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    Social media advertising isolated on black background. (Image: Alamy)

    * Social media advertising forecast to hit $50bn in 2019

    * It will overtake newspaper ad spending by 2020

    * Zenith sees 4.4 per cent growth in global ad spend in 2017


    The amount of money spent on advertising on social media is set to catch up with newspaper ad revenues by 2020, a leading forecaster said on Monday.

    Major shift underway
    The rapid expansion of social media platforms on mobile devices, as well as faster Internet connectivity and more sophisticated technology, has triggered a huge shift in the way many people get their news.

    Advertising agency Zenith Optimedia, owned by France's Publicis, predicts global advertising expenditure on social media will account for 20 per cent of all internet advertising in 2019, hitting $50 billion and coming in just one per cent smaller than newspaper ads. It expects social media to overtake newspapers comfortably by 2020.


    (Preventing Social Media Armageddon)

    Continued growth
    "Social media and online video are driving continued growth in global ad spend, despite political threats to the economy," Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith, said.

    The media industry has been convulsed by the rapid shift in advertising trends in recent years, with firms moving their ad budgets from traditional sources such as newspapers to websites found on computers and mobile phones.

    Marketers are increasingly directing their spending to social media sites where ads blend into users' newsfeeds on platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat proving more effective than interruptive banner formats.

    Zenith's report forecasts that global advertising expenditure will grow 4.4 per cent in 2017, the same rate as in 2016, which it said would be a strong performance given that big events like the Olympic Games, Britain's EU referendum and the US presidential election boosted advertising this year.


    (Facebook aims for more transparency with video ad data)

    Online video also growing
    Online video advertising is also rapidly growing and set to total $35.4bn across the world by 2019, fractionally ahead of the amount spent on radio advertising but still far less than television.

    Global spending on advertising has been stable since 2010 the report showed, although growth has declined in the Middle East and North Africa. It was expected to continue to grow strongly in China and much of Asia.

    The post Social media ads to hit $50bn by 2019: Zenith appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    Marketing diagram on a blackboard. (Image: Alamy)

    * Creating lasting relationships is the main task for many marketers today

    * Effective marketing is about understanding consumers’ problem and offering a solution

    * Average US consumer owns 7.2 Internet-connected devices, making cross-device tracking difficult


    At a time when companies aren’t just selling products and services but also competing for customers’ time and attention across a vast digital playing field, creating lasting relationships is Job No. 1 for many CMOs.

    People-based marketing
    That means starting meaningful conversations, offering relevant solutions, and communicating a genuine concern for consumers and their wants and needs, according to John Boris, CMO of Shutterfly. This practice – often referred to by some as “people-based marketing” – has taken hold because, “quite simply, it works,” Boris told But how to successfully create and maintain that one-to-one relationship?


    (Businesses landscape to change in MENA: What you should know)

    Easier said than done
    “People-based marketing is knowing your customers and understanding their behaviours,” Boris said. “Consumers are savvy and they are inundated with marketing messages at every turn. Effective marketing is not about pushing your message or product but about understanding a consumer’s problem and offering them a solution when and where they need it.”

    According to Asa Whillock, “identity czar” at Adobe (’s parent company), people-based marketing is about more than one-off personalisation efforts. Rather, it has gained popularity partly because it enables marketers to converse with prospects, customers and VIPs on a regular basis.

    “Marketers want to be able to greet customers and give them offers or compelling experiences that are both interesting and continuous,” Whillock said. “By continuous, I mean they’re a sequence of interactions, which takes the person along a journey with the brand.”


    (7 Jobs that will not exist in 2017)

    The device dilemma
    People-based marketing is, in large part, enabled by the ability to tie devices to individual consumers. However, cross-device tracking is an issue that requires brands to have a strong and reliable attribution model to understand consumption choices, according to Shutterfly’s Boris. He also noted that mobile’s various data sources make it all the more complicated.

    “The majority of emails are opened on a mobile device [and] the vast majority of social media investment is on mobile. It is, therefore, imperative that marketers gain insight into cross-device behaviour,” Boris said.

    But that can be complicated: the average US consumer owns 7.2 Internet-connected devices, yet marketers typically can identify only one of them during a Web visit, according to data from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). This gap means that many marketers have a limited picture of customers and an even more limited ability to activate relevant cross-device experiences.

    Because of the myriad of devices that consumers are using today, marketers have been challenged in providing “continuous” experiences, Adobe’s Whillock noted. The sequence of interactions that makes for a continuous interaction is unquestionably disrupted, he said.

    “People-based marketing is treating someone as one person, across multiple devices, and still giving them that delightful experience. That’s really the focus,” Whillock said.


    (4 ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform your business)

    Tying it all in
    The good news is that marketers understand the importance of untangling this device dilemma. According to a study by technology company Signal, advertisers are already embracing people-based media: 25 per cent of media buyers said their clients spend more than half of their budgets on addressable media. Further, Signal found, 92 per cent of media buyers said they and their clients will increase these media buys in 2016.

    The Signal study also found that 83 per cent of companies that are employing a people-based approach have seen improved click-through rates, and 60 per cent said they have seen higher conversion rates.

    Shutterfly’s Boris took the cross-device argument one step further, saying that marketers need to be thinking about tying such data to the individual, vs. tying it back to devices, with the latter being the more common practice nowadays.

    “By focusing on devices, you’re limited in your view. When you look at attribution, you need to understand how frequently your customer is on mobile and desktop, where they are engaging with your product, and their motivations for purchase,” Boris said.

    Power of persistence
    The key to employing a people-based marketing approach comes down to a combination of people, process, and technology, Boris said.

    “Team members not only need to have the right skill sets, but they also need to share a customer-centric mindset,” Boris said. “Of course, it is then critical to establish the right processes to enable successful execution, as well as empower the team with the right tools and technology needed to make the decisions.”

    People-based marketing is no easy feat, added Kathy Menis, SVP of marketing at Signal. Having the ability to recognise consumers is a challenge in and of itself, as is layering on the device dilemma. And it doesn’t end there.

    A big part of people-based marketing is having the right technology. The problem is, today’s marketers are working with different platforms, from different vendors, which aren’t integrated, which means they have a plethora of data sources. “Getting your head around all of that data can be a huge challenge,” Menis told

    “It’s hard to take ownership of customer data and to be able to manage it in such a way that you can collect it and connect it at a profile level that’s persistent,” Menis added. “Persistent means that it’s durable and stable, and that the marketer has the ability to recognise that consumer, to target them, to re-engage them. There needs to be that continual, always-on component to it so that, over time, marketers have the ability to provide more relevant and personalised experiences.”

    Not only are marketers troubled by what their integrated technology stack looks like, they’re also struggling with how to run the marketing organisation in a customer-centric way. According to Menis, it’s anchored around having a single view of the customer. Part of the issue: only six per cent of marketers have this streamlined view.

    “That’s a big problem,” Menis said. “If the advertiser doesn’t recognise the consumer, they don’t have that unified view and, in a sense, it gives them a handicap across all of their offline and online marketing.”

    A single view of the customer is possible only when an organisation is aligned from within, Menis stressed. Companies need to think about what happens internally to build this persistent view and make it the core of everything that happens.

    Next, companies should think about where they need to make investments, what processes have to be in place, and what types of integrated technology is going to enable the experiences that companies want. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, Menis said.

    “The power of the persistent profile isn’t even just an advertising context; it drives intelligence for the data and analytics teams, obviously to the marketing team and the digital media team, but there’s implications even into the future in terms of product innovation,” she said.

    Respect for privacy
    People-based marketing also must factor in the privacy angle, Adobe’s Whillock said. As marketers work on linking various devices to an individual consumer, the need for transparency is imperative. Marketers need to make their customers and prospects better understand which devices are linked and where it is happening.

    “That’s been the hardest part so far,” he said. “Consumers need to understand what’s going on, but technology has evolved so quickly that it’s hard to determine if consumers really understand what’s happening with their data.”

    Marketers also need to be transparent about where this cross-device data is being used and where it came from, Whillock added.

    To that end, Signal’s Menis recommended that brands refer to the guidelines and standards of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), a self-regulatory association dedicated to responsible data collection and its use for digital advertising.

