Rania Al Hindi-Amman
By year-end 2003, Internet advertising expenditure in Jordan is expected to reach 300,000 Jordanian dinars ($420,000). This figure will further rise to six million JD over the next five-year period, experts told Jordan’s Al-Rai daily, adding that the Internet market in the kingdom has witnessed a gradual transformation in recent years, with advertisers increasingly opting to use the web as a branding medium, along with other traditional means, such as newspapers and TV.
Internationally, the online advertising market is worth up to four billion dollars annually. With 10-12 million Internet users in the Arab world, the regional market is currently estimated at $5-10 million. Within the next five years, Jordan’s online advertising spending is projected to account for 5-10 percent of the local market’s total advertising expenditures, which total JD60 millions.
Worldwide mass-marketing campaigns on the web are different from conventional campaigns and in fact surpass traditional advertising in many respects. “Available since 1994, the Internet marketing and advertising medium has emerged as an integral part of any media campaign,” said the general manager and cofounder of Albawaba.com, Hani Jabsheh.
Jabsheh added, “In contrast with conventional advertising, the Internet provides advertisers with many forms of promotion, including fixed or animated banners, which are placed on those specific channels and sections within the site that are most attractive to the target audience.”
“In addition, program sponsorships are also available to advertisers seeking to link their corporate name to a specialized channel, for a specific period of time. For example, a bank can sponsor a financial channel or a publication on money and business markets. Moreover, by circulating one e-mail message, information directly reaches hundreds, thousands or millions of clients. Attracting the instant attention of so many firms is a highly-efficient tool in any marketing campaign.”
Albawaba.com general manger explained that most Internet users in the Middle East seek high quality content. With one click on a banner the user gains access to the advertiser’s site, which allows him to obtain more information, start shopping or make an inquiry. He reiterated that electronic advertisements offer unique user-friendly interactive environments for individual clients, unavailable through conventional advertising means.”
“Strong relations facilitate the process of understanding clients and consumers’ appetites, incentives and demands and subsequently contribute to stronger sales of products and services. Online advertising also allows developing an up-to-date client database. More importantly, said Jabsheh “electronic advertising is offered at low rates and enables accurate assessment of campaign results, through viewer statistics reports that provide data on the number of interested visitors and their geographical locations.”
Jabshsh pointed out that Jordanian advertisers tend to favor direct advertisement through mass e-mail messages, without considering the quality of the database currently available on the market. However, Jabsheh reiterated that the online advertising expenditure in Jordan particularly and the Middle East as a whole, is constantly growing.
He said that relatively low Internet usage, locally and regionally, as compared to other parts of the world, is considered one of the major obstacles facing Internet marketing. He expects the momentum of Internet advertising to grow substantially in the near future, due to low access rates, the availability of high-speed broadband communication services, the adoption of Internet by Arab governments through e-government initiatives including Jordan, Dubai and Qatar.
“Some 10-12 millions users from the Middle East region surf the internet daily, seeking news, entertainment and other high-quality content,” said Jabsheh. He anticipates that the number of users in Jordan would reach a quarter of a million by the end of this year. This user-base constitutes a significant high-quality target audience for advertisers.
Shivkumar Menon, media director at Team/Young and Rubicam - Amman, estimated that Internet advertisement expenditure in Jordan would increase over the next five years to account for 5-10 percent of the total expenditure on conventional advertising. He added that the Internet in the region is in its initial stages of development, compared to usage rates in more technologically advanced countries.
Menon urged the establishment of specialized agencies in Jordan and throughout the region that would work to promote Internet advertising and highlight the medium’s specialized value for advertisers. At the same time, Kumar stressed that it is unlikely that online marketing would end up monopolizing the advertising market, because each promotion medium—TV, printed media or internet—has its particular advantages and fans.
A study conducted by Sakhr Computer company, reported that Internet advertising expenditure in the Arab world would reach $70 million in 2005. The study showed that while the market was still small, it is projected to witness 60-100 percent growth rates within the next five years.
It also indicated that Internet advertising in the Arab world currently constitutes a small fraction, about 0.1 percent, of the traditional media advertisement market, including magazines, radio stations and TV. However, the study expects revenues from Internet advertising in the Arab world to reach $18 million by the end of this year, $25 million in 2004 and $70 million in 2005.
The report asserted that despite the substantial growth anticipated, WWW advertising would not pose a serious threat to the traditional advertisement mediums in the future. The Internet advertising market in Europe is expected to grow by 120 percent to reach $900 million annually, the study predicted. According to the study, there are currently too few content-rich Arabic web sites to attract as many users as in developed nations. — (menareport.com)
Reprinted from Jordan's Al-Rai Newspaper
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )