How Advertisers Can Innovate With Smartphones in MENA

Frequently we see few or no mobile campaigns that deliver content or marketing messages using smartphones, even though adoption rates are some of the highest globally. Advertisers may be concerned that lack of familiarity with engaging in branded content will reduce the impact of a campaign - this can be solved by experimenting with retail first, rewarding those who use their smartphone to receive discounts.

Looking at some numbers:

The Middle East’s mobile-subscription rate is 96 per cent, according to a report by Ericsson. (global average is 87%)

The number of Middle East mobile lines hit 266.3 million in Q1 2012

(Some consumers have more than one line, meaning the number of individual customers is lower.)

Globally about 10 - 15% of mobile subscribers are using smartphones

That figure is lower in the Middle East where it stands at around 6 - 7%

To summarize: MENA has one of the HIGHEST global mobile penetration rates at 96% and has a BELOW global penetration rate of SMARTPHONES at 6 - 7%

The more advertisers can incentivize usage of smartphones by providing better content and financial rewards, the more people will get used to using them and will be able to respond to marketing messages when done correctly. Often the decision is between making some sort of app or not, which is surprising given the amount of emphasis advertisers usually place on the sales or marketing “funnel”.

No thought is given to how the app will sit in the different stages of the sales funnel, will the app be used to drive awareness? If so - how will you market that app? will it be used to drive sales? If so is there the opportunity to buy?

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The Entrepreneurship Section is curated and edited by Seeqnce, a Beirut-based internet startup accelerator.

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