Souq.com is one of the largest locally-based ecommerce sites in the Arab world. Every month, Souq.com attracts more than 35 million visits to its catalogue of more than 500,000 unique products in 20 different categories, including consumer electronics, household goods, fashion, watches, perfumes, toys, and baby products. Established in 2005, Souq.com today operates both as an award-winning retail business and an online marketplace that allows SMEs, merchants, brands and distributors to distribute their products online.

Souq.com developed an idea for White Friday, its own version of the US retail phenomenon Black Friday. With the activity set to take place during the last week in November, the Souq.com digital team worked closely with Google to create a strategy that would drive awareness of White Friday straight through to consideration and finally purchase. The 360-degree activity lasted one week and encompassed both branding and performance elements to create a digital sensation.

We approached the Google team with an important business problem and they came back with a perfect solution that addressed all of our requirements.

Sonia Lekhal, Regional Marketing Director, Souq.com

Creating excitement for limited-time-only deals

The brand embraced the capabilities of DoubleClick Dynamic Creative, which enabled the production of dynamic ads with replaceable content. The plan was to advertise one product on sale every hour, so the team developed a spreadsheet containing variations for ad copy, product images, prices and currency. When a user visited the web, the system scanned through the sheet to match the day and time with the product scheduled for promotion. A beautiful banner was then built on the fly based on the date, time and consumer’s location.

The Souq.com activity spanned dynamic banners, YouTube Mastheads, Engagement Ads, TrueView pre-roll advertising and display banners on the Google Display Network

Souq.com used this powerful technology to produce ads in a variety of captivating formats, including dynamic YouTube Mastheads, hover-toexpand Engagement Ads and dynamic display banners on the Google Display Network. Alongside these units, the brand ran a pre-roll TrueView ad on YouTube to intensify the effects of multi-layered messaging. Four different versions of the video ad were served to four different countries – the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt.

Relevant offers create resonance, drive sales

DoubleClick Dynamic Creative allowed Souq.com to speed up development while simultaneously improving performance. Instead of creating 100 banner designs, the team only needed to produce two. The approach meant that workflows were simplified internally, while externally ads were much more timely and relevant.

Dynamic programming allowed us to create a strong call to action, increase repeat visits during the day as the deals were refreshed every hour, and to update content on the fly based on availability of the offers.

Sonia Lekhal, Regional Marketing Director, Souq.com

Layering different formats during an intense one-week push helped amplify the White Friday activity, a tactic that delivered outstanding results. Souq.com ads on the Google Display Network delivered 175 million impressions, while the high-impact hover-to-expand units produced engagement rates six times higher than the industry benchmark. The campaign’s click-through rate outperformed the regional average by 52%, and brand search queries grew by 50% during the one-week period, too.

On YouTube, the TrueView campaign drove over 2 million views across desktop, tablet and mobile, while the Mastheads created mass awareness and drove significant sales. In fact, many products sold out within hours. Souq.com recorded a 190% increase in online purchases and a 10-to-1 return on investment.

“Dynamic programming allowed us to create a strong call to action, increase repeat visits during the day as the deals were refreshed every hour, and to update content on the fly based on availability of the offers,” affirms Sonia Lekhal, Regional Marketing Director for Souq.com. “We approached the Google team with an important business problem and they came back with a perfect solution that addressed all of our requirements.”