    It’s clear that the opportunities with people-based marketing are plenty, but all of the experts interviewed agreed that people-based marketing is still in its infancy as marketers struggle with device ID, technology, internal issues, and privacy.

    “People-based marketing is in the early stages, and it will certainly grow in importance as technology advances. Reaching people with personalised messages and information at the right time on the right device is powerful,” Shutterfly’s Boris said. “If brands use the data responsibility, under the premise of [using data to] create a better customer experience, a people-based marketing approach is an incredibly powerful tool.”

    The post For smart marketers today, ‘It’s the people, stupid’ appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    Blue net junction on blue number background. (Image: Alamy)

    * A common question in communcations is: why outsource if it can be done in-house?

    * Understanding specialisation, scale, savings and security is key to answering this question

    * Find the right working model and a relationship governed by your own terms


    In our industry, we often need to remind ourselves that we don’t save lives. We are in the communication field and, as I like to explain it to my mother: “We sell ads”. The reason behind this intro is that certain topics in the industry are blown out of proportion and, sometimes, we all need to be mature and more objective in assessing our needs.

    In communications, typically more on the media side than creative, a common question always arises: why do I need an agency if I can do it in-house? In other words, why outsource?

    To help you come up with the right answer, you need to think of four areas: specialisation, scale, savings and security. Assessing these separately is not enough; they need to be thought of both separately and interdependently.


    (Why do 70% of your employees want to quit?)

    The media industry is one of the most disruptive industries. Big tech players such as Facebook and Google have been trying to reimagine communications. Specialisation is mainly focused around digital. Biddable platforms have made media more accessible but also put huge risks on marketers.

    To better understand this first area, you need to objectively assess what it takes to build this specialisation in terms of talent, training and long-term vision. Nobody can debate the importance of a service built in-house and how that brings value beyond the task itself.

    Let’s take the simplest example: deciding if you should run your Facebook advertising in-house, knowing you produce your static content in-house. To bring this in, you should have ticked the following:

    Ability to attract a capable team that is knowledgeable and specialised enough to make the most out of the platform
    A team that is curious and advanced enough to tap into technologies that sit on top of these platforms
    An infrastructure and a set of processes that allow this team to connect with your data-infrastructure at large and has the right checks and balances with your content, PR teams, etc.
    Workload management where you can make use of the talent during ups, downs and leave times
    A solid career development plan to keep this specialised talent motivated, knowing that what motivates them might not be your company’s vision or culture

    If you tick all of the above, you still need to assess the risks. Does an external agency still outperform your team? And what’s that value? Does your business require hands-on and always-on teams, forcing you to bring it in-house? While agencies tend to underspend in terms of required timing (sometimes driven by fee pressures), they still outperform with their talent and specialisation.


    (Businesses landscape to change in MENA: What you should know)

    To deliver on scale, you need to have the ability to put both the right effort (talent and resources) to deliver on the set objectives to the fullest and have the scale as a company for it to make sense to bring the service in-house.

    The first is quite company-specific and depends on how much the management focuses on prioritising the marketing/IT function. The plan has to be long-term and not only to worry about today. I’ve seen situations where advertisers were overconfident in building certain services in-house and fell short on maintaining it. This issue accentuates when you start thinking about different geographies or additional specialisation.

    The second is to better understand how your scale enables you (or not) to get the most out of a relationship with your suppliers.

    Nobody can debate that it’s a complex food chain ecosystem. The advertisers are the primary producers and what takes place between the consumers is getting more complicated yet clearer to everybody. What’s key is that the cost of an in-house resource can be much more than one on the agency side.

    You might find it hard to believe this on paper, but agencies can use their scale and relationships to find ways to finance your needs. The major savings are typically around commercial and buying. Is your scale comparable to the scale of an agency?

    While agency models have evolved, always remember that the inception started with the premise of buying clout on behalf of multiple advertisers. Even when you think you have the scale, negotiations on a bigger set of advertisers plays a role and creative negotiations can leave you speechless sometimes.

    From a tech perspective, the core efficiencies rely on the tools and licenses that agencies acquire on behalf of their clients: whether it’s not charged or passed on at a lower fee, the efficiencies are still sizeable.


    (7 Jobs that will not exist in 2017)

    Data is becoming the backbone of every buy and layering first-party data on top of these buys is becoming the norm. As an advertiser, you need to think about the customer data you sit on.

    Security was never a stopper for advertisers to share their PII data with the tech companies and it shouldn’t be the case with any partner you deal with. Processes and contracts can protect your data. The rule is always to own your customer data but never let that stop you from letting your partners access it. Strict rules and regulations have been in place to make sure everybody adheres to the guidelines.

    Outsourcing is not an advertising-specific dilemma. Every vertical and every service within every vertical is always outsourcing. There’s also no shame or a lack of capability from either side when an advertiser decides to bring a service in-house.

    It’s key to think objectively about your needs on the long run and assess accordingly. Agencies (traditional or the new breed) will play a more pivotal role moving forward. The complexity of tech, data, inventory and content, among others, means it makes sense to give it to a partner where it is their backbone.

    Bringing the expertise in-house is invaluable in elevating your whole organisation: from knowledge to energy and cross-pollination. Whether you outsource or not, this should be the premise of your relationship with your agency. When you elevate it to a true partnership and let them into your bedroom, you will get the best of both worlds.

    If your business needs your communications team to be embedded in your core team, don’t shy away from asking for the experts’ advice. Luckily, we’re seeing more and more consultancy asks coming from the commerce players that only care about delivering business results and have found that balance of running in-house with the experts, shedding their knowledge along the way.

    You need to find what’s right for your business – find the right working model and a relationship governed by your own terms. Remember, you’re the producer in this food chain. Stay focused on the real objective.

    The post Outsourcing in the advertising food chain appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    OOX Logo. (Image supplied)

    Digital ad monitoring company OOX launched “mobile advertising monitoring” as part of its flagship service OOXmonitor in December.

    Using the advanced monitoring capabilities of next generation robots, the new service is the first of its kind in the region, claims the company in a press statement.

    “The launch of mobile advertising monitoring in Q4 2016 demonstrates OOX’s leading and innovative position in the business of digital advertising monitoring, data and analytics,” says Fouad Bedran, co-founder and managing director, OOX, in a press statement.


    (Social media ads to hit $50bn by 2019: Zenith)


    OOXmonitor already provides insights into the top mobile advertisers, spends, ad units and so on, with plans of adding more features and solutions in 2017.

    Native from Cairo
    Additionally, OOXmonitor has added Cairo-based digital native advertising agency Kijamii to its subscriber list.


    (What next for Middle East’s media?)


    “OOX is excited to welcome Kijamii as the latest digital native agency addition to OOXmonitor’s increasing subscribers in Egypt and the MENA region,” adds Bedran. Kijamii, which was recently added to A15 investment group’s portfolio, handles clients including Huawei, Nestlé, L’Oréal, Philips, IKEA, Vodafone, DHL, Emaar and Netflix.


    This article was first published on Communicate Online, a sister title of AMEinfo

    The post OOX launches mobile ad monitoring, partners with Kijamii in Cairo appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    Can some agencies look past their traditional ways and embrace digital to step into the future. (Image: Alamy)

    If you compare the process of advertising between its “golden era” and today, so little has changed, unfortunately. From a radio spot to a TV ad to a print ad to an outdoor billboard, the underlying premise is still the same: take a broadcast platform with an audience and interrupt the regularly scheduled programming with a product message.

    Traditional agencies still manage to interrupt people’s time rather than be part of their daily lives, interests, aspirations, or needs. This is because the formula for creating campaigns has remained intact for more than half a century and the agencies that produce these ads haven’t evolved much either.

    Agencies still silo their creative, production, PR and media buying as entirely different disciplines — or even different companies. Like any business that has been operating under the same model for decades, ad agencies have become rigid and increasingly slow to adapt.

    With brands moving more of their overall spend to digital every year, traditional agencies have “tried” to keep up with the times, yet, so far, still fail at it.

