Online advertising to see growth as internet businesses gear up to attract clients

Online advertising will see positive growth as web businesses embark on an official measuring of their websites so to lure clients and probably advertisers. was the first to sign up to Nielsen Online services launched in the Middle East and North African markets last February.

With more than 50 per cent growth in advertising in first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period of 2008, Arab portal has decided to tie up with the Nielsen Company to receive its internet audience measurement and web analytic solutions services.

Abdulla Al Dabbagh, Marketing Manager, Maktoob, said that although the portal was employing Google analytics, with a database of 15 million unique visitors per month, there was an even increasing need to utilise more accurate, credible and transparent measurement. "We believe that by subscribing to Nielsen's web measurement and analytics tools we will be in a better position to further develop our services for our users and enhance their experience while they are using our website."

The portal's current advertising was estimated between 15 per cent and 25 per cent of the total online advertising spend in the region, according to Ahmed Nassef, General Manager of

"The crisis and the enhanced portal contents have been major contributors to the growth, but we still need to further enhance our offering," said Al Dabbagh. subscribed to Nielsen SiteCensus – a worldwide standard in web analytics that offers business-critical insights about the behaviour of website visitors, and Nielsen Market Intelligence, which provides insights into the competitive online landscape through independent, near real-time performance ranking and audience demographic profiling of audited web and mobile sites and video streaming activities.

This Nielsen service tracks unique browsers, page impressions, frequency and session duration and other metrics to build comprehensive picture of actual domestic and global traffic to audited websites. The service is already up and running, but information will not be available for advertisers to access freely before June, according to Himanshu Vashishtha, Managing Director, UAE, Nielsen.

"We are currently testing the results to make sure there are no technical problems that compromised the accuracy of the data provided. We will be able to share data in two months, and all information will be freely accessible for media agencies and advertisers for the first year," he added.

Vashishtha said: "Figures are only effective when they are issued by an independent third party. This is why Maktoob portal has sought to benefit from internet audience measurement and web analytic solutions by Nielsen." The introduction of independent measurement of the internet within the Mena will help advertisers increase their online advertising budgets and build efficient targeted campaigns that will increase interest in the medium as a channel for advertising.

According to Husam Jandal, Internet Business Consultant, WSI, only 0.25 to 0.5 per cent of online businesses are currently investing in an analytics tool. Many others use less sophisticated web analyitics such as the free google service. "Yet, based on our observation, demand on web analytics and consultancy services has quadrupled since the beginning of the crisis. With the current situation, businesses available online are becoming more knowlegeable on measurement tools and their importance in driving their business, marketing their products effectively by understanding their audience and investing in online advertising."

"No media company can take the risk of untested measurement systems, especially in times like these. Nielsen will provide a reliable set of solutions that will guarantee daily operations and the trustworthiness of the system," said Piyush Mathur, Regional Managing Director – Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Nielsen Company.


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