Why analytics, content and mobile will be crucial for MENA marketers in 2019

Tahani Karrar December 2018

MENA consumer expectations are higher than before—and this means digital marketers in the region will need to up their game in 2019. There will be even more value placed on how digital marketers can deliver relevant and useful experiences in the coming year, according to Google experts.

Consolidation of Offline and Online

Tarek Abdalla, Google Head of Marketing for Middle East & North Africa sees 2019 as the year in which digital marketers in the region will become more confident in using advancements in technology to better understand and improve the customer journey.

“We’re introducing new tools and innovations to make attribution, store visits measurements, and programmatic buying easier and more effective,” said Tarek Abdalla.

An example of this is what was done in 2018 by Landmark Group, one of the largest omnichannel retailers in the UAE and KSA, who integrated their Shukran loyalty card sales data into Google Analytics to connect online advertising and offline sales.

Furthermore, micro-moments are set to accelerate in 2019 and as they multiply, consumers will expect more useful, personal interactions throughout their research and purchase journeys.

Transformation of Campaign Content

According to Alex Brunori, Google Creative Impact Lead for MENA, further disruption in the creative ecosystem as campaign content is transformed from a single asset with multiple edits to multiple, different assets that allow for better personalization, contextual strategies and an “always-on” approach.

“This will result in a better ROI within the 2019 budget constraints,” said Brunori adding this will result in the adoption of a different production mindset that will require more quality content, and therefore deeper collaborations with creators, influencers, content specialists and publishers.

To stay ahead of the curve, Brunori suggests digital marketers should adopt a "Test & Learn" mindset.

“Digital marketers should experiment more (and more often) and be prepared to change even their business model and the internal and external dynamics and processes,” Brunori said.

Improved mobile experiences

As more people use their smartphones in their customer journeys, MENA businesses will need to raise the quality of their mobile offerings. According to Google insights, mobile sites are increasingly fulfilling customer needs to learn about, engage with, and make purchases from a brand without needing to resort to an app.

Abdalla sees more digital marketers in MENA investing in their brand’s entire mobile footprint to ensure success in the future and in particular the speed of their mobile sites.

“No matter how great your mobile site looks, if it loads slowly, users will abandon it,” said Abdalla. “We expect to see an uptick in the use of technologies such as the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which makes mobile web faster and better and improves customer experience and interface.”

Google is now working with advertisers in MENA to send paid mobile traffic from search ads to AMP landing pages, making the path to purchase faster for consumers. Digital advertisers are now able to blend their offline and online worlds.