Digital advertising grows 37% a year in MENA, to reach $1B by 2017

digital-adsDigital ad spending has become the fastest growing segment in the marcom and ads sectors in the Middle East and North Africa, largely thanks to increasingly adaptive young majority in the population. A study has revealed that the ad sector is transforming very quickly in the region and is estimated to grow by 37% each year to reach $1 billion as of 2017. It’s paralleled closely with the global growth in digital advertising which is expected to increase by 5.5% this year to $537 billion.

Mobile ad spendings, on the other hand, are growing slower in the MENA. Globally it grew 105% in 2013 reaching $31.5 billion. Mobile ad spends in MENA has increased by 58%, from $50 million in 2012 to $85 million this year. However, it is one segment which is predicted to be growing steadily for many years to come as the markets are still far from mobile saturation point and the young and free-minded users are already shifting to digital for a better connection with the world.

“Smartphone penetration and hours spent online in the Arab world, and the GCC in particular, are amongst the highest worldwide,” says Zafer Younis, co-founder at The Online Project. “Traditional media in these countries is still heavily controlled and monitored by the government. So, I do expect our region to be fast in switching to digital. The consumers have already made the shift, advertiser will follow shortly.”

Many players in the sector are restructuring fast and building digital capacities to better serve their clients’ digital marketing needs. Yousef Tuqan, the Chief Innovation Officers at Leo Burnett, are in many cases charged with leading this transformation.  “We have seen the steady evolution of communications & content from analog to digital, and from digital to mobile and social,” states Tuqan.  “Any successful communicator, in the GCC or anywhere else, must adapt to this new paradigm.”

Digital marketing and advertising are key topics that will be discussed in depth at the upcoming ArabNet Digital Summit, taking place on June 3-5 at Atlantis Hotel, The Palm, Dubai. The conference will include Ad+Tech Academy, a full day of workshops on digital, social, mobile, and video advertising. ArabNet’s summit is set to convene more than 1,000 executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and media from the four corners of the world. More than 130 speakers will gather during the event to discuss the latest digital opportunities shaping the Arab digital industry.

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