    The traditional ad agencies that dominate the mainstream advertising world have either acquired existing digital or social agencies or have brought into the region digital and social agencies from their global networks, but these cosmetic changes have not altered the fundamental threat that all large agencies face in an era of rapid technological change and audience fragmentation.


    (Global digital advertising spend to reach nearly $300 billion by 2020)

    Paradigm shift
    Acquiring a digital/social agency or bringing in one from global won’t be effective if the DNA of those who are leading those agencies doesn’t change. Change must start from within. Those traditional ad agencies need a major paradigm shift in their thinking, in the way they treat digital/social, in the way they hire talent, in the way they fund their digital efforts, in the way they plan they budgets for digital activities, in the way they integrate digital in their core offering, in the way they lead on the transformation of their services.

    If an agency is still seen by others as a traditional advertising agency, then the leadership has not done their job. You can’t have a digital cultural change without it coming from the top. Digital has to be at the boardroom table. It has to come from the CEO’s mouth; it has to be a part of the business.

    A lot of agencies talk about getting digital and it really means ‘let’s get a room with a bunch of programmers.’ That’s not digital; technology has to be part of everything and working across the organisation, it can’t just be a function.

    Just copies
    Most large agencies’ existing attempts to advertise on the Internet is to treat it as a broadcast platform. That’s why online ads are digital copies of their analog counterparts — flashing billboards on web pages, interruptive pop-ups and TV commercials repurposed as 30-second pre-rolls. In the digital era, ideas spread not as a one-to-many transmission, but through the sharing of individuals and groups between one another. As such, the web required a new model for earning an audience’s attention — one driven by content. Brands want to build audiences and communities online, and the best way to do it is with stuff that people will actually seek out, talk about and share.

    So much of what we find entertaining is driven by relevance and, in the age of digital, the pace of what is relevant to us accelerates every day. Just think about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, where a meme captivates the community, only to be discarded hours later.

    Creating content that resonates with people requires a speed of production to ensure that the same idea you had in the pitch will still carry weight when it sees the light of day. No matter how loudly agencies trumpet their ability to be “scrappy”, their size and structure is simply not conducive to moving at the speed of digital.


    (The human cost of digital technologies)

    Cut through the noise
    The only thing that is truly able to cut through online white noise is authentic, relevant content that feels unique to the web and its culture. For this, brands need lean, collaborative and flexible teams that are all committed to the same goal: Entertaining their audience.

    I am convinced that it boils down to a difference in three things:


    Traditional Agencies:

    Philosophy- The brand/creative/idea is king. Clever headlines and high-production imagery reign supreme. Awards are highly valued.
    Tools- TV, radio, print PR, and web. Notice how web is thrown in there as an aside.
    Skills- Mostly made up of account managers, copywriters and designers. The principals often come from an advertising background and don't fully understand the web.

    Digital Agencies:

    Philosophy - Content/data/engagement/results are king. Awards aren't as important as delivering measurable value to clients.
    Tools - Websites, apps, mobile, SEO, content marketing, email, PPC, UI/UX, UX research, development, social media, innovation, tech, programmatic, lead generation, analytics.
    Skills - Designers specialise in web interfaces, writers specialise in value-based content vs promotional "sales" copy. Account managers understand web strategy and data. People running the company live and breathe the web and don't care about TV, radio or print.


    Digital and traditional are very different and they have very different cultures. Merging those cultures is always going to be challenging no matter what you do and it’s important to get to grips with that reality.

    The post Will traditional agencies ever become digital? appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    The winners of the Festival of Media MENA Awards, hosted at the Music Hall in Zabeel Saray, Dubai, were revealed this evening.

    Starcom was crowned Agency Network of the Year after collecting nine trophies across its UAE and Egyptian offices in categories that included Best Use of Video and Best Use of Gamification, while Agency of the Year was awarded to OMD UAE, who collected a total of 11 awards, including gold for Best Use of Traditional Media and Best Use of Technology.

    The other big Grand Prix winner on the night was MEC MENA who took home the trophy for Campaign of the Year for its ‘MAGGIE Diaries – The Power to Make a Difference’ project.

    The judging was divided into two groups, which were chaired by Asad Rehman, director of media MENA, Unilever, and Nick Graham, global digital marketing and media director, Huawei, respectively. Other judges on the panel included influential media minds from Visa, Unilever, General Motors, Ferrero, McDonald’s and Nestlé.

    On judging, Rehman said: “It is a privilege and a great responsibility to be asked to chair such a prestigious awards ceremony as the Festival of Media MENA. Too often we are in the office with our heads down, but judging allows us the opportunity to open the windows and see what else is happening in the region.”

    The Festival of Media MENA Awards, which is run in partnership with Mediaquest, is dedicated to the evolution of media, celebrating the best in media thinking and communications across the region. Judged by a senior panel of global and regional brand marketers, the programme is a prestigious event rewarding the very best work.

    All winning campaigns can be seen on or

    The post Starcom, OMD and MEC dominate at Festival of Media MENA Awards appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    Influencing, impacting, effecting are precious words used today in our media industry which we hear around a lot. What is that all about?

    As PR agencies, we are lately asked not only to generate coverage for brands and organizations, but to build relationships that influence behaviour; and this is where 'digital media' comes into play.

    Many have written about the changing nature of PR, and its move from traditional coverage, celebrities and ambassadors; to influencers that have enormous reach and are trusted within social, demographic, or values-driven networks.

    Public relations is also known to be a specialized practice where certain trends are powerful and in other cases weak and nonexistent. It has always focused on delivering the right image, insights, messaging, reputation, brands, cohesive marketing communication, ROI, strategic communication, and CSR projects.

    Most experts, therefore, following these rules have services that are limited to media and media relations, and they passionately believe that publicity will produce a good outcome always. But today the PR views are changing and agencies see the new digital media as a revolutionary power that is changing the way the public are reacting to campaigns and yet upsets the way agencies practice PR.
    Social media, the game changer
    Social media, on the other hand, has transformed to become a support; and changing the way PR campaigns are distributed and measured should be studied further. Online platforms are revolutionary tools that has changed the way PR is practiced, becoming an essential part for many companies; offering PR specialists some new challenges to explore.

    PR; unfortunately; is also getting perceived as an old marketing method that has relied on the same tactics and formulas for a long while, and that’s been only measured by the number of coverages, ROI ad AVI’s.

    Let’s admit it; prior to the digital blast everything was print based. It was all about securing coverage. If a person wanted to be famous, then they were promised by their agency coverages to make them what they want in print, TV, radio and many other mediums.

    Yet, the success of a public relations campaign is no longer measured by the weight of clippings it has achieved, but by the number of blog posts, conversations, comments, retweets, Instagram comments, etc. that it gathered online.

    From PR, traditional practices, our industry has evolved rapidly to accommodate constant change and new digital tools, creating opportunities for new successful campaigns.

    The growth of digital marketing has also many consequences on media agencies which are now in search of unique and engaging content always. This in return has transformed the role of PR and made it more challenging to create interesting and appealing content.

    Successful PR campaigns are now increasingly dependent on their ability to create content that people want to share and talk about online; so this has forced PR agencies to work and focus a lot more on new channels and to be more open to things, not only in terms of measurement but also in relation to deliverables; promoting better marketing tools with better outcome.

    We can’t deny that social media offers new channels of communication between companies, brands and its public that are beneficial. It doesn’t only offer an opportunity for direct and instant communication, but also a chance to get back to the ideal basics of public relations, building and maintaining relationships, and changing some of the negative categories typically associated with our industry.
    Has PR died?
    Digital for sure has become an innovative tool that has quickly changed the way public relations companies practice their deliverables; but it doesn’t mean PR had died. It’s a platform that has become an important part for many com­panies in helping PR experts to explore new areas to research and use tools that can be integrated within their existing PR practices.

    I still believe, though, that there is an amazing link between both practices (PR and Digital) that can make a brand more powerful and play an important part in the market. We just need to know how to use it and sell it.

    On the other hand, most of the social media can be a waste of time.  It’s a great platform to post photos, announce opinions, like, comment, unfollow, follow and utilize other harmless endeavors. Social media can void hours, if not days, out of our work, time and energy. Using this method for PR professionals and entrepreneurs; can be useful for connecting brands on the web with other new customers.
    And press releases?
    Today we can use social media to be support PR and vice versa through many ways.

