expect the programmatic to grown in SEA region driven by a potential increase in online shopping.

Certainly, some industries in the APAC market are already fully relying on programmatic such as travel, other industries such as services are struggling with the programmatic conversion rates. Singapore as an example has a small geography which that contributes to why marketers still not investing in programmatic and prefer traditional mediums with a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

#5: Mobile growth is driving the programmatic in APAC

Mobile is driving the highest growth in impressions in APAC region, which is generating a high demand for programmatic. According to DoubleClick Ad Exchange, there was over 150% growth in Programmatic Direct mobile impressions in APAC, followed by EMEA at 120% growth. Mobile impressions grew more than 15X in 2016 at Indonesia and tripled in more than eight APAC countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The huge amount of mobile growth in APAC requires a more sophisticated targeting and RTB which allows companies to distinguish their potential consumer and increase the efficiency of their advertising bidding.

#6: The need for greater efficiency of video impressions

Video emerged as the fastest-growing format in programmatic deals across platforms and throughout the APAC. Video has proved to be an efficient way to reach audiences and monetize the publishers premium inventory.

According to the numbers from 2016, programmatic video impressions in APAC grew to 29X the impressions in comparison with the previous year. Programmatic video impressions grew 6.5X faster than the display in 2016, and India and Australia are leading the way with total programmatic video impressions served in the APAC region.

The fastest adopters of programmatic video in the world are all in the APAC region: India, China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. China is ramping up programmatic video impressions the fastest of all countries in the APAC region.

#7: Retargeting and attribution is the key focus of marketers in APAC

According to the outcomes of the recent study by Adroll, retargeting and attribution are the key focuses of marketers in APAC in 2017. Adroll report shows the average APAC marketer is spending between 25% and 50% of their digital advertising budget on retargeting and 83% of marketers plan to increase their mobile retargeting budget in the next year.

The study shows that the growing cost of development and user acquisition are not slowing down, which force marketers to prefer the engagement with existing users over acquiring new ones who may or may not perform well. Technically there is a gap in this area but the advertisers are facing the pressure of the demand for clearly measurable ROI.

The rise of attribution models is driving APAC marketers to pay more and more attention to marketing analytics and cross-channel attribution. Based on Adroll’s study, 79% of marketers believe attribution is critical to advertising success and 99% of marketers track view-through conversions in this region. Over 30% of Australian marketing professionals said that they spend over half of their yearly budgets on campaign measurement.

#8: What to expect in 2018? AI, Interactive Ads, and Personalization

According to experts in the market, the AI would have a big impact on the programmatic in the region. “Last few years it was about programmatic but this year and continuous years, the market will tend to dive more into 3 categories, 1) AI automated optimization based on Life Time Value LTV. 2) The interactive ad types like Facebook full page ad and Instagram stories. 3) Personalization will play an effective role as personalized dynamic banners give seamless experience. This improving conversion rate.” said JK, a consultant and marketing strategist.


To conclude, APAC has a strong programmatic growth potential but it has also a number of fatal limitations, such as lack of qualified talents, extremely diverse and fragmented local ad networks, issues with access to consumer data, and difficulty to scale RTB transactions. The region still requires a more solid understanding of the importance and benefits of programmatic advertising.

The advantage of programmatic reach is currently critical for APAC marketers to increase conversion rates and decrease the number of resources required to cover this geographically large region. Targeting different locales with such diversity of languages, networks, and consumer behavior are pushing for further procedures in terms of buying audience on premium publishers or local networks and connect a simpler activation on both sides. This demand will keep pushing towards a higher rate of programmatic adoption and budget share coming from performance marketing teams in the region.

Share your insights and thoughts on the topic and write down what do you think will be a key trend? What is the next big thing will shift this market?

An Overview of Digital Advertising in the Middle East [Infographic]

Over the last few years, the Middle East had a small share in the global digital advertising expenditure. I made research to dig deep into the current figures and the stats of 2011 to 2017 to better understand the landscape of digital advertising in the Middle East including market trends and the status.

1) The global trends in digital advertising

According to eMarketer report in April 2017, paid media advertising outlays worldwide will increase 7.3% in 2017 to $583.91 billion. Growth will be roughly on par with previous estimates, and spending will rise steadily throughout the forecast period, driven by increased investments in the e-commerce industry and mobile ads. Digital will remain as the fastest growing medium with 14% in 2017.

