Diverse strategy needed in Middle East

09 October 2012

DUBAI: Consumers in the Middle East and North Africa rely on a diverse range of traditional and digital media channels to learn about brands, a report has revealed.

Aegis Media, the agency holding group, polled 18,500 adults in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

It found that 40% of people in the UAE had frequently started conversations having seen TV ads, and 26% regularly searched the web immediately after seeing a product on television.

Another 40% of contributors from the UAE accessed the internet every day via their mobile phone, a total standing at just 2.8% when discussing tablets.

Digital engagement also proved to be particularly high in Saudi Arabia, where 43% of respondents either wrote or commented on blogs and forums at least once a week, compared with 29% in the UAE.

Social network ads were found to be twice as effective as email marketing in driving brand awareness in Saudi Arabia. By contrast, email was the leading digital tool in the UAE on this metric, as 24% of shoppers could recall brands they were exposed to in this way.

In showing that word of mouth is also important on the web, while 12% of consumers would normally consider visiting a brand's social networking page, this figure rose to 43% when recommended by a friend.

In demonstration of the continuing impact of traditional media, at least 38% of the panel in each of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are "likely to become aware of brands" through outdoor ads.

Looking at in-store communications, only 20% of Arab shoppers in the UAE agreed that this type of marketing encouraged them to sample products. Other demographics posted 41% on this measure.

Similarly, 25% of Arab participants in the UAE stated that social network advertising prompted them into action when considering telecoms brands, falling to 4% for all other groups.

Data sourced from Aegis Media; additional content by Warc staff