Updated on:

Programmatic Advertising in the Middle East

Programmatic Advertising in the Middle East - Header Image


If you’re a business owner, you know more than anyone how important it is to stay on top of the trends. Especially if you’re trying to reach a global market, staying clued into the most creative and effective advertising techniques is essential to achieving success.


This article will outline the basics of Arabic programmatic advertising, and situate this form of advertising in the Arabic-speaking world, to equip you with everything you need to know to get started with Arabic programmatic advertising in the Arab world.


What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising is a highly advanced form of bidding on ads in real-time. To understand programmatic advertising, we’ll need to cover a few basics first.


When you see online ads, the space that the ad sits in has been purchased by the company advertising. This purchase can happen in a couple of different ways- sometimes the space itself is paid for, other times a “pay-per-click” system is used- meaning companies pay for the number of times their ad is clicked on in a space.


Either way, companies “bid” against one another for the space to place an ad on a certain webpage or search engine. This process requires market knowledge to know where it’s worth bidding more or less on an ad based on projected leads that will be generated from an ad in that space.


How does programmatic advertising work?

Programmatic advertising has to do with this bidding process. Here’s how it works. In the split second between when you open a website and when it loads, your information is sent to an ad exchange. This information includes your demographic, browsing history, etc… All the things that are normally used in targeting ads. Advertisers whose ads match up with your profile will then take part in a real-time bid for ad space on your screen specifically. This is how you end up seeing super-targeted ads for things that you might have searched for recently.


But how can all this happen in a fraction of a second? That’s where the word “programmatic” comes in. All of this bidding is powered by algorithms and run by carefully programmed AI. Programmatic advertising effectively “automates” the bidding process, allowing for faster and more efficient placement of ads based on formulas that drive results.


How is programmatic advertising different from Google?

There are several key ways in which programmatic advertising differs from traditional or pay-per-click advertising on Google. Traditionally, companies and advertisers had to place ads through educated guesses on where the ideal market would turn up. In programmatic advertising, all of the specific visitors to a page’s information is sent before the ad is placed, allowing for much more accurate placement and bidding.


Furthermore, because bidding for programmatic advertising is done far faster than any human can keep up with, a major difference between programmatic advertising and Google ads is that the AI and the algorithms are in charge of the bidding process. If your algorithms are correctly determined, this can save you time and money in the long run.


Programmatic advertising in the Middle East

Middle East Map on Globe

The rise of Arabic programmatic advertising has not left the Middle East behind. In the MENA region, programmatic advertising is used across many sectors, including banking, textiles, airlines, and more.


The MENA region has a very high smartphone saturation overall, meaning many consumers using smartphones are a perfect market for programmatic advertising. Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic which accelerated the shift to digital advertising across the world, the Middle East is following suit with the rest of the world as they utilize this effective form of advertising.


However, as the region continues to digitize, people are becoming more and more aware of personal data protection, and the laws that develop around data protection may serve to slow the progression of Arabic programmatic advertising in the region. Despite the possibility of some speed bumps ahead, programmatic advertising is here to stay in the MENA region.


Top DSPs in MENA

To bid for ads using Arabic programmatic advertising you have to go through a couple of platforms. The first is on your side as the supplier and is called an SSP (Supply-Side Platform). This platform distributes your content to several DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms) on the advertiser’s side. The DSP is responsible for placing your ads.


Though there are many DSPs around the world, the top DSPs in the MENA region currently include the following:


  • Google Marketing Platform
  • Amazon Advertising
  • ADxAD
  • AdLib DSP
  • Mediasmart
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud


What is DSP Graphic


How can IstiZada help you?

Wrapping your head around Arabic programmatic advertising can be tough- even in your home country! IstiZada offers several services that can help you when diving into programmatic advertising in the Middle East.


Language is an important consideration when it comes to advertising. The main language of the MENA region is Arabic, not English. Though many people speak English, it’s a must to have Arabic ads to reach audiences in the Middle East. Translation to Arabic is not easy- you can’t rely on Google Translate for this one. Our translators and writers can help you write excellent and targeted Arabic copy for your ads that will increase their effectiveness while using programmatic advertising to help you place them.


It’s not just about language- cultural factors play a big factor too. The team at IstiZada lives and breathes the Middle East. Our digital marketing team can help you ensure your ads are culturally appropriate and culturally targeted while advising you on the trends in the region to help design your placement algorithms. Arabic Programmatic advertising is a game-changer for many businesses, and IstiZada can help you take advantage of this trend in the Middle East.


Ad networks you can check

Jordan Boshers

Jordan Boshers is the Chief Digital Strategist at IstiZada, a digital agency that helps companies market to Arabs. He has 10+ years of experience running successful digital marketing campaigns in the Arab world. His insights into Arabic SEO helped him grow previously unknown websites to dominate Arabic niches on Google including growing one site from 0 to more than 1 million users monthly. Jordan has consulted for hundreds of companies including helping corporations like Amazon, Berlitz, and Exxon Mobil with their Arabic digital marketing. Learn more here or on LinkedIn.