Market size: Worldwide digital ad spending will reach over $205 billion in 2017 and represent 38.3% of total paid media. The numbers are expected to see double-digit growth at least 2020, eMarketer estimates. Mobile ad spending will reach around 63.3% of digital and 24.3% of total media ad spending. Developed economies are expected to show a slowdown in investments in this sector in 2017. Counterwise, ad spend in the APAC market, followed by Latin America are showing high growth in revenue.

Digital vs TV

Digital vs TV in 2017: Several organizations and researchers also expected a new fact: For the very first time in history, with a projected $205 billion digital ad spending compared to a projected TV ad spend of $192 billion, global digital advertising spend is expected to exceed TV advertising spend in 2017. However the predictions still in process and it might vary from a market to another.

Who are the top Players? In 2017, Google and Facebook, the big two in digital advertising are expected to take more than 50% of all revenue worldwide, and more than 60% in the United States, according to research firm eMarketer. Apparently, Baidu is controlling the Chinese market while some local media networks are competing in display market share.

2) The digital advertising in the Middle East

In recent years, experts have predicted that the Middle East and North Africa will show strong growth in digital advertising. Is that true? We will be looking closely at the top trends in the region to better understand the market share and growth rates.

infographic digital advertising middle east 2017

Advertising Spending in The MENA region: According to Statista, a year-on-year timeline presents the total advertising spending in the Middle East and Africa. In 2017, the region is expected to account for 4.1 percent of the global ad spend. Ad expenditure in the Middle East and Africa would amount to 24.25 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, up from 23.1 billion a year earlier, which would constitute a  growth rate of 5%.

MENA Digital advertising stats

Growing or decreasing in 2017: However, a recent global ad spending forecast from Zenith had another opinion. According to the source, The MENA (The Middle East and North Africa) will be suffering from low oil prices. The region forecast expected a decline in ad spend (-9%) in ad spend between 2016 and 2017.

Digital Advertising vs Traditional Advertising in the MENA

Although the Middle East has a small share in the global advertising spend, the region has become a hot spot for international companies. Unlike global markets, TV has the biggest share of Ad spending while only 10% of MENA ad spend is on the digital market according to Istizada, but I believe that the shift towards digital ads is going to catch up in the coming years. GCC countries are expected to grow faster than the other markets like Egypt (which has the biggest share of TV consumers).

Digital Ad Spending in the Middle East and Africa

Digital advertising spending the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is growing in the last three years, but the growth rates are expected to slow down.

Currently, estimated at 10% of the total global Ad spend, the Middle East’s spend is expected to reach $3.80 Billion by 2017 (eMarketer report). While forecasting from ArabNet, a group of digital professionals and entrepreneurs, estimated the digital advertising spending in the Middle East and North Africa is as low as $1 billion.

*Since there are major differences in the numbers, I believe that the numbers could exceed both if we consider that there are big segments of individuals and small businesses are directly financing Facebook Ads. I have been also working with direct Ad placements on local portals and forums specialized in the financial and stocks market. The size of this market is big in the GCC but relevantly unclear when it comes to global statistics.

Digital Ad Spending MENA

Search advertising comes on top of the list with over 58% of total spending in the region. Google remains the top player in the Middle East and Africa with a huge demand on YoutTube advertising in 2017. According to agencies, YouTube Ads are generating a great increase in digital budgets which is used to be allocated to TV advertising. KSA is leading the region in the numbers of YouTube reach.

3) Digital advertising agencies in the Middle East

According to mideastmedia.org, The region has more than 500 digital agencies offering a range of services in digital marketing, most of which employ less than 15 people. Governments, consumer brands, telecommunication operators, and real estate respectively, are the largest buyers of advertising in MENA.

Egypt and the UAE are the most important economic bases for digital agencies and employees. Thanks to the increasing numbers of digital startups, Egypt represents more than half of the advertising agencies and employees in the region, due to its creative talents in content production, translation resources, low salaries, and its main role as a local content creation hub. The UAE represents 30 percent of advertising companies and employees, which benefit from its economic stability and regional headquarters. The majority of the top agencies in the UAE are international media and digital firms based in Dubai.

4) Media Buying in the Middle East

Media buying in the region represents a large-scale business, involving bulk advertising, space acquisition, and trading. The media buying unit (MBU) market, therefore, consists of fewer but much larger players who deal predominantly with larger buyers. 70 to 100% of their ad spend is sourced through MBUs. However, like advertising agencies, MBUs are typically owned by international companies. MBUs in the region tend to hold premium advertising spaces across the major platforms (60% share of digital ad spend, 70% of TV, and 50% of newspapers).

