Online advertising in the Middle East

In the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, created by Social Media Examiner it was found that 92% of marketers felt that social media was paramount for their business. This has been an expanding pattern as more organizations distinguish online networking stages, for example, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest as extensive systems of potential clients and have hence setup an expert vicinity on these locales.

Global ad spend is on track to grow by 5.5% this year and reach $537 billion, with online ad spend accounting for proximately one-quarter of the staggering amount.  The global growth of the advertising sector is paralleled closely in the MENA region: digital ad spend in 2013 reached $300 million and is incrementing at 37% per year to reach an astounding $1B in 2017. “Digital advertising is the most expeditious growing segment in the region – and not surprisingly,” says Tom Roy Choudhury, Chief Innovations Officer of Middle East Communications Network (MCN).


Online advertising in the Middle East has been the fastest growing segment in the advertising industry, representing highest potential in the region with a huge young, socially engaged and informed population driving the spending on web and mobile platforms. Middle East comprises of more than 50% of the population below the age of 25, representing an intrinsically vigor for the online media industry as young population would be the early adopters of technology driving the magnification of online advertising industry.

Verticals such as e-commerce, m-commerce and online gaming have witnessed increased activity in the region with a strong uptake of tablets and smartphones. The value of mCommerce in MENA is expected to reach $4.9 billion by the end of 2015.

Global interest in mobile advertising is also surging: mobile ad spend grew 110% in 2015 and is expected to reach $31.5B globally.  Whereas Mobile ad spending in the Middle East will increase by 543% per year through 2017. Smartphone perforation and hours spent online in the Arab world, and the GCC in particular, are amongst the highest ecumenical. Traditional media in these countries is still heavily controlled and monitored by the regime. So, we do expect this region to be expeditious in switching to digital. The consumers have already made the shift, advertisers will follow shortly.

Given this promise and high level of interest, it then becomes an eventuality to study social media strategies to understand how companies are allocating their digital media budgets, social platforms they are present on, content strategies for superior engagement on social media through our next post.


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