    Mixing social media with press releases are beneficial; and when writing down any news, it’s good to find a way to support and extend the message via online platforms. This will help a lot since journalists now a days, rely heavily on Twitter to source, monitor and research stories. So, by sharing a story online professionals can reach them instead of interrupting their inbox constantly.

    Creating online campaigns around some case studies is another format; where most of the PR agencies build case studies or infographics to highlight successes and build credibility. While some stories make a good write-up, most people aren’t willing to invest their time to read long-forms of articles. Instead of sharing the full study on social media, picking out the key facts from the success story and highlight those across the board will make a difference.

    Executives, brand managers and others; are recommended to publish news on LinkedIn. When CEOs or other executives actively engage online, they’re playing an important role in building trust with others inclusive of their media exposure. Since it’s a small percentage of managers that are active on social platforms; it’s time to educate and encourage them to change that.

    Social media also offers a major way to offer expert observation and make an immediate impact on the audience. Yet, press releases might take time to reach readers and most likely to miss some opportunities here and there. So in support to print news; online can be of an assistance.

    Example, in the case of breaking news or crisis management, executives must proceed with caution to ensure they are adding value online to the conversation and not being completely egotistic or trying to exploit on a catastrophe.

    If us, as agencies will always work on relying on traditional public relations tactics, then it’s time for us to breathe in a new format and apply it into our efforts. By focusing on a online platforms in conjunction with our PR practices, we will be able to communicate our messages directly and more effectively.

    Additionally, clients with this format will be able to connect with media and influencers proactively looking for news and resources instead of spamming press with press release documents and others they simply don’t want or can’t share immediately.

    (By Zeina Akkawi, Managing Director of PAZ Marketing)

    The post PR in the era of digital media appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    Influencer marketing is a relatively simple but incredibly effective form of marketing that focuses upon specific key individuals rather than the target market as a whole. But who is an influencer?

    According to The Word of Mouth Marketing Association Handbook, social media influencers can significantly shape the customer’s purchasing decision and has a greater than average reach or impact in a relevant marketplace.

    High potential

    The potential of social media influencers is more important now than ever, with mobile technology playing a key role in consumers’ decisions across the MENA region, according to new research by Facebook.

    Ryan Holmes, author of The 4 Billion Dollar Tweet, says: "For company leaders, not understanding social media now represents a serious business liability. Being able to personally leverage platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is a foundational leadership skill. The question is no longer if leaders can afford to be on social, but whether they can afford not to."

    Facebook data shows that conversations about Ramadan started early this year and are expected to last for nine weeks on Facebook among the UAE’s 8.4 million monthly active users.

    7 tips for Ramadan

    Here are some tips for influencers to maximise interactions with people during Ramadan:

    1. Facebook is where decisions are made: Whether it’s travel transactions and late-night shopping or discussing the challenges of Ramadan fasting and health and fitness, Facebook is where people come to make decisions or seek advice. As well as reaching a broad audience, consider the tools and solutions that can drive specific actions. And think about the peak time to engage your audience.

    2. Inspire on Instagram: The creative nature of Instagram makes it the perfect place to inspire. Compared to Facebook, Instagram sees a higher concentration of conversations around Iftar, desserts and recipe ideas, as well as fashion, cars and home. While Facebook shows Ramadan as it is; Instagram shows the Ramadan that could be.

    3. Trailer Your TV Show on Facebook: With more 100m hours of video watched every day, Facebook has become a powerful mobile video platform. And our research shows that video ads on Facebook act as a ‘trailer’ for TV, increasing brand metrics like recall and awareness. With conversations about Ramadan TV beginning at the end of April, it’s crucial that broadcasters tap into this audience to trailer their TV premieres. And thanks to our Reach & Frequency pricing, you won’t pay any more to reach your audience during Ramadan than any other time of the year.

    4. Tell Stories with Instagram: More than 150 million Instagrammers use Instagram Stories daily. And people are highly engaged with businesses. In fact, one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. Stories are a great way to capture people’s attention and imagination, and it’s now possible to place sponsored content in the Stories section of Instagram’s homepage.

    5. Make it Meaningful: In a mobile world, we have more opportunities than ever to reach people. But there has never been more competition for our attention. Today, relevance is key when it comes to cutting through the noise. That means taking advantage of Facebook’s people-based targeting tools, as well as developing creative that reflects people’s real interests. Start by using our Audience Insights API to find out more about who your customers really are.

    6. People Love Local: When it comes to buying food or clothes, most people have a limit on how far they’ll travel to a store. With Facebook’s Local Awareness ads, all businesses can target people within a certain radius of their store, which means your ads will only reach the people who are most likely to take action.

    7. Don’t Just Go Big – Go Global: Just a few years ago, most businesses were limited to serving customers on the same street, neighbourhood or region. But with more than 1bn people on Facebook connected to a business in another country36, it’s now possible for any business to reach people in a new country. With International Lookalike Audience it’s even possible to target people on Facebook in a new country who share similar characteristics to your current customer base, making it easier than ever to find low-cost leads.

    Save the date

    Social media influencer marketing will take the spotlight at Arab Luxury World in a session at 4.30pm on May 23, 2017.

    Arab Luxury World, a leading conference on the business of luxury in the Middle East, is a unique summit built on the extraordinary growth the region has recorded the past decade in the luxury segment.

    This year, the event will focus on the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the end of the era of overabundance – two factors that are transforming the Middle East luxury industry.

    As innovation, adaptability and sustainability become the new norms, the industry’s stakeholders are faced with the necessity of adapting to single-digit growth in brick-and-mortar sales.

    Meanwhile, the digital disruption has arrived and online platforms are vying for the lion’s share of the market and enjoying double-digit growth.

    Can luxury businesses adapt to an environment of digital disruption? What does the future of retail look like in this new environment?

    Attend Arab Luxury World 2017 on May 22 and 23, 2017 at Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai to find out.

    The post 7 top tips for social influencers in Ramadan appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    I first started out in advertising as a junior account executive, which essentially meant analysing newspaper ads. I would monitor them, gather clippings, see what was what, and report back. It wasn’t the highlight of my career, by any stretch of the imagination, but I did learn; the size of a quarter page in Gulf News, what colour separations meant, how different brands communicate, the way the language is written, and why certain images are used. Everything I learnt is still of value to me today.

    Shortly after, I became an account executive on the Nissan account. I had recently returned from the US, was not long out of university, and, as many people do in my situation, thought I knew everything. I remember how my Japanese client at that time pulled me aside and said: “Your job for the first two years is to sit, learn and listen.”

    Today things have changed. Who invests time in such learning anymore? Employees across all industry sectors skip or jump rungs on the career ladder, and this is as much our fault as it is theirs. Account Directors become chief marketing officers; junior journalists become editors; bank clerks become financial advisers. But most worryingly, our reliance on technology is degrading our own mental capacity as communicators. Increasingly we rely more on technology than we do on ideas.

    We no longer remember phone numbers because they are stored in our contacts. The route from A to B is forgotten because we rely on Google Maps for navigation. Meanwhile, our children are becoming progressively worse at mathematics because they always have their smart phones within reach. And the more we rely on web services for certain cognitive and memory functions, the more those abilities weaken.

    We live in an age where experience has been sent to the back of the classroom. Where youth is valued above all else. Time used to equal knowledge, experience, and gradually rising through the corporate structure. Now it’s technology, disruptive thinking and entrepreneurialism that matter.

    But what does it really matter? How important are knowledge and experience anyway?

    The industry is far less rigid now, age and experience are no longer key factors in what you can achieve. We do, after all, live in a world where the president of the French Republic is 39.

    I like this brave new world. But if we lose knowledge, we lose something of ourselves and the industry will be poorer for it.

    Nevertheless, there is more opportunity than ever before for those with spark, pizazz and drive, regardless of age. Ideas are flourishing, collaboration has become fundamental to progress, and we are embracing failure in an era of entrepreneurialism.

    I was talking to a friend the other day and they asked: “Who would you rather hire? Someone that started a company, but failed and learnt from it, or someone with years of experience and multiple different degrees?”

