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UAE PPC Advertising


If you are looking to get help with your UAE PPC campaigns in Arabic or in English you’ve come to the right place.  The Middle East, and the UAE in particular, is an excellent region for PPC advertising. In this article, we’ll take you through the particulars of PPC in the country and how IstiZada can help you create appropriate and effective PPC campaigns for the UAE.

What is PPC advertising?

To understand how PPC advertising is effective in the UAE, we’ll first have to understand how PPC advertising works in general. Basically, PPC advertising campaigns are campaigns where companies place “bids” on their ads to have them placed in certain search results on search engines like Google. The company pays per click to rent the ad space- meaning every time a customer clicks on the ad, the company pays. Higher bids get better placement, lower bids get worse placement. Setting a bid is a balancing act for the company- too high of a bid can mean overpaying for clicks if they don’t convert to enough revenue. Too low of a bid, and the ad won’t get the visibility you need. This is why region and audience-specific knowledge is so important when starting a campaign.

PPC ads show up most often on Google searches, through Google Ads. Mobile PPC ads, which show up on smartphone searches, are also effective advertising tools for smartphone-saturated target markets.

Social Media PPC

We know that in today’s world, a significant amount of online shopping takes place through social media – or is at least triggered by an ad on a social media platform. If you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok, think about how many times you see an ad pop up in your feed – likely, it happens pretty frequently. PPC ads on social media are designed to get potential customers in your target audience to click on your ad (like search engine PPC), which will then lead them to your brand’s social media page or directly to your website or product listing. Strategically placed social media PPC ads are a great way to increase traffic to your page.


Why PPC in the UAE?

The UAE is an obvious choice when it comes to doing business. This country is a massive business hub, as 85% of the population are expatriates who come to do business in the country. The population is also 87.5% urban – the vast majority of the country lives in the business-rich cities of the country, like Dubai. Naturally, what follows is that the country has a massive internet penetration of 99%.

If you’re not already convinced that the demographics of the company make it an excellent place to advertise, the UAE also has 68% of its population between the ages of 25 and 54. That’s a majority of the population in the prime age of consumerism, with 24% aged 24 and under not far behind.

Considering the large youth demographic in the UAE, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of savvy internet shoppers enjoying the current e-commerce boom in the region. This past year, over 62% of the UAE population purchased a product or service online, with the fashion, electronics, and hobby/DIY sectors taking in the most revenue. And with the UAE GDP per capita soaring at USD $53,708 in 2023, now is a better time than ever to launch a PPC ad campaign in the Emirates.


Dubai PPC ads

Women's Watch Google PPC Ad screenshot


Biggest PPC Advertising Mistakes in the UAE

If you’re used to creating your PPC campaigns in English, then switching to another language can be tough. The national language of the UAE is Arabic, and Arabic itself is a tricky language. Phrasing, vocabulary, and grammar don’t translate from English to Arabic easily. Google Translate or other popular translation apps such as iTranslate just won’t cut it.

Also, if you are using the same Arabic content with campaigns in different Arab countries, you might be missing out on an opportunity to build appeal on a national level. Each country uses their own unique dialect of Arabic, and when advertisers use dialect in their material, it shows that an effort was made on their part to recognize the importance of that language for national culture.

UAE Pizza Hut Ad

This UAE Pizza Hut ad uses Emirati dialect underneath a transliterated English word (Melts)


PPC campaigns see a lack of success when not enough careful attention is paid to the wording of ads. Having an explicit word that calls the reader to a specific action “buy” “find”, or “shop” is an essential trend in the success of PPC ads. Furthermore, headlines must be well-written and engaging to draw in business. This isn’t easy to do when you don’t have expertise in a language- ads can come out sounding forced or boring.

Similarly, ads can often mix up keywords in Arabic with ones that are not so relevant to the campaign. Poorly written or non-engaging headlines that don’t take into account cultural or linguistic norms can drag a campaign down. Beyond just the language, a lack of expertise on strategies known to drive revenue in the region, such as the use of ad extensions, can lead to unsuccessful or disappointing campaigns.


arabic display ads UAE


How IstiZada Can Help

Making the foray into advertising in a new territory is scary- it can be hard to know if the effort and funds you’re putting in are going to pay off with tangible revenues. Thankfully, IstiZada offers several services to help you succeed with a PPC advertising campaign in the UAE.

When you work with IstiZada, you work with people who live, know and breathe the Arab world. We have the language fluency to help you avoid the common mistakes listed above, as well as the cultural and contextual knowledge to create specifically targeted ads that will drive results. We’re a team of people with real experience living and doing business in the Middle East, UAE included, so our knowledge is tried and tested.

Beyond region-specific knowledge, IstiZada is known for its results-driven strategy. With a dedicated project manager for each campaign, you can be sure that there’s serious attention to detail going into our work and accountability every step of the way.

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.