Arab Business Meetings: A Comprehensive Guide

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The Middle East is currently a focus for many Western companies looking to expand their reach and take advantage of this region’s fruitful opportunities. Conducting business in the Middle East and the Arab World means forging international partnerships and bridging cultural gaps: a solid foundation of cross-cultural understanding and respect should be established to ensure success. IstiZada is here to help – our guide on Arab business meetings will give you a comprehensive overview of what you need to know about making the most of Middle East business meetings.


Saudi Arabia Advertising

Saudi Arabi Advertising Guide Header Image

Saudi Arabia’s digital landscape is booming with opportunity due to its young population and high rate of digital connectivity. To help advertisers navigate this market, this comprehensive guide explores key factors critical to Saudi Arabia advertising success, including demographic and cultural considerations, compliance and regulatory processes, and effective paid advertising channels.


Demographics and Internet Connectivity in Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula with over 36.33 million inhabitants. With a median age of 30 (9 years younger than the U.S. and 14 years younger than Europe), the Kingdom boasts one of the highest internet adoption rates in the Middle East, with over 99% of the population having internet access. With a high smartphone penetration rate of 92%, mobile devices are an increasingly significant driver of website traffic in Saudi Arabia (72%).


January 2023 Population Essentials Infographic


Like other countries in the Middle East, there is a low ratio of women to men, with an even smaller percentage of these women active in the workforce. However, due to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms, women have experienced greater visibility in society over the last 7 years, as they are allowed in public areas without a male guardian, receive a driver’s license, and obtain employment in newly accessible industries. The working female population continues to grow rapidly, reaching 37 percent in 2022, up from 17 percent in 2017. As women’s purchasing power and visibility increase, advertising media should reflect this cultural shift while respecting religious and traditional customs.


Paid Advertising Content

As marketers navigate this dynamic landscape, various paid advertising channels such as pay-per-click (PPC), social media, OOH, and television offer versatile ways to create impactful campaigns that resonate with the audience. In Saudi Arabia, successful advertising campaigns require a localized approach that reflects the language and culture. Since more than 80% of the population speak Arabic and many study English as a second language, creating content in these two languages, along with featuring culturally relevant visuals and references, is crucial.


In addition, festive seasons like Eid offer opportunities for creative campaigns that celebrate the country’s cultural heritage. In 2023, reports show a 44% increase in customer spending during Ramadan and a 46% increase in spending on Eid Al-Fitr gifts. This increase translates to a significant surge in online activity and app downloads. When asked which factors influenced customers’ decision to purchase during Ramadan, 38% of customers preferred brand advertising to be inspired by the spirit of the month focusing on charity, culture, and religion, while 50% centered on promotions and offers. For marketers, this presents a valuable opportunity to leverage paid ad targeting strategies highlighting sales alongside family values, charitable activities, and community bonding.


The Ultimate Eid Al-Fitr Marketing Guide


Eid Al-Fitr – What is it?

As one of the biggest Muslim holidays, Eid Al-Fitr presents a great opportunity for marketers to engage with consumers across the Muslim world. By understanding the cultural and religious background of the holiday and the ways in which it is celebrated, marketers will be able to effectively target their approaches to a vast audience of consumers. From the holiday’s history to current market trends, this guide will break down what you need to know about Eid Al-Fitr to make the most of this opportunity. (more…)

The Ultimate Eid Al Adha Marketing Guide

Comparable to almost all major public holidays in the United States such as Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, the holiday of Eid Al Adha has created a boom of consumerism across many different industries within the Muslim world. Marketers need to understand how to effectively aim their marketing efforts towards this holiday in order to take advantage of the many

opportunities which accompany it. To successfully reach your target audience, it is important to know the facts that are covered in this guide, as appearing insensitive or ignorant about this holy day could be a damaging mistake for your business. In this all-encompassing Eid Al Adha guide, we will explain what the holiday is and how to maximize your reach towards the Muslim world.

Top 25 Middle East Ecommerce Websites in Arabic

Ecommerce continues to take over global commerce with every year that passes, and the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region is no different. MENA is a unique region in that it spans three continents- Europe, Africa, and Asia. Its huge diversity in resources, population, and economic development lends the region to both success and interest in e-commerce and online shopping, and while some countries in MENA already have solid e-commerce bases, others are just getting started.