    It’s a difficult question to answer.

    There’s no point in holding onto the old days, however, not everything that’s old is outdated, and not everything that’s new will be a success. That’s where you count on your instinct and your experience to figure out what’s what. Experience comes with time and investment in knowledge and learning.

    Reda Raad is the Group CEO at TBWA\Raad

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    The ninth edition of the MENA Effie Awards (Effies) is set to take place on November 15, 2017. The awards programme was launched to honour the most effective marketing efforts in the region and the ceremony is expected to attract more than 2,000 attendees, including the best marketing and advertising minds in the Middle East.

    The call for entries is now open across 29 categories, including a new addition for this year – ‘Renaissance’. The first entry deadline is on Thursday, September 7, with the second following on Thursday, September 14, and the final deadline on Thursday, September 28. All entries must be made before 6pm Dubai time on the specified dates.

    Alexandre Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest – the organiser of the MENA Effie Awards – commented: “We are delighted to be opening the call for entries for the ninth edition of the MENA Effies, which has become one of the most prestigious awards programmes in the region’s marketing calendar. The programme has been designed to encompass the entire marketing world and give companies a real opportunity to display their innovative, effective approaches to everything, ranging from sector-specific marketing to branded content and media ideas. The entries have been of an increasingly high calibre year on year and we are confident that 2017 will be no exception.”

    The programme boasts a wide range of industry-specific categories, including ‘Automotive’, ‘Banking, Finance & Insurance’, ‘Cosmetics & Fragrances’, ‘Electronics’, ‘Food & Beverage – FMCG’, ‘Non-Food FMCG’, ‘Healthcare Services’, ‘Personal Care Products’, ‘Retail & Luxury’, ‘Entertainment & Sports’, ‘Telecommunications, Mobiles & Internet’, and ‘Travel, Tourism & Transportation’.

    Entrants are encouraged to showcase their marketing and branding innovation in categories such as ‘New Products & Services’, ‘Media Idea’, ‘Brand Experience’, ‘Branded Content’, ‘Media Partnership Activation’ and ‘Seasonal Marketing’.

    The programme also includes a dedicated ‘Shopper Marketing’ category, two ‘Youth Marketing’ categories – one for children and one for teenagers and adults – and two ‘Social Good’ categories for corporate brands and non-profit organisations.

    Winning an Effie has become a global symbol of achievement and participants will be battling it out for the ‘Grand Prix’, as well other prestigious accolades including ‘Marketer of the Year’, ‘Most Effective Advertising Office of the Year’, ‘Most Effective Media Office of the Year’ and ‘Most Effective Agency Network of the Year’.

    Alongside the Effie Awards ceremonies taking place across the world is the Effie Effectiveness Index, the most comprehensive global ranking of marketing effectiveness. It identifies and ranks the world’s most effective agencies, marketers and brands by analysing finalist and winner data from 40+ worldwide Effie Award competitions.

    The 2017 Effie Effectiveness Index has just been released and is compiled from 3,601 finalists and winning entries from worldwide 2016 Effie Award competitions, with winners including Unilever for ‘Most Effective Marketer’ and Vodafone for ‘Most Effective Brand’. The winners of the MENA Effie Awards 2017 will become part of the ranking process for the 2018 Effie Effectiveness Index.

    The MENA Effie Awards aims to establish a gold standard of creative marketing brilliance in the region and is being generously supported this year by Choueiri, Main Sponsor; DMC, Strategic Sponsor; ATL and IPSOS, Category Sponsors; Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, Official PR Partner; and Communicate, Gulf Marketing Review and The Media Network, Media Partners.

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    JCDecaux SA (Euronext Paris: DEC), the global outdoor advertising company, has announced that it has won with its Emirati partner, DXB Media Advertising, a new street furniture contract in Dubai for 10 years, following a competitive tender by the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority, RTA. This contract will be exercised jointly by an entity that will be ultimately 75 per cent owned by JCDecaux and 25 per cent by DXB Media Advertising.

    This exclusive contract covers the installation, operation, upkeep and maintenance of 418 advertising lamp posts strategically positioned along the famous Jumeirah Beach Road, as well as 50 fully-interactive e-Village situated in iconic locations around the city.

    This intelligent street furniture initiative is part of the 34 new projects of RTA’s Smart City Program to be implemented over the next 5 years and aim to transform Dubai into the smartest city worldwide.

    The advertising lamp posts, which will feature 836 panels measuring 3.2m², will be installed by the end of summer 2017 and will give advertisers and their brands a platform for innovative campaigns targeted at a premium audience on one of Dubai's busiest main streets.

    The 15km route runs along the coast and provides access to beaches, residential areas, major hotels and the most popular restaurants and attractions.

    For this first very strategic partnership with RTA, JCDecaux leveraged the expertise of its Research and Development teams to develop advertising lamp posts with a new design that fits perfectly into the urban environment.

    In addition, each model was submitted to a life-cycle assessment to measure the environmental impacts of its design, production, operation and end-of-life, reducing its energy consumption by approximately 39 per cent and meeting the Group's sustainable development standards.

    Meanwhile, the e-Village, a smart city product and an interactive communication platform for the RTA will be set up in some of Dubai's most iconic locations, including along the Marina Promenade, next to the famous Burj al-Arab hotel and in the historical districts of Bur Dubai and Deira.

    Combining a series of innovations, they will provide residents and visitors with a range of services as well as general, governmental and commercial information in Arabic and English. The services will include e-commerce sites, tourism and cultural information, traffic, transit, weather and more.

    Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-CEO of JCDecaux, said: “We are very proud of this strategic partnership with RTA, whose values of excellence, innovation and creativity are important to JCDecaux. With this key step in our regional development, we will be offering our expertise to RTA in order to equip Dubai with a new generation of intelligent advertising street furniture in line with our business model, which is based on financing products and services through advertising that blends harmoniously with the urban environment.”

    “As the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide and in the Middle East, we work hard to make Dubai the showcase of our ability to deploy the most innovative technologies and the most creative formats, for the greatest benefit of cities, residents, advertisers and their brands,” Decaux added.

    The post JCDecaux signs new street furniture contract with DXB Media Advertising appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    The global Internet ad spending market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.44 per cent during the period 2017-2021, says a report by Research and Markets.

    To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from different types of Internet ads and by different regions in the global Internet ad spending market. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.
    Growing M&A in online advertising
    The Global Internet Ad Spending Market 2017-2021 report has found that the latest trend gaining momentum in the market is growing M&A (mergers and acquisitions) in online advertising.

    The number of M&A in the global Internet ad spending market, particularly in the online advertising technology or AdTech sector, has been increasing since 2015.

    The publisher forecasts that this trend will be prevalent in the market during the forecast period as well. With the expansion of the global Internet ad spending market, small and medium-scale vendors are finding it difficult to maintain their position in the intensely competitive market and are getting acquired by larger vendors.

    During 2005-2015, more than 375 companies in the AdTech sector underwent M&A. The trend has continued in 2016, with the recent acquisition of AdTech firm Appscotch by a US-based business intelligence company App Annie in March 2016.
    Increasing customer base
    According to the report, one of the major drivers for this market is increasing customer base. Digital marketing campaigns on social media platforms help attract more clients.

    These platforms are rapidly becoming most conducive to engage the target audience. Posts and updates from companies on social media provide insights and latest news regarding their business and products.

    These posts on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are most likely to be viewed and shared. These shares generate traffic to the company’s website and increase familiarity with its services and products offered to a large customer base.

    Furthermore, sharing on social network platforms increases credibility, as recommendations from friends and acquaintances are regarded as trustworthy.
    Rising complexity
    Further, the report states that one of the major factors hindering the growth of this market is the rising complexity in integration. Online advertising involves the integration of ad exchanges, networks, servers, data suppliers and retargeting companies on an online platform.

    In addition, optimised online advertising requires the integration of stakeholders on the platform, which is a complex process. The attribution and tracking of the online ads are difficult as heavy investments, in terms of technology and money, are required for the transition from one platform to the other.

