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Digital advertising soaring on demand for ‘smart’ devices

Digital advertising spend in the region will grow by 35 per cent each year over the next three years

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
Delegates networking, at the Dubai Lynx screening workshops.
Gulf News

Dubai: As regional demand for technological devices surge, advertisers are creating digital ads more catered for these mediums - but they are still behind global industry players, experts say.

A core aspect of advertising campaign is consumers’ interactions with digital platforms on media such as smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, according to Jean Traboulsi, managing director of advertising agency Leo Burnett in the UAE.

“There is a trend in innovation and what is fashionable among consumers,” Traboulsi said.

Digital advertising accounts for around 4 per cent of total advertising spending in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, but it is expected to become the region’s fastest growing media platform, according to Deloitte’s Arab Media Outlook report for 2011 to 2015.

It forecasted that digital advertising spend in the region will grow by 35 per cent each year over the next three years, generating around $580 million by 2015.

Consumers in the region are highly aware of the latest technological devices entering the global market, and are quick to snatch it off shelves as soon as they hit stores.

“Consumers here are heavy users of [these] devices and advertisers know that,” Saguto Santino, telecommunications, media and technology partner at Deloitte Middle East.

However, advertisers’ ideas may be limited by the lack of certain technologies. Digital advertising “is linked to broadband and the availability of proxies, which facilitates innovation,” Traboulsi said. With higher internet penetration and inward investments for the wider availability of these technologies in the region, advertisers will make more use of devices, he said.

The quicker the technologies are available by telecommunication operators, the more digital ads will be available on devices like smart TV’s, he added.

Mobile advertising has been growing regionally as consumers opt for wifi-equipped smartphones, which are high in demand, and developers create mobile applications and websites.

Social media networks Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin have extended their commercial operations to the region, selling advertising products to telecommunication companies to take advantage of the growing audience.

Mobile advertising, however, comes with privacy concerns. People are still hesitant to respond to promotional text messages, for instance. “Some still see a mobile as a private device,” Traboulsi said.

When asked if digital advertising compliments traditional advertising, Traboulsi said: “Traditional will still be used, but digital is more likely to close the deal [on a product or service].”

Sarah Algethami is a trainee at Gulf News.


Dubai Lynx 2013

International Festival of Creativity

Runs from March 10-13

Festival will have screenings and exhibitions of creative work from across the Middle East and North Africa region. There will also be seminars, master classes, and networking events.

Dubai Lynx Awards, which is dedicated to the creative industry, is on the evening of March 13.