Complex Made Simple

Don’t launch your MENA ad campaigns until you read this

So much can get in the way of good ad campaigns, especially with shifty consumer behaviors

Ad fraud is currently making $50 billion a year worldwide 65% of MENA marketing professionals are still focusing on brand awareness when marketing via mobile The third-party data slowdown meant that 52% of respondents are looking for new measures of effectiveness

So much can get in the way of good ad campaigns, especially with shifty consumer behaviors.   

Ad spend  

Emplifi, a leading unified customer experience (CX) platform, recently released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for Q3 2021, offering key insights on social media ad spend, organic social media brand efforts, and CX trends.

According to Emplifi’s most recent data, ad spend on Facebook and Instagram in the Middle East increased 33.32% year-over-year (YoY) during Q3, and by 7.38% between Q2 and Q3.  

In the Middle East, brand spending on Facebook’s News Feed was 21.48% higher than spending on Instagram’s News Feed as ads connected to travel experienced 94% growth year-over-year as countries reopened their borders.

Etihad Airways had the top three performing posts on Facebook, generating over 1.6 million interactions, and Emirates the best performing post on Instagram which had 402,479 interactions.

The retail category (19.2%) topped the total interactions of brand pages on Facebook, while on Instagram, the e-commerce category (26.9%) led the way for the total interactions of brand profiles on the platform.

Ad fraud

Leading global digital brand safety and prevention platform, mFilterIt, recently unveiled a set of myths surrounding ad fraud and brand safety.

A rapidly growing business that is currently making $50 billion a year worldwide, ad fraud is on the rise across the MENA region, with reports suggesting that ad fraud threats to businesses have risen by 46% since the beginning of the pandemic.

It is estimated that digital ad fraud will cost advertisers and brands $44 bn in fraudulent activities by 2022. The below points highlight myths associated with running digital campaigns.

1- Ad fraud doesn’t exist

The fact is that advertisers get invalid traffic (IVTs) using bots, VPN/Proxies, click injections, cookie stuffing, or any other form of non-human traffic. According to a recent study, only 36% of online traffic comprises humans. Fraud is getting detected in BFSI, OTT & Media, Gaming & Ed Tech to the extent of 35-45% both on apps and on the web.

2- There is only 2% fraud across the publisher ecosystem

A lot of people believe that ad fraud averages out to approximately 2% of their overall advertising spend. This is a major misconception. Contrary to this popular misconception, actual fraud is anywhere between 15-18% and on affiliates, this can rise anywhere between 22-35%.

3- Publisher reports give a clear picture of where the Brand has spent its marketing budgets

Ad placement reports and whether the ads were actually executed on those placements are not verified in publisher reports. There is a lack of data integrity on these numbers.  

4- There is no fraud on walled gardens

Walled gardens are not innocent in this entire ballgame. The rate of fraudulent traffic to the overall traffic on their platforms average out to 10%. Although walled-gardens mention that they have a system to detect invalid clicks, they don’t stop it. The quantum of the problem is so huge because they constitute up to 80% of the overall traffic on the web.  

5- There is no Ad Fraud on Performance Campaigns

Another common misconception among brands and advertising agencies is that performance campaigns are free from fraud as they are targeted campaigns.  Performance Campaigns (CPC/CPV/CPL/CPS) attract invalid traffic to the tune of 30-35% across the industry.

6- Most traffic is clean and most of the BOTS can be simply identified

Most BOT traffic comes in from the two largest public cloud vendors, AWS and Microsoft Azure, in roughly equal measure. Automated traffic takes up 64% of internet traffic and whilst just 25% of automated traffic was made up by good bots, such as search engine crawlers and social network bots, 39% of all traffic was from bad bots.

7- Brand safety has nothing to do with ROI and is an unnecessary cost

One instance of unsafe advertising practice may lead towards a forever reputation loss. Your ads on unsafe inventory will perform poorly and degrade the ROI of your campaign in general.

Advertising in brand-safe environments is believed to drive significant impact on key measures such as audience quality (83%), brand equity (82%), and brand lift (79%). And more than three-quarters believe that brand safety impacts return on investment, or ROI (77%).

8- Advertiser is in control of all the channels

A Nielsen analysis of a household-income-adjusted ad campaign found that only 25% of its ads were reaching the right households. As much as 65% of location-targeted ad spend was wasted.

WARC MENA trends

The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association), a global marketing platform, recently conducted a survey in association with WARC to showcase the region’s mobile marketing strategies.

The report highlighted that 65% of MENA marketing professionals are still focusing on brand awareness when marketing via mobile.  Lead generation and promoting specific products or services is also a key goal for 45% and 32% of respondents.

2 in 3 MENA marketers say they have adopted a mobile-first approach with their marketing strategy.   

77% of MENA marketing professionals are expecting growth in their mobile budgets. 87% of respondents are using social in their mobile marketing strategy.    

Facebook is the most used social media platform for display advertising in the MENA. 47% of respondents have used Facebook for display advertising, while 40% have used YouTube for the same purpose. This is followed by Instagram (35%) and Twitter (33%).

Instagram is considered a key platform for influencers and grew by 32% between 2019 and 2020, globally.   

AI, machine learning, mobile wallet, and digital out-of-home media (DOOH) are predicted to be the biggest technologies in 2026. While chatbot is the most important today (50%), it is not among the most important technologies in the five years (25%).

AI and machine learning, the fourth most used technology today (25%), is predicted to be the most important in five years (42%), alongside mobile wallets.  

Marketer toolkit

WARC, the global authority on effective marketing, has recently released Marketer’s Toolkit 2022: Global Trends Report, built around six key drivers of change: society, technology, economy, policy, industry, and creativity. 

Key findings from the WARC Marketer’s Toolkit 2022 are: 

  • 97% of WARC survey respondents say changes in consumer behavior will impact their 2022 marketing strategies

Consumers are spending more time at home and becoming more concerned about their local surroundings. Personal and family health and wellness are being prioritized. Customer journeys are more complicated as consumers switch between digital and in-store channels. 

  • 46% of WARC survey respondents say the environment and financial growth are of equal importance 

Valuing both profit and the planet is now a reality for 46% of survey respondents. Actions include changing manufacturing, packaging, and distribution, and encouraging green consumer behaviors in their messaging.

  • 54% view market penetration/customer gain as the most important barometer of marketing effectiveness 

The third-party data slowdown meant that 52% of those surveyed by WARC said they are looking to find “new measures of effectiveness.”

As advertisers focus on converting target audiences, 54% of respondents now view market penetration/customer gain as the most important barometer of marketing effectiveness, up from 44% last year.

  • 75% of WARC survey respondents plan to increase spending on social commerce 

75% of brands in the WARC survey plan to increase spending, leveraging the power of creators to sell via livestreams and shoppable media.

  • 78% of WARC survey respondents expect to spend more on e-commerce

In the Marketer’s Toolkit survey, 78% of respondents expect to spend more on e-commerce and 25% are adopting an integrated approach by merging e-commerce and digital branding teams.

A complimentary copy of the global report, including full trend analysis, CMO commentary, case studies, and proprietary survey data, is available to read here.