Understanding digital marketing in the MENA region

Published October 2nd, 2011 - 09:27 GMT
Key areas of focus include the increasing importance and adoption of Search Engine Optimisation, web analytics, bulk email providers, as well as internet payment gateways and online shopping
Key areas of focus include the increasing importance and adoption of Search Engine Optimisation, web analytics, bulk email providers, as well as internet payment gateways and online shopping

Digital marketing is capturing the imagination of Middle Eastern businesses, revolutionising client engagement and unlocking increasingly innovative ways to boost the bottom line.

But according to research published this week by Dubai based research company Real Opinions, 37% of businesses say their organisation’s use of digital marketing is poor and a further 30% claim that effective and accurate assessment of return on investment is inadequate.

In a separate study by digital marketing experts Econsultancy, entitled ‘The State of Digital in MENA’, while investment is increasing, a lack of knowledge is becoming a major barrier to online marketing. According to the report, 58% of businesses in the region are increasing their digital budgets this year, and 53% doing the same for mobile marketing.

Social media is also thriving, with 56% of Middle Eastern companies currently using social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter to attract business – but nearly 39% of the marketing professionals surveyed said that a lack of understanding was holding back digital marketing that was effective and influential.

A sentiment that is backed by some of the region’s – and the world’s – most influential digital marketeers. “As the Internet continues to evolve as a creative platform for marketers, it is developing into a digital canvas which offers marketers a medium that in many ways rivals the impact of broadcast and print advertising.  But in order to unlock the full potential of this online channel, we need to create more awareness about the possibilities that the digital world offers,” said Ahmed Nassef, Vice President and Managing Director, Yahoo! Middle East.

GITEX Digital Marketing delves into this exciting new development, providing attendees of GITEX Technology Week with a unique opportunity to assess, evaluate and realise the full potential of what is rapidly becoming an essential business tool. “GITEX Digital Marketing is a great platform to provide such essential insights to marketers and business leaders,” added Nassef.

Key areas of focus include the increasing importance and adoption of Search Engine Optimisation, web analytics, bulk email providers, as well as internet payment gateways and online shopping.

With sponsors including Yahoo Maktoob (Pearl Sponsor), Ikoo (Emerald Sponsor), ICANN (Opal Sponsor) and Khellan and TkXel among the exhibitors, Gitex Digital Marketing will be strongly attended by experts hailing from digital creative agencies, email software companies and mobile advertising, among others.

Trixee Loh, SVP, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of GITEX Technology Week, said, “GITEX Digital Marketing will be an important segment at the event and will offer an excellent opportunity to assess the benefits of what is potentially one of the most lucrative advertising arenas in a relatively untapped Middle East market.”

Baher Esmat, ICANN Manager of Regional Relations, Middle East, added: “GITEX Technology Week’s  new digital marketing feature is a great opportunity for brand owners and business leaders to learn more about the new generic top-line domains (gTLDs) Program. ICANN’s session on new gTLDs will be an opportunity to share information, and to inform GITEX participants on the application process and the way forward.”

Following three decades of continued modernisation, GITEX will this year further expand, providing new features which reflect growing regional and global trends, offering new highlights to exhibitors and attendees alike.


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