    The report notes that there is also a requirement of a highly skilled workforce for the development of the software that enables the complex integration process, which adds an additional cost. The need for heavy investments leads to either firms becoming defunct or acquisition of the smaller vendors.

    Key vendors over the next five years, according to the report, will be Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.

    (This story first appeared on AMEinfo's sister publication Gulf Marketing Review's website)

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    Social media ads are expected to catch up with newspapers in 2019. (Image: Alamy)

    With the recent news of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States cracking down on celebrities who promote unlabeled sponsored content, the rise for regulation in the social media advertising market is becoming more prevalent.

    Holding talent accountable for what they post will make it tougher for brands to control content and potentially further complicate the influencer posting market.

    Here are some altered cliché metaphors to help handle your social media/ advertising spend with talent acquisition:
    Make sure it’s true love
    Influencers now risk potentially being fined/ sued in some countries where, if they knowingly promote a product that does not work and their testimonials are not genuine or truthful, the ad will not protect them.

    For brands, this means a greater need for synergy between the talent and their product. In choosing to endorse a product, influencers must believe in the brand or have a genuine connection to the product. Make sure it’s true love before the grand union.
    Put your money where the mouth is
    Using platforms to understand brand engagement can help calculate ROI and more accurately depict a pricing chart for influencers. Using followers as a metric for purchase is no longer the only measure, as platforms now allow brands to measure how many people are engaging with posts and their content. Effectiveness of posted content can now be measured and influencers can be paid per engagement rather than for their overall following. Put your dollar bills on where the chatter is.
    Count your chickens
    Influencer marketing in its founding stages was measured in value of mass following, dominated by socialites who were popular on social platforms because of their social/celebrity status.

    Now, as the market becomes more educated, with the use of social media analytics, brands can measure the effectiveness of posting through socialites vs. social media users.

    Micro influencers often have a high engagement when it comes to product reviews and recommendations, while celebrities have a higher reach and fan based engagement.

    Using celebrities to develop a cult following around a brand is quite measurable. One can even gauge the level of negative or positive conversation around a campaign using the right analytics.

    Using the data, create a social media strategy to utilise both celebrities and influencers in a way that they complement one another. This will allow key messaging to reach the masses, while still having an element of quality content to back it up. Do the math till it adds up.
    Hire your standards
    Knowing the profile of celebrities and influencers is detrimental to a brand’s strategy. While analytics are a strong indicator, the importance of understanding the personality, willingness and nature of talent in deciding on whether to permanently associate them with your brand is key.

    Hire talent according to the standard of your brand's integrity and always be transparent with your followers. Remember that consumers are equally educated on the realms of social media. Ensure talent creates content that connects and appeals to your customer rather than content that manipulates them.

    The evolving doors of social media market trends are continually turning. So, steer away from common unexplained market trends, take strategic turns driven by the math and prioritise your brand’s identity to get back into the driver’s seat.

    (By Jessica Cox, Spread Communications)

    The post Social media vs socialite media appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    Social media feeds have been rife with some funny, some offensive, but mostly just plain wrong Arabic translations in advertising, where it almost seems like someone used an online translator without any context.

    Enter CopyArabia, Mnawar Jamil Shourakaa’s brainchild. With over ten years of experience in both, English and Arabic copywriting now, Shourakaa set up the agency in 2014 as a solution to his – and perhaps this region’s – biggest issue of “poor Arabic communications”.

    Why is it STILL happening?

    “This has been happening for a while now, but in the last couple of years, the problem has increased exponentially. It appeared on the surface with the economic crisis that hit the region two years ago,” he says, adding that the tough market conditions, which led to budget cuts, ended up affecting the quality of Arabic communication.

    Shourakaa says it’s a cycle starting with clients and ending at agencies. When budget cuts affect agencies – advertising, PR, social media or digital – the issue arises “when these agencies try to save from the budget by terminating their senior talents and hire junior ones instead,” he says. And the complexities and nuance of the Arabic language and its various dialects is too complicated to be handled by junior resources, opines Shourakaa.

    The rise of freelancers and translation services isn’t helping either because agencies select the cheapest option, which much like any other language, compromises on the quality of work.

    Read: Social media vs socialite media

    What’s the solution?

    To highlight the issue, Shourakaa has created a social media campaign #ArabicComesFirst encouraging users to share examples of bad Arabic in ads (examples below). That’s just the first step: awareness.

    In order to really make a change, Shourakaa believes “there should be a government-based media monitoring entity. Whenever an ‘assault’ occurs toward Arabic, this should be flagged out, and the client and agency behind it should be warned.”

    He admits that this approach might seem like an overreaction, but he questions, “What kind of a message are we sending to other nations when we don’t treat our primary language with respect in our marketing communications?”

    Read: Bloomberg Al Arabiya ushers in a new era of Arabic business and finance news

    The post Is advertising doing a disservice to the Arabic language? appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    By Nadim Ghrayeb

    For brands at the top of their game, success can often be accompanied by opportunity and challenge in equal measure. This is as true today as it was more than 100 years ago and brands can still learn a lot from their predecessors of the last century.

    In 1915, Cadillac, a brand synonymous with excellence and innovation, met resistance as it launched the world’s first mass-produced car with a water-cooled, V-Typed, 8-cylinder V8 engine. As is so often the case for innovators in every field, competitors at the time were quick to question and criticise Cadillac’s engineering breakthrough and industry leadership.

    Cadillac responded with ‘The Penalty of Leadership,’ a persuasive piece of advertising that has been heralded for changing not only the fortunes of the brand, but also the whole culture of advertising. It marked a so-called watershed moment for the advertising industry, as was similarly observed in subsequent decades with the likes of Clairol (‘Does she…or doesn’t she?’), Apple (‘1984’) and more recently Dove (‘Campaign for Real Beauty’).

    The 409-word declaration highlighted the penalties in store for those striving to consistently maintain high standards of excellence:

    “In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work…”

    Long before the ‘Father of Advertising’, David Ogilvy declared, “Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image,” Cadillac was providing a timeless lesson in brand communications for future generations.

    [caption id="attachment_1357344" align="alignnone" width="227"] The Penalty of Leadership[/caption]

    Read: Why brand perception is important during a business slowdown

    Cadillac had a deep understanding of the market, the competition and, most importantly, the target audience at that time. This was for the copywriter, Theodore F. MacManus, an important basis on which to not only confront Cadillac’s naysayers, but also distil the brand identity and elicit an emotional response from the reader. Knowing your audience, knowing your brand and knowing how to be emotive - be they in a newspaper ad in 1915 or Instagram post in 2017 – remain, to this day, three key elements for creating compelling content and practicing good brand communications.

    ‘The Penalty of Leadership’ was only published once, in the Saturday Evening Post, and withheld any mention of Cadillac except for an image of the brand’s logo at the top right-hand corner of the page and a short line at the bottom. Printed in black and white, without photos or colorful images, the copy strongly contrasted with the then popular style of brand communication, which was to explain why consumers should pick one brand’s product over another.

    Shortly after the piece was published, Cadillac received a plethora of customer requests for copies. The timeless appeal of the ad copy echoed through the decades and in 1945 was voted “The Greatest Ad of All Time”. In later years, the power of the text perpetuated with one of the most significant American cultural icons of the twentieth century, the ‘King of Rock and Roll,’ Elvis Presley, even framing a copy on the wall of his office in Graceland.

    Furthermore, as does any good effective advertisement, it also helped achieve any marketer’s number one aim: sales. On top of dispelling competitor negativity, defining the brand identity and providing inspiration to individuals through the ages also gave Cadillac a sales boom. Not a bad result for an afternoon’s work for a lowly copywriter from upstate New York.

    Read: Here are the top forecasts for ME vehicle market in 2017

    Nadim Ghrayeb is Regional Marketing Manager at Cadillac Middle East

    The post Here’s how Cadillac revolutionised the advertising industry appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    MENA Effies awards highlight the most effective marketing practices.

    We live in a world of advertising. Every media channel that we use, from television to mobile phones, newspapers and magazines, is continuously trying to convey a message about a certain product or service to catch people’s attention.

    Advertising has a tremendous effect on people’s behaviors and consequently on a business’s earnings and success.

