The advance of digital media advertising and online marketing is reaching a tipping point in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, says Google. With 85 million of the Mena’s total population of 337 million now online, digital advertising is expected to grow by 45 per cent in 2011.
Ari Kesisoglu, Google’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, digital advertising in 2010 in the region amounted to $120 million (Dh440.4 million), up from $30 million in 2007. This year, it will reach $175 million, he said.
Total regional ad spend across all mediums including print, television and digital is expected to reach $6 billion this year, up from $5 billion in 2010, said Kesisoglu in a networking meet hosted by the International Advertising Association (IAA) in Dubai Media City.
Considering there are 150 million people in the region who are still not online, there is huge potential, he said, noting there is a “very high correlation of growth and the increase in usage.”
Powers of interactivity
Kesisoglu pointed out that it’s taking advertisers some time to recognise the benefits of reaching out to consumers in online campaigns but said “there’s no reason for growth to slow down here.”
Globally, he referred to projections that the 500 million people now online through mobile hand-held devices will double to one billion. The growth was boosted by the fact that the sales of mobile phones were higher last year than those of PCs. Kesisoglu pointed out that the “first ad appeared in a French newspaper in 1836” and that by the early 1900s, the first radio ads were essentially simple speeches read on air to capture the public’s attention.
“In the early days of TV, what you had was typically radio with pictures,” he said.
Today, internet ads combine voice and imagery, but in many cases video is being used in creative ways.
One particular online ad used a little creativity combined with the powers of interactivity with users to generate a massive response, he said.
The ad asked users to answer whether a bear featured in the ad should be shot, or not be shot – 16 million people responded online. “Suddenly with online advertising, you can get people to engage with the ad,” he said. He also mentioned an entirely new world of advertising possibilities thanks to interactive maps and geo-enabled software on hand-held devices that can reach out to consumers as they pass retail outlets and inform them not only about meals at restaurants but also who is eating at them.
New and highly popular geo-based programmes such as Four Square are not science fiction, they are now being used by a younger tech-savvy population to mark and share favourite places.
“It’s only a matter of time before people start using these technologies in the advertising concept,” he said.
Kesisoglu went as far as to suggest that there will come a day when today’s description of digital forms of advertising and marketing will no longer need the digital reference.
Few, these days, refer to past innovations in society such as colour TV and horseless carriage, he said, and eventually people will simply drop digital as a way to describe what is a natural course of communicating.
At a glance: Huge potential
* 85m number of people online in Mena region
* $120m value of digital advertising in Mena last year
* $5b value of ad spend across all media last year
Via: Gulf News