Pay per click marketing is changing at a pace we haven’t seen before in the Arab world. Below we will explore some of the key changes taking place in the world of Arabic pay per click advertising.
When I first launched an Arabic digital marketing agency nearly 12 years ago, there was almost non-existent competition for Arabic keywords in Google paid search. At the time, even the most competitive industries didn’t have Arabic ads on the first page of a Google result for a specific keyword. Much has changed since then. Many industries and verticals now have Arabic keywords that trigger a full page of Arabic ads, and there will be far more in 2024 as the market has awoken to the opportunity.
Here, the search for the Arabic word ‘television’ in the UAE brought up a majority of ads, including traditional search query results ads as well as sidebar image-based ads.
Stricter Policing of Ad policies
When Arabic ads were first available, Google offered only limited support due to a shortage of Arabic team members. As a result, Arabic keywords and associated ads were seldom monitored, to the extent that they would not be flagged even in industries where Google had ad restrictions imposed.
The ability to bid on competitors’ branded keywords in Arabic was still available, even though trademark regulations preventing this practice in English. Now that Google has more native Arabic speakers in its staff, and their systems and algorithms are improving, the loopholes in Arabic ads are rapidly closing.
More Types of Ads Rolling Out in Certain Countries
In previous years, many ad formats didn’t work or weren’t available in the MENA region in Arabic. Google is now addressing this issue by rolling out many of these ad formats in Arabic, too. For example, product listing ads were non-existent in Arabic a few years ago, yet this ad format is now becoming prominent in Arab countries like Saudi Arabia. It is clear that as Google invests more resources in global expansion, all the features currently available in English will soon be available in Arabic as well.
More Savvy PPC Marketers Entering the Arabic Market
As traditional offline marketing channels like events and other in-person activities shut down due to the global pandemic many companies have shifted marketing budgets online and this is also the case when it comes to Arabic PPC marketing. Given how quickly the Middle East and especially the Gulf region is adopting preferences towards online shopping and brand research, we can expect that more companies will realize that despite the pandemic restrictions ending, the shift from in-person to online shopping is certainly not going anywhere. In the Gulf region, financial forecasts predict the e-commerce market size to reach USD$50 Billion by 2025, doubling in size since 2020. With this massive change, there will likely be increased competition in terms of Arabic PPC marketing but more importantly, increased opportunities.
Middle East Social Media PPC in 2024
It would be hard to understate the importance of social media in the Middle East, which has only grown in the past five years. In addition to using it for communication and social purposes, social media sites like Instagram, TikTok, and even WhatsApp have become hubs for online shopping. Let’s look at Saudi Arabia: this past year, the internet penetration rate in the Kingdom reached 99%, with 79.3% of those internet users also active on social media, averaging 3 hours spend on various social media platforms per day. To take it even further, over 83% of internet users aged 16-64 in Saudi Arabia reported that they use social media to search for brands and products. Knowing this, it is not surprising that the total annual revenue in Saudi Arabia for online purchases last year reached USD$10.44 billion. This is looking specifically at Saudi Arabia, but these trends are consistently reflected throughout the other Gulf countries too.
Considering the impact of social media, a savvy company should consider how they might be able to place PPC ads on various social media sites, and IstiZada is here to help with this. We are confident that well-written and targeted mobile-friendly PPC ads on social media will drive up traffic to your site.
More companies investing in digital marketing in 2024 as the pandemic years changed Arab consumer behavior
As traditional offline marketing channels like events and other in person activities shut down due to the global pandemic many companies have shifted marketing budgets online and this is also the case when it comes to Arabic PPC marketing. If offline marketing continues to be difficult we expect that companies that avoided PPC in the past will begin to see this as a opportunity area.
Despite the Changes, Arabic PPC is still an Easy Win
Even with the increased competition and ad awareness in Arab markets in 2024, we consider Arabic PPC an easy win. The reason for this is that competition in some industries is still relatively low when compared to PPC advertising in English. Even the companies who are currently running Arabic ads are not optimizing their campaigns and messaging as much as they could be. Arabic search volumes in many industries continues to show real demand for online products and services. All of this makes Arabic ads on Google in 2024 a smart and easy win.
If you need help running your PPC ads in Arabic in 2024, contact IstiZada to find out how we can help you better reach your market in the Arab world.