    Numerous ceremonies are held around the world to award the most influential people in this sector, for the great difference that they make in the business world.

    Known as the Oscars of the marketing industry, MENA Effie Awards were conceived in 2009, to honor the most effective advertising efforts in the Middle East and North Africa region.

    What makes MENA Effie Awards special?

     A story of inspiration

    The MENA Effie Awards will take place on November 15, 2017 at The Pavilion – Armani Hotel, Dubai.

    In 2009, Alexandre Hawari, Co-CEO at Mediaquest Corp, organizer of the MENA Effie Awards, recognised the need to acknowledge and celebrate the people and companies that are helping transform the region; and that is how Mediaquest came up with the idea of Effies.

    He explains that the Effies Awards ceremony was created after Mediaquest joined forces with the world-renowned Effie Worldwide to become the GEMAS Effie MENA Awards, which are now called MENA Effie Awards.

    Launched in 1968, the Effie Awards program is known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry.

    “Effie Worldwide stands for effectiveness in marketing communications, spotlighting marketing ideas that work and encouraging thoughtful dialogue about the drivers of marketing effectiveness. The Effie network works with some of the top research and media organizations worldwide to bring its audience relevant and first-class insights into effective marketing strategy,” said Hawari.

    What are the awarded categories?

    Hawari explains that the categories are decided based on the judges’ feedback and depending on how the market is changing.

    The categories are divided into 3 segments: Product & Services categories – these categories speak to the overall industry; while Specialty categories are designed to address a specific business situation or challenge; and the Shopper Marketing, which is for integrated campaigns that were specifically designed to engage a target shopper.

    Read: MENA Effie Awards back in Dubai for ninth edition

    Who are the judges?

    Hawari says that judges on the panel are marketing veterans from the industry: CMOs, VPs, Marketing Directors/Managers, Corp Comm and Brand Managers.

    He explains that being an Effie Judge is a challenging job.

    “Being an Effie judge is one of the toughest jobs, because as a judge you are not only raising the bar for the industry by the winners you select, but you are at the same time sending a message to the industry on different levels about marketing effectiveness,” he said.

    He added: “The MENA Effie Awards are also focused on enhancing learning in our industry and what better way to do this than to have the industry as part of the jury panel?”

    However, the judgment process is not the only challenge faced by MENA Effie Awards.

    What are the challenges?

    Other challenges include ensuring transparency and credibility of the awards.

    “The one factor that makes the MENA Effie Awards stand out as an award program is our transparency and credibility of the awards, which is something that is of utmost importance for us and we need to ensure it is well respected,” Hawari said.

    To do so, MENA Effie Awards work with some of the top research and media organizations worldwide to bring the audience relevant and first-class insights into effective marketing strategy.

    The advertising strategy also posed some challenges.

    “It was extremely complicated to find a cost-effective way to reach this sector, so we relied on many different approaches, such as direct marketing and advertisement in print media, as well as regular above-the-line advertisements, digital advertisements and social media campaigns,” said Hawari.

    Despite all challenges, the MENA Effie Awards have already made its mark in the industry as the Oscars of the marketing industry.

    “What we now aim for is MENA Effie to become a network for the marketing industry through programs, insights, videos and white papers on effective marketing and other key educational and learning tools focusing on sharing insights on the principles of effective advertising and marketing communications,” he said.

    Read: Global online ad spend set for nearly double digit growth until 2021

    Last year’s coveted prizes

    The 2016 four most anticipated awards were:

    - Grand Prix, the award that celebrates the best advertising campaign among all categories, was won by Bou Khalil Supermarché for “The Good Note” by J. Walter Thompson Beirut.

    -  Most Effective Advertising Office of the Year: FP7/DXB

    -  Most Effective Media Office of the Year: Starcom Dubai

    -  Most Effective Agency Network of the Year: FP7 MENA

    It’s worth noting that the Gold Award for the automotive industry was won by Leo Burnett Cairo for their Renault Egypt campaign.

    As for the banking sector, the Gold Award was won by J. Walter Thomson, Kuwait, for their campaign “Towards Perfection” for Boubyan Bank.

    FP7 won the Gold Award for its “It belongs online” ad for Orange telecom.

    The post Coming soon: the Oscars of the advertising industry appeared first on AMEInfo.

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    On November 15 at the Armani/Pavilion in Downtown Dubai, the MENA Effie Award winners will be decided to celebrate success in the advertising sector in the region, in a show themed “The Great Gatsby.”

    The ninth edition of the MENA Effie Awards (Effies) has announced its shortlist in the run-up to its highly anticipated awards ceremony, which is expected to attract 2,000 attendees.

    An expert panel of judges will assess a total of 293 shortlisted entries across 24 categories.

    Alexandre Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest – Organiser of the MENA Effie Awards – commented: “We are delighted with the high calibre of entries this year, which have demonstrated the exceptional level of innovation and creativity that we look for in our award-winners.”

    Read:Coming soon: the Oscars of the advertising industry

    Read: Global online ad spend set for nearly double digit growth until 2021

    Hawari also added that the year 2017 turned out to be challenging in many ways for marketers in the region, especially in terms of tighter budgets. However, he added, the entries demonstrate that marketing professionals have faced this challenge successfully by rebalancing their media mix.”

    Jihad Al Houwayek, Head of Marketing at Damas UAE, said: “In 2017, companies needed to ensure their marketing budgets were in sync with the ever-increasing pressure on revenue. This forced them to optimise every dollar spent by focusing on the core audiences. To do so and be as targeted as possible, companies had to be more data-driven in identifying and reaching their niche target audience.”

    But why were marketing budgets tighter in the region this year?

     Economic slowdown

    Zenith ROI Agency reveals in a report released in 2017 that the drop in oil prices in 2014 had a severe effect on the economies in MENA and prompted advertisers to cut back their budgets in anticipation of lower consumer demand.

    Political turmoil and conflict have worsened, further shaking advertisers’ confidence in the region.

    “We forecast an 18.6 per cent drop in ad spending in MENA this year, following a ten per cent decline 2016. The region’s decline should moderate over time, but we predict no recovery during our forecast period. We expect ad spend to shrink 6.3 per cent in 2018 and 0.7 per cent in 2019,” it said.

    Read: MENA Effie Awards back in Dubai for ninth edition

    Elie Khouri, Chief Executive of the Omnicom Media Group in MENA was quoted by the media as saying that the industry as a whole was hit by lower spending on advertising across the board.

    It is worth noting that Omnicom and its related companies control a hefty chunk of the region’s advertising spend, buying time over the TV and radio airwaves and glossy space in magazines.

    Khouri said: “A high dollar is not good for the UAE because of tourism, investment and real estate — so naturally this will have an impact on the economy,” he said.

    Khouri added that the advertising channel suffering the most was print, whereas TV was stagnating and digital ads were going up.

    What the research says

    Statista, a portal for statistics, reflects a different mood in the ad industry. The portal said that ad expenditure in the Middle East and Africa would amount to $24.25 billion in 2017, up from $23 bn a year earlier, which would constitute a growth rate of five per cent. It is a small, but an upward movement.

    It estimates advertising spending to stand at $25.35bn in 2018 and $26.44bn in 2019.

    But what is driving this growth in advertising spend?

    A digital shift

    According to a study released in 2017 by LinkedIn, digital ad spending market will continue to grow in 2017, with a huge opportunity to catch up with global market rates in the coming years.

    “Clients have started demanding payment by results (ROI & Return on ad spend ROAS) as well as enhanced consumer insights and analytics. Even from creative agencies, as well as media buyers. This means the whole industry will shift into digital and sophisticated programmatic advertising which is more accountable,” it said.

    Statista reveals that digital advertising expenditure in 2017 stands at $3.8bn, while it is projected to increase to $4.63bn in 2018, $5.56bn in 2019 and $6.51bn in 2020.

    Communicate, a trade magazine, cites a new research from WARC and the Mobile Marketing Association saying that as much as 83 per cent of marketers in EMEA will increase their budget over the next 12 months and that in five years’ time, 40 per cent expect more than a quarter of their budget to be dedicated to mobile.