Widely, e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods using the internet. Goods can mean anything- from clothing items to wholesale machine parts, to cosmetics, electronics, and more. The convenience and accessibility of e-commerce make it popular with a young population, and nearly 30% of the MENA population are between the ages of 15 and 29. This is a market booming with potential.


The market is currently being propelled by three main countries- Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, the three of which form cumulatively 80% of the region’s e-commerce market. Though culturally very disparate countries, the digital economies of these three players continue to grow, especially through the novel COVID-19 Pandemic, which further exacerbated the demand for digital commerce worldwide. To provide an overview of the digital economy in the MENA region, we’ve broken the top most-pupular popular e-commerce and shopping websites in the region down in the following article, both regionally and internationally.


UAE National Day Marketing

UAE National Day Marketing


Holidays in the Middle East, just like in other countries around the world, are important times for businesses to bring their A+ marketing games. One of the most notable holidays in the Arab world is the United Arab Emirates’ National Day, and is critical for anyone who does business in the country to know. This important national holiday is associated with heightened purchasing habits, resulting in tremendous business opportunities across the country, so marketers must understand how to effectively position their businesses to best take advantage.

Welcome to the internet’s most comprehensive English language marketing guide about this holiday. To help you optimize your UAE National Day marketing efforts, we provide in-depth background information, must-do steps, and mistakes to avoid.


Saudi Arabia National Day Marketing


What and When is KSA National Day?

Prior to what we know today as Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz was a monarchy made up of tribal groups across the Arabian Peninsula, each with individual systems of governance and rulers. In the early 20th century, the ruler of Nejd, King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud in Arabic, or “son of Saud” in English) – set out to unify his ancestral land. Nearly 30 years after this initial goal, he and his armies successfully conquered these diverse Bedouin groups, sultanates, minor kingdoms, and emirates from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf and unified them under his rule. Ibn Saud chose his family name Saud for this new state, Saudi Arabia.

As the birthplace of Islam with monumentally significant sites such as Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia has historically limited its national celebrations to religious holidays such as Eid el Fitr, Eid al Adha, and the Hajj. However, in 2005, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decreed that September 23 was to become an official, annual holiday for the country starting for the country’s 75th anniversary in 2007. This was a monumental step in building nationalism and establishing a strong Saudi identity. (more…)

Arabic Logos of Big Global Brands

One of the key factors to marketing success in the Middle East is understanding and relating with an Arab audience. Given that Arabic is the main language of more than 300 million people it is essential that a brand figure out when and how to localize their logo into the Arabic language to be effective in the region. It is important that the Arabization of a brand’s logo and name be done in a way that is both easy to read in Arabic while maintaining the overall theme and colors that the brand has in English. In this post we will give examples of some big brands that have done a great job at localizing their logos in an easy to read format while maintain the branding.



arabic subway logo

Subway has gained huge popularity in the Middle East and you can now find the franchise across many of the countries in the GCC, the Levant, and North African. Subway used innovative designers to capture the famous white and yellow logo and flip it around for Arabic. They were even able to incorporate the arrows at the beginning and the end of the logo to give it that truly Subway feel.



Arab World Seasonal Promotion Guide

Arab World Seasonal Promotion Guide

If you’re looking to take your marketing in the Arab world to the next level this post will provide and in-depth look into seasonal marketing opportunities in the Arab world. Feel free to use this post to help you plan out your seasonal promotions to Arab consumers in countries across the in Middle East.


7 Arabic PPC Ad Mistakes You Must Avoid

Though the world of Arabic PPC is always expanding, many new ad campaigns fail to be effective due to several common mistakes. Any ad campaign run in Arabic needs to be optimized just as an English campaign needs to be optimized. We find many companies try to save money by outsourcing translation of ads or by having Arabic ads run by someone without experience running Arabic PPC campaigns. In most cases we’ve seen this ends up costing the company much more in wasted ad-spend, than the company saves from not hiring a professional to run the ads. We’ve literally seen companies waste tens of thousands of dollars on irreverent keywords and targeting in their ad campaigns in an effort to save a small amount on the management side of running ads.


