Opensooq is a classifieds site and the market leader in Jordan and Libya. The company wanted to expand into new markets Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. It already had an iOS and Android app, so the first step was using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to set key performance indicators and establish accurate app tracking. To drive downloads, Opensooq initiated an app promotion campaign using Google AdWords and the AdMob advertising platform.

Founded in 2008, Opensooq is an Arabic classifieds site where sellers can offer products and services to millions of users online without intermediaries. Buyers can browse a wide variety of goods and services, including electronics, real estate, cars and more.

While the company is already the market leader in Jordan and Libya, Opensooq decided to expand across the Middle East region and enter three new markets, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. Challenges included a substantial increase in investment and the presence of established competitors. Opensooq recognised, however, the significant opportunity to enter these emerging markets at a competitive cost, while simultaneously creating first-mover advantage through the use of mobile technologies.

Early to the app

Opensooq already had a significant mobile asset in the form of an iOS and Android app, which had been released in October 2013. The key strength of the app was its optimised user experience. As rich as the website interface, the mobile app enabled consumers to browse and post ads when buying, selling or renting goods and services.

This represented an important advantage over established competitors that did not have mobile apps. It also provided an opportunity to capture a growing base of new internet users who would be discovering the web via their mobile devices. As smartphone penetration is rapidly rising in the Middle East, leading in the mobile space was identified as a vital strategy for market entry.

Driving app downloads

The first step in moving to a strong mobile-first strategy was to set appropriate key performance indicators and establish accurate app tracking for both iOS and Android using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.

The next step was to design an app promotion campaign to drive downloads. Teams from Opensooq and Google worked together in creating a campaign using Google AdWords and the AdMob advertising platform. Thanks to AdMob’s network of over 300,000 apps, Opensooq’s messaging would reach millions of potential new users.

Multiple advertising formats were employed, including search campaigns with app extensions, text and banners appearing on mobile sites, and text and banner ads in other apps. Using Google’s Conversion Optimiser tool, Opensooq was also able to drive app installs at a targeted cost per acquisition. Negative remarketing further optimised the cost per download by preventing ads from being served to consumers who had already downloaded the app.

Great results and an excellent outlook

In eight months, the Google app promotion campaign generated more than 650,000 direct downloads and helped Opensooq’s app reach more than 2 million downloads within the first year of launching. This made it the largest mobile classifieds application in the MENA region, with more downloads than all of Opensooq’s competitors combined. Cost efficiency was another excellent outcome: the cost per download was about $0.30 for Iraq, $0.35 for Saudi Arabia and $1 for Kuwait.

Going forward, Opensooq plans to continue expanding its mobile user base and reinforce its leadership in the region by targeting new markets. The company will also start to test Google app re-engagement solutions that allow advertisers to target current app users when they’re looking for relevant products & services provided in the app. The objective is to increase overall app usage by activating people who have downloaded the app but haven’t used it for a period of time, and to push engagement by transforming passive buyers into active sellers.