The pandemic has seen unprecedented change in consumer behaviours and what people look for online. Google Search data shows that “do it yourself” searches, for example, soared by up to 200% in the past year in some markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). While people in the region were increasingly looking for answers to their questions, they were still more inclined to turn to their friends and family first, even if they don’t have the most accurate information.1
A personal approach with a trusted ‘friend’
Using these insights, we adopted a more personal approach with our own video marketing to deliver information in a more helpful way. Our marketing team brought the videos to life through a friendly and relatable character, Aref, who was the star of the previous Google Search adverts in MENA.
In our most recent campaign, we gave Aref a twist. He became a vlogging sensation, tackling top searched questions, such as “how to exercise at home?”, “how to build a resume?”, and “how to play piano?” with humour and wit.
Equipped with a mobile phone, a director, and one shooting location, Aref set off on his new venture. We created 14 videos of our hero in self-isolation answering people’s top questions. The result? Not only did Aref resonate with users, starring in over 4,000 memes and lip sync videos, we also saw usage intent shoot up across MENA, reaching 15% in key markets like Saudi Arabia, with awareness and consideration also going up at a similar rate of 15%.2
And the success continued well beyond the campaign’s end date. There was a 14% average growth in query volume post campaign airtime, with 29% for “how to” and 16% for “recipes”.3
Key takeaways for marketers
Marketers should work to become a trusted friend to their consumers with the aim of building lasting relationships, steering away from the hard sell in favour of a campaign that blends relatable messaging in a relevant way. If you are able to do that, you will engage audiences and leave them wanting more.
Here are three ways to help you get there:
- Power your campaign with insights to ensure you understand your customers’ needs and wants. Use Google’s new Insights page in Google Ads to identify emerging opportunities, allowing you to respond to changes in customer signals and overall market dynamics.
- Build content for the platform and channels you are using, in order to create a great experience. To stay relevant across all social channels and Youtube, and capitalise on the flourishing vlogging trend, we filmed our ads vertically, kept them at a short 15 seconds to maintain users’ attention, and branded them as vlogs.
- Create a distinct tone of voice within your marketing campaigns that your audience can relate to. And, if you want to go the extra mile, you can build this out with a full character like we've done with Aref. By having a "friendly face" within your marketing campaigns, you are giving your customers someone they can relate to and trust.