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    No sooner had Saudi announced the lifting of the ban on women driving late September 2017 than companies from Ford to Volkswagen to Jaguar started firing off ads targeting the new market of millions of Saudi women drivers.

    “Welcome to the driver’s seat” by Ford Middle East

     “Welcome to the driver’s seat” Fby Volkswagen

    Saudi women high jump their way into social manoeuvrability
    Read: This brand is giving away free cars to women in KSA
    Coca-Cola came up with a daring video, which it released on Nov 2, a YouTube ad that shows a young female driver being taught how to drive by her father,

    The new Coca-Cola ad is making waves across social media, with 60,000 viewers watching it just four days after its release. It is now attracting google ads, like Kurban travel, but the point, according to Coca-Cola, was that the one-minute ad titled “Change has a taste,” is meant to enable the “economic empowerment of women.”

    This is a smart attempt at aligning Coca-Cola with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, as outlined by Crown Prince Mohammed  Bin Salman, the driver behind lifting the women ban as well as other moves to diversify income for Saudi and bring about changes that will attract FDI and non-oil income.

    It doesn’t hurt that in 2016, Coca-Cola announced plans to build a $100 million bottling plant in Saudi Arabia, which will be completed in 2019.

    Where are ad companies going with this?

    The strange thing about this ad is the fact that women are usually associated with cars on ads, with the ad playing suggestively on the cars’ curves, a classical sales approach to draw people to buy the vehicle.

    But using a woman in a car to sell a soft drink?
    3 big ways Saudi women will contribute to the economy now
    This ad is careful not to suggest the car brand, because that’s not the point.

    The following question arises: to which limits will advertisers push the envelope using Saudi women drivers in their ads?

    In the Coca-Cola ad, they crossed new borders showing a Saudi woman drinking from a bottle, which is unheard in Saudi society ads.

    What new fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company will try the next Saudi woman car driving ad?

    Could cigarettes be a possibility? In 2016 Saudi banned smoking in public areas, but cars are private realms, however The Daily Mail says that only 600,000 women in Saudi smoke, a 10th of the population.

    What about fast food? Could it be another possibility? Well, it would be really ironic if a fast food chain released an ad featuring a Saudi woman having a burger or a sandwich while driving, hopefully while parked at a drive-thru.
    Don't miss: Do you buy what fast food outlets are telling you?
    Let's wait and see. meanwhile watch the current ad below.

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    The impact of social media influencers on driving consumer brand awareness, especially among millennials, has reached record highs in the UAE.

    A new research shows that 94 per cent of in-house marketeers in the UAE believe social media influencer marketing is now very significant for the success of their brands.

    New data from the second edition of the BPG Cohn & Wolfe Influencers Survey, in association with YouGov, showed that almost half – 49 per cent – of those polled currently work with social media influencers in the region to market their brand. This represents a significant shift from traditional advertising methods.
    Read: 7 simple steps to grow your business using social media
    Read: Snapchat is talking the talk, but will it walk the walk?
    Tapping digital community

    The survey interviewed over 100 in-house marketing and communication experts and brand managers across a diverse range of industries in the UAE to assess current trends in the use of social media influencers in marketing programmes.

    A vast majority of brands believe that influencer marketing enabled them to tap into the digital community and more effectively reach their target audience. They also believe that it resulted in a good marketing return on investment (ROI).
    Read: It’s war: Facebook sets its sights on LinkedIn
    Creating ways to tell the story

    BPG Cohn & Wolfe is the strategic public relations business of the BPG Group, one of the region’s longest established larger integrated marketing communications businesses, and commenting on the results Group CEO Avi Bhojani said: “Brands are now, more than ever before, relying on creative new ways to tell their story in a highly competitive landscape and are using social media influencers as a key part of their overall marketing strategy. The findings from our survey reveal that a majority of consumer brands in the UAE believe that they can reach the right target audience if they work with social media influencers.”

    Taghreed Oraibi, BPG Cohn & Wolfe PR Director - Consumer Practice, added: “Almost half of all brands, 45 per cent, said they have appointed agencies to manage social media influencers, while 63 per cent use an influencer directory to source influencers’ contacts and manage the engagement themselves. It shows that the market is definitely getting more sophisticated and focused on using digital platforms for customer engagement and conversations.”

    Large following counts

    Participating brands also identified some of the key attributes they looked for in social media influencers. Topping the list at 39 per cent was that the influencer must be a popular person in the community and have a large following and appealing content.

    But the biggest challenge identified by brands was “finding relevant influencers” that topped the list at 55 per cent. This was followed by “negotiating terms and conditions” at 41 per cent, and “communicating during an assignment” at 39 per cent.

    The survey also revealed that a majority of influencers expect to be compensated based on the number of deliverables (posts, images, videos, etc.), rather than the success of a campaign through actual and measurable results (driving up sales, website visits, etc.). Only six per cent of marketeers said that they compensated influencers based on such results or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

    Growing budgets

    Budgets for social media marketing are also growing, with 43 per cent of brands indicating that they had spent anywhere from between US$1000-10,000 per social media influencer campaign in the UAE.

    But many will invest more and 34 per cent indicated that they would spend anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000 on a single social media influencer campaign. The majority of marketeers, 63 per cent, said that they believe the fees requested by social media influencers are reasonable.


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    Approximately 2000 top marketing and advertising professionals celebrated the best marketing in the Middle East at this year’s MENA Effie Awards.
    Winners were announced during a “Great Gatsby” themed awards ceremony on November 15 at the Armani/Pavilion in Downtown, Dubai.
    Who are the winners?
    This year’s prestigious ‘Grand Prix’ went to FP7/CAI for the ‘You're Not Accounted For’ campaign it developed for EGBank.
    Other top accolades included ‘Marketer of the Year’ for Ghada Khoury of Sephora, ‘Most Effective Media Office of the Year’ for PHD Dubai, ‘Most Effective Agency Network of the Year’ for FP7 and ‘Most Effective Advertising Office of the Year’ for FP7 Dubai.
    Read: Coming soon: the Oscars of the advertising industry
    FP7/CAI won two golds in a new category this year, ‘Renaissance’, for its Labanita ‘They're Just Cows - The Comeback of Sawsan & Souad’ campaign and EGBank ‘You're Not Accounted For’ campaign.
    Alexandre Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest, – the organiser of the MENA Effie Awards- said: "We would like to congratulate all of this year’s entrants and winners for their outstanding efforts, and thank our judges for generously lending their time and expertise to assessing what has been the most impressive range of entries to date.”
    He continued: “2017 saw tighter budgets, increasing pressure to deliver revenue and growing competition in the industry, but despite this high-pressure environment, marketing professionals have upped the ante with new levels of innovation, creativity and resourcefulness. This is what we look for in our award-winners, who have all successfully faced the challenges by finding ever more strategic and targeted ways to reach audiences and deliver a solid return on investment.”
    Read: ‘In 20 years, we won’t even be allowed to drive ourselves’
    What are the categories?
    This year’s expert panel of judges was tasked with assessing a total of 293 shortlisted entries across 24 categories, against a backdrop of mounting competition in the marketing industry.
    Reflecting the ever-broadening marketing landscape, the MENA Effie Awards 2017 programme included a wide range of industry-specific categories, as well as categories for ‘Social Good’, ‘Shopper Marketing’ and ‘Youth Marketing’. Entrants were also encouraged to showcase their marketing and branding innovation in categories such as ‘New Products & Services’, ‘Media Idea’, ‘Brand Experience’, ‘Branded Content’, ‘Media Partnership Activation’ and ‘Seasonal Marketing’.
    WATCH VIDEO: Infiniti is part of the autonomous car trend
    How it all started
    The Effie Awards ceremony was created after Mediaquest joined forces with the world-renowned Effie Worldwide to become the GEMAS Effie MENA Awards, which are now called MENA Effie Awards.
    Launched in 1968, the Effie Awards program is known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry.
    “Effie Worldwide stands for effectiveness in marketing communications, spotlighting marketing ideas that work and encouraging thoughtful dialogue about the drivers of marketing effectiveness. The Effie network works with some of the top research and media organizations worldwide to bring its audience relevant and first-class insights into effective marketing strategy,” said Hawari.

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