We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequent mistakes we see in Arabic PPC campaigns in the MENA region so you can avoid these pitfalls in your own efforts. 


1. Using poorly written or nonexistent calls to action

When creating ads in Arabic, it’s important to utilize similar calls to action, like “buy,” “find,” or “shop.” Without these calls to action, the meaning of the ad can become unclear to the customer. For example, the ad below is for a company that finances Islamic real estate purchases, meaning they provide a specific kind of financing for Muslim customers. The ad was generated while searching for      “عقارات لندن” (London real estate) and it advertises mortgage financing. However, the ad’s wording leaves the user without a call to action, opting to instead state the services offered. For a list of Arabic calls to action you should be using, see this article.

Using poorly written or nonexistent calls to action


Arab Snapchat Marketing in the Middle East – A Guide


Visually-led social networks have grown exponentially in the Middle Eastern region, with Snapchat at the forefront of the social media trend. According to Snapchat user data, the mobile app currently has about 33 million users in the Middle East. Company growth in this region has far out-paced growth in many other countries.

Saudis are among the highest active daily users of Snapchat, with residents of Riyadh and Jeddah using the camera 40 times a day on average, and spending approximately 35 minutes a day surfing snaps. These figures are huge when compared to Snapchat’s global average of 25 times a day and half an hour of surfing, respectively. In fact, more than a third of Saudi respondents say they use Snapchat video tools, making it the highest market adoption of the app by any nation. Snapchat has even opened its first Middle Eastern office in Dubai, with rumors of a second office in soon to open in Riyadh. (more…)

A Comprehensive Guide to Arabic Domain Names (ADNs): The rise, fall, and the future

Arabic Domain Names

In the business of online marketing in the Middle East, our company frequently receives questions about Arabic domains. How do Arabic domains work? What is their history? And most importantly, does my business need one? Marketers and online business owners need to understand how to effectively answer these questions as they relate to their businesses.

There are many unresolved questions and currently not enough information available on the Internet to answer them. As this is the first real guide that delves comprehensively into this topic, we hope to answer many of the burning questions you may have. (more…)

Top 25 Social Media Influencers in the Middle East

Top 25 Social Media Influencers in the Middle East

Social media influencers are users of one or more social media platforms who have amassed large followings that are continuously engaged with their content. Coming from a variety of backgrounds – with some of them being reality TV stars, makeup artists, or fitness gurus – they curate and post content that highlights items, hobbies, activities, or places.

Often, influencer posts are sponsored by larger companies who offer payments for the advertising service or offer commissions based on the activity of people who have engaged with the social media posts and then completed the action desired by the company. These actions could include purchasing the advertised product, attending an advertised event or subscribing to a service. (more…)

Middle East Telecommunications & VOIP Challenges


Those who live within the Middle East or have spent time there have no doubt encountered difficulties using internet services to contact people outside the region. In a GCC country, you likely found that calls via WhatsApp, Facetime, and Skype were blocked. Likewise, if you were trying to reach a local in one of these countries, you may have experienced an unusually poor connection due to a short bandwidth.

In general, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services are completely free or relatively cheap, making them an appealing option in emerging market regions with large expat populations. However, many countries in the Middle East have instated wide-spread VoIP bans which render phone calling features of popular apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and FaceTime inaccessible. These conditions make it expensive and difficult for businesses and individuals to conduct long-distance voice calls.


Dropshipping and Fulfillment Options for Ecommerce Sites Targeting the Middle East

Ecommerce Trends: Shipping and Fulfillment

With more shipping boxes on doorsteps, packages on trucks and products in the air than ever before, the global ecommerce sector is booming – and the Middle East is no exception.

According to market trends, more than a quarter of Middle Eastern consumers now shop online every month. 36 percent of shoppers between the ages of 18 and 24 shop online at least once a month, a substantial increase from previous generations.

Better pricing, product selection and convenience are often listed by these customers as the reason for selecting ecommerce over traditional brick and mortar purchases. With increasingly more youth than previously in most Middle Eastern countries, these trends are only expected to continue.