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At last week's Digital Cream Dubai, Econsultancy's CEO, Ashley Friedlein, presented the latest digital trends from the newly published State of Digital Marketing in the Middle East and North Africa report 2012.
The latest research from the Middle East by Econsultancy indicates that the digital industry is experiencing rapid growth.
The State of Digital Marketing in the Middle East and North Africa report (supported by ArabianBusiness.com) shows that on average, 27% of of overall marketing budget is spent on digital, up from 22% since the last report was published 10 months ago in April 2011.
Overall, 58% of companies are planning to increase their digital marketing in 2012, and of these, 52% plan increases of at least 20%.
Despite the impressive growth rate, there's still a long way to go, as beyond restricted budgets, company culture, reliance on traditional marketing and the lack of skills are holding back marketers from making the most of the digital opportunities in the region.
In addition, the inability to measure return on investment is thought to be a barrier by 28% of marketers this year, up from 19% in the 2011 survey.
Are you a medical practitioner? Are you wondering how to harness the power of social media for your organization? Do you have a Twitter and Facebook account that has remained dormant because you lack a proper engagement strategy?
Hospitals, clinics and pharmaceutical companies need effective social media strategies to thrive in this age.
It has been a year since social media helped spark demonstrations, protest and social-political revolution across the Middle East and North Africa.
The Arab Spring of 2011 saw communication via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube garner a degree of popularity which had yet to be seen in the region – and proved dangerous enough that efforts were made by some governments to shut social services down.
The digital divide and the lack of knowledge in the Middle East is a major barrier to investing in online marketing, according to Econsultancy research published in April this year.
In Econsultancy's State of Digital in MENA Report, some 20% of client-side companies and 42% of agencies said that a lack of understanding about online is preventing their organisation from investing more money in digital.
As further evidence, last year, Shaik Umar, Middle East Head for IDA Singapore, reported that the digital divide and lack of skilled talent are the main problems plaguing the Gulf's IT industry. Part of the reason for the lack of skills is the smaller population of the Gulf compared to other regions.
So, what can companies do to plug the gap and make the most of online marketing?
In his last post on the Econsultancy blog, Tariq Seksek touched upon the importance of competitions, contest and sweepstakes when running a social media campaign in the Middle East.
While some brands may have found success in running such contests, others are of the opinion that competitions equate to buying fans, as the interest of the fans lies in the prize rather than the brand and its offerings.
Whatever camp you belong to – growth by competitions or growth by content - it is important to consider the characteristics of the local market including demographics, usage habits and cultural sensitivities.
Contests and sweepstakes are lucrative in every market, but they're especially important in the Middle East, but these have to be planned and well thought of in advance.
Following the subsequent acquisition of Maktoob by Yahoo, Samih founded Jabbar Internet Group, an integrated group of online companies and websites. The group’s assets extend from e-commerce sites to online games, to advertising products & search services.
I caught up with Samih to find out a little more about the companies within the Jabbar Internet Group, and the future of digital marketing in the Middle East...
So you want to be active in social media and engage with your consumers and followers, but you're not sure if you can handle a negative situation?
Relax, it's not the end of the world. In this article, I'll be sharing with you a simple example that I faced not too long ago and how I managed to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
But what Best Burger didn't know was that the blogger it was planning to sue is also a legal researcher by profession. Luckily for both parties in the end, the restaurant decided to do the right thing by withdrawing legal action, and thinking constructively about how the menu could be improved.
However, many companies in the Middle East still fail to recognise the tremendous opportunities borne out of negative feedback, and how it can be used to improve the business and build stronger long-term customer relationships.
Digital marketing is thriving in the Middle East, according to new research published today by Econsultancy and supported by ArabianBusiness.com. The survey-based research has found that companies are spending 22% of their marketing budget on digital.
Companies are using a wide range of digital channels for marketing, and investment in online is expected to increase across the board. Encouragingly, over half of companies (58%) are increasing their digital budgets in 2011.
However, the market is still very much in its infancy, and still faces major barriers to investment. Company culture, a reliance on traditional marketing, and a lack of knowledge are preventing companies from investing further money into digital.
This post looks at the current state of digital marketing in the Middle East, and some of the trends covered in our latest report.
Kuwaiti blogger Mark Makhoul recently wrote a very critical review of Benihana on his blog. The restaurant's reaction? It sued the blogger...
The reaction of the restaurant to this criticism provides an excellent lesson in how not to respond to criticism online, and it has seriously backfired so far, with the story spreading all across the Middle East and further.