Middle East digital economies need to move with the times
Digital marketing is no longer about placing a brand’s message on a few select sites. These days saturation coverage is what marketers are looking for. “It’s not just putting a banner out on a site anymore and hoping that someone clicks,” said Jamie Atherton, commercial director at AdZouk, which now operates a digital advertising network featuring 600 websites in the region. “You can target specifics and that’s the glory of such a network. We can target by behaviour and by the content users are looking for by retargeting users with their IP addresses.”
AdZouk serves up what is called a “blind network”, where advertisers don’t get to pick and choose the websites on which their ads will show, but rather sign up for having their ad on a number of sites that fit a target audience.
“Let’s say an airline is trying to sell flights to Thailand; what we’re able to do is drop a code on the landing page of the client,” Atherton said. “So if anybody’s IP address comes to that website we pick up the code and anytime that same user comes to our sites he’ll be shown that ad.”
But it’s important to keep the network blind to the clients to protect AdZouk’s relationship with the websites. “Because they may be going to the same advertiser and are charged a lot more,” Atherton said. “A premium content website would have their own sales team and would sell their ads for a lot more than what I’m charging.”
It is said the digital ad spend in the Mena region is roughly around $150 million (Dh100.5 million). “Last year, about 4-6 per cent was online, next year it’ll be at least 10 per cent,” Atherton added.
Another company that is closely tracking the shifts in digital marketing is Effective Measure, which helps media planners know where the best places are for the audience they want to reach.
“Our role is to measure traffic from websites and networks and provide a solution for agencies and clients to understand where to place their campaigns to maximise their RoI [return on investment],” said Brendon Ogilvy, Effective Measure’s regional managing director.
Ogilvy said that three years ago the market was all about traffic and how many impressions one has per month. “The reality was they didn’t have that kind of information to rely on; now that they do, it’s a lot more audience orientated,” he said. Today Effective Measure has 3,500 logins from planners per month.