Advertising budgets in the UAE increased over Ramadan as companies aimed to capitalise on a surge in online traffic, experts said.

The increase in digital advertising — up by as much as 35 per cent — reflected an aggressive marketing strategy as brands targeted the online “mobile” consumer.

“Based on the campaigns we have executed this month, we have seen a 25 – 35 per cent increase in terms of engagement,” Hameed Yousuf, Senior Planner — Digital Media at BPG Maxus said speaking on the spike in advertising.

BPG Maxus is a media planning & buying specialist and a digital media solutions provider based in the region.

Ramadan has a significant impact on people’s behaviour and daily media consumption, Yousuf said, “It is the best time [for brands] to engage with fans and followers.”

Pointing to research by BPG Maxus, Yousuf said online traffic and time spent browsing online increased over Ramadan.

The research, looking at selected websites before and during Ramadan, showed that traffic increased by 10 - 15 per cent and time spent online increased by 30 - 40 per cent.


A spokesperson for Global Media Insight, a digital advertising agency in Dubai, agreed with Yousuf.

“We witnessed a great push of online advertising campaigns in the lead up to Ramadan and it will continue over the Eid weekend.”

The spokesperson said there is a specific push from the client begins at the start of Ramadan and continues until the end of Eid.

Airlines and banks were among the most active of digital advertisers over Ramadan, Yousuf said, with many brands focusing on the social spectrum.

Other popular campaigners were fast moving consumer goods such as electronics.

The spokesperson for Digital Media Insight said food and recipes were the most popular online advertisements among clients during Ramadan.

Telecom companies, travel services, hotels and get-away resorts and destination all witnessed a surge in online advertising over Ramadan, a spokesperson for Pan Arab Research Centre said.

“There has been also some advertising of charitable organisations so they are remembered during the holy month for donations and contributions,” the spokesperson said.

Gift giving

The frequency of digital advertising will begin to reduce for most brands during Eid, Yousuf said, however eCommerce portals are popular because of the traditional gift giving period.

A spokesperson for the Pan Arab Research Centre said there is proof that digital advertising is cost-effective.

The production cost is low, the spokesperson said, and so are publishing rates in comparison to conventional media.

The online advertising trend is still growing in the UAE, a country with 70 per cent mobile penetration — the highest in the region.

Brands use to opt out of digital campaigns over Ramadan, Yousuf said, because they it as a “waste of budget”.

“We have seen a boost of investments in the mobile sphere, however during the month of Ramadan, most brands tend to invest mainly on social and religious apps,” Yousuf said.

The Pan Arab Research Centre spokesperson said digital advertising is increasing.

Web advertising is gaining more interest, the spokesperson said, with advertisers finding new ways to target people online.


The rise of digital advertising has emphasised the need to target users on the go through mobile advertising.

It is essential to target your target audience on the go and the best way to do it is “Mobile”, said Yousuf.

The Pan Arab Research Centre spokesperson said that mobile advertisements were increasing but were falling short of what the PC can do.

“Many [mobile] advertisers are still using the plain text messages and asking people to make a visit or a call.”

The spokesperson said digital advertising would pick up next over the ‘back to school’ period.

“We are likely to see a tidal wave of smart ads on mobile from the leading vehicles,” the spokesperson said.