During Ramadan consumers typically spend more money on regular household items. According to a 2016-17 research, 53 per cent of customers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt reportedly increased their overall spending during the period. The sectors benefiting the most include consumer goods, entertainment, and travel & tourism.

Traditionally, brands would push TV advertising heavily during Ramadan, but the evolution of online advertising has disrupted this pattern. Consumer behaviour shifts have led to a significant increase in time spent online. With online advertising spending reaching all-time highs, it is important brands tailor their digital strategy this year to better address their customers’ needs.

This includes:

Empathising with users by localising content

Arabic is the fourth most used language online and one of the 10 most searched languages globally. When it comes to e-commerce, users prefer purchasing in their native language. Unfortunately, Arabic represents less than 1 per cent of the content published online, creating a gap with user’s expectations.

Brands must localise their content by using formal Arabic or choose the appropriate dialect. One way to localise content is to ensure high-quality translation from native speakers that fits the cultural context of Arabic users. For example, the word “tomato” can be localised in four different versions for the UAE, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco.

With more than 173 million Arabic users online, brands can have a competitive advantage in the region by localising their content.

Increasing visibility by optimising a website for mobile use

Mobile devices have a very high penetration rate across Gulf states and 77% per cent of their population are mobile users. According to Google, during Ramadan mobile searches account for approximately 5 per cent more than the average mobile search conducted across other months. This means that ensuring websites are mobile-friendly is even more important in this region.

One way to optimise websites is to improve the page load time by reducing the size of the website images. A mobile-friendly website offers a better user experience and will allow users to engage more with the content.

Maximising user engagement through quality video content

Consumers watch a wide range of content during Ramadan, especially around entertainment, food and lifestyle. Moreover, working hours are shorter during Ramadan, so users ca spend more time online watching videos. YouTube studies in Saudi Arabia report an increase in viewership by 6 per cent in daily watch time, while TV experiences recorded an overall drop, by 37 per cent in daily watch time.

Ramadan represents a real opportunity for marketers to engage with customers. One way to optimise video content online is to provide quality viewings that engages the user. Instead of placing increased focus on brand promotion, it is important more focus is placed on providing relevant information that adds value, for instance of recipes and culinary skills from FMCGs.

The use of rich video content is an opportunity for brands to improve overall engagement during the holy month.

Naguib Toihiri is Head of Marketing at RBBi.