MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) a global marketing platform recently conducted a survey in association with WARC to showcase the regions cutting edge mobile marketing strategies with data from advertisers, agencies, media owners and tech vendors. This annual report examines mobile capabilities, budgets, privacy concerns and new technologies and trends in mobile, to assess how marketers in MENA are using mobile in their marketing strategies.
Over the time that WARC has carried out this survey with the MMA, the role of mobile in the arsenal of marketers has grown significantly. As smartphone technology becomes more and more sophisticated, the line between the mobile medium and the rest of the online media mix is increasingly blurred. The report highlighted that habits and brand strategies have evolved during the pandemic period, but conventional wisdom still prevails in that 65% of MENA marketing professionals are still focusing on brand awareness when marketing via mobile. Messaging has adjusted thematically, with brands articulating and demonstrating a more understanding and caring tone. Lead generation and promoting specific products or services is also a key goal for 45% and 32% of respondents.
Two in three MENA marketers say they have adapted a mobile-first approach with their marketing strategy. 86% of respondents agree that the pandemic has improved mobile marketing capabilities. This is likely the result of the pivot to online as consumer behaviour changed. Increased focus on agility and effectiveness has been a key lesson for marketers in the last year.
“The overall mobile market is booming and showing no signs of slowing down. Mobile advertising is now the key success driver for advertisers. The value drivers for mobile advertising have been proliferated through the pandemic. With people relying on their smart phones and other connected devices to stay connected, we have seen a significant upswing in mobile engagement levels, with increased session times. Consumers also demonstrated an increased willingness to conduct transactions on mobile phones, with a spike in App downloads and an acceleration of the growth of online shopping. Social media and Mobile Gaming have also emerged as clear winners, with time spent and discovery spiking.” says Warrick Billingham, Head of Revenue EMEA & LATAM at AdColony, who also chairs the MMA research committee.
“So, while we have seen a return to normal, I think we can all agree, the mobile marketing landscape and habits have changed forever. Brands who have evolved, will not just survive, but thrive in this ever-changing world.” he added.
MENA marketing professionals are expecting growth in their mobile budgets with a (77%) expect in increase, indicating more confidence in both market conditions and in mobile as a channel. Social is by far the most used marketing channel with mobile. 87% of respondents are using social in their mobile marketing strategy. Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter are the platforms most used for display marketing. M-commerce and mobile gaming is one of the most important industry changes during COVID-19.
Facebook is the most used social media platform for display advertising in MENA. Just under half (47%) of respondents have used Facebook for display advertising, while 40% have used Youtube for the same purpose. This is followed by Instagram (35%) and Twitter (33%). Instagram and Youtube are the most used platforms for partnerships / sponsorships / influencers. Instagram is considered a key platform for influencers and grew by 32% between 2019 and 2020, globally. Nearly three in five and more than half (56%) are seeing an increase in mcommerce and mobile gaming and is the most important consumer behaviour affecting the marketing industry.
AI, machine learning, mobile wallet and DOOH are predicted to be the biggest technologies in 2026. While chatbot is the most important today (50%), it is not among the most important technologies in the five years (25%). AI and machine learning, the fourth most used technology today (25%), is predicted to be the most important in five years (42%), alongside mobile wallet. Whilst AI will be even bigger in the future, it is already earning a larger role in marketing. AI was used in nearly all off the Rakbank’s successful campaigns in 2020.