Online advertising spending totalled $300m in the MENA region today, and is increasing at a 37% growth rate a year to reach an astounding $1bn in 2017. “Online advertising is an essential driver for the growth of Arab web and mobile businesses. With the increase of ad budgets, the entire digital sector will flourish,” stated Omar Christidis, CEO and founder of ArabNet.
According to Michel Malkoun, Managing Director at Digital Media Services, social media reigned supreme a couple of years ago because it provided a very practical and efficient tool for small agencies to make money and reach a wide spectrum of audiences.
“As of 2013, the scene has evolved a great deal with most of the traditional marketing business units (MBUs) creating a digital department to service their clients’ needs,” says Michel. According to him, the advent of rich media, mobile advertising, and the revamping of numerous websites triggered the move towards digital, and was reinforced the moment MBUs realized the potential of dollar spends in this sector.
Today, Lebanon leads advertising spend in the Levant, with $463m, followed by Jordan with an ad spend of $140m—almost three times less than its leader. While traditional advertising is growing, investment in digital advertising is increasing much more rapidly. To compare, television advertising grew by 8%, and print advertising by 5%, whereas digital advertising increased by a whopping 29% during the past year. This is a strong indicator that advertising choices are migrating in the direction of digital mediums.
Digital and social media marketing are key topics that will be discussed in depth at the upcoming ArabNet Beirut Forum, taking place on March 4-6. The forum will feature more than 80 experienced speakers from across the MENA region and beyond to discuss the opportunities in web and mobile for the media and entertainment industries. The 3-day event will feature the Creative Combat, a one-of-its-kind competition that allows ambitious creatives in the fields of advertising, media and communications to showcase their digital innovation in front of more than 600 attendees at ArabNet Beirut 2014.
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