5) Programmatic Advertising in the Middle East

The stale growth is largely due to the sluggish transition from traditional to digital media ad spend. Unfortunately, with the digital Ad spending still represents only 10 percent of the total advertising market in the region, the investments in programmatic advertising is very low. Collectively, MENA countries trail other regions in innovation and adoption of new advertising and digital marketing technologies (e.g., limited digital measurement, programmatic buying, and non-advertising forms of marketing).

The programmatic advertising has been growing through the GCC region in the past years due to the growth of Dubai based digital agencies and Google partners. However, some of the biggest brands in the MENA market are heavily relying on external agencies based in London.

According to “Status of Programmatic Trading” survey, skills shortage at 39% and deeper understanding at 33% are still considered the top obstacles for its wider and faster adoption.

The region is still lacking behind when it comes to the use of advertising and marketing technologies including machine learning advertising such as Google DoubleClick as well as advanced analytic platforms such as GA 360, Adobe Marketing Cloud and attribution models.

As a result, I believe there are many of the opportunities for digital advertising have yet to be realized, despite high levels of digital consumption in the region. There is a big room for digital agencies to tap into the Middle East digital advertising.

6) The MENA digital markets

Let’s take a look at the advertising spend in several Middle Eastern countries.

United Arab Emirates: The UAE has topped advertising spend in the GCC in the first quarter of 2017. At AED1.5 billion, it accounted for 46% of the total advertising spend in the region for the said period, according to TBWA Worldwide.

Meanwhile, digital ad spending in the UAE dropped 14% in January 2017, after rising by 21% for the first 11 months of 2016. Television remains the biggest medium for advertising in the UAE — which accounted for 3.37 billion in revenues in 2015 — and the market is seeing a decrease in some offline mediums and an increase in digital.

Turkey: Despite the firewalls and political conflicts in Turkey, digital ad expenditure is expected to grow in 2017. According to IAB Turkey AdEx-TR 2016 Report, the digital ad spend in Turkey reached TRY 1,872.4 Million with a growth rate of 13.7%.

The display ad spend grew by 11% and reached to TRY 1,059 million. In Display Ad Category, while video ad spend rises by 34% to TRY 179 million. Search Engine Ad Investments reached to 706.6 million TL. Out of 1,872 million TL of total digital ad spend, TRY 30% was invested in mobile platforms, and 64% of social media ads. In 2016, programmatic trading proceeded to grow and reached to 993 million TL.

Iran: Digital ad spending in Iran is estimated to be worth $53 million (without including social media networks), according to Adro. Though experts believe that there’s a big potential in this market due to the increasing numbers of online users and the enhancements in local ad networks. Due to financial sanctions imposed on Iran, social media advertising and Google search are not active in Iran. Only Telegram which is a messaging app/social media is accounted for almost $23.3 million in revenue in Iran.

Syria and Sudan: Sadly Facebook and Google doesn’t allow advertisers to target the Syrian and Sudanese markets. I believe that

Conclusions and Insights on digital advertising in the middle east

  • While TV advertising is still leading traditional advertising to dominate the biggest share of advertising in the region, the digital ad spending market will continue to grow in 2017 with a huge opportunity to catch-up with global market rates in the coming years. The region cannot resist the global change in advertising.
  • Clients have started demanding payment by results (ROI & Return on ad spend ROAS) as well as enhanced consumer insights and analytics. Even from creative agencies, as well as media buyers. This means the whole industry will shift into digital and sophisticated programmatic advertising which is more accountable.
  • YouTube Ads are one of the hottest trends in the GCC region which is going to attract a big share of TV commercial spending in the coming years.
  • UAE is still leading digital advertising in the MENA region. The majority of international and local brands based in Dubai are heavily spending on digital. However, the agencies are outsourcing a big chunk of technical and creative work to Egypt, Lebanese and Jordanian startups.
  • Sadly, there is still a huge gap in digital advertising efficiency in the region due to the lack of advanced tracking, programmatic technology, and skills. Some of the top brands are still relying on UK’s agencies when it comes to search engine marketing. However, there are very advanced local agencies that need to invest more in building solid capabilities in digital advertising technology.

Let’s wait until the end of the year to have the final numbers and keep evaluating the industry.

Do you have any experience in digital advertising in any of the Middle East and Africa region? What opportunities do you see lying in this sector?

The Art of Arabic PPC Management

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.