Facebook eyes ad revenue from region
Facebook, a social networking site with more than 10 million users in the region, is seeking advertising revenue here and has tied up with Connect Ads as its exclusive representative in Mena.
This was announced by representatives of the two establishments at a press gathering yesterday.
Under the partnership, Connect Ads will offer direct access to the extensive range of advertising products available through the social networking site, benefiting both clients and advertising agencies. With offices in four cities of the region and headquartered in Cairo, Connect Ads intends to cover 15 of the main countries of the region.
"Our reach is in all the major Arab-speaking countries of the region, and we cover 15 markets, including Pakistan," said Mohammed El Mehairy, Managing Director of Connect Ads.
Representing Facebook in the region, Trevor Johnson, head of planning and strategy for the Emea region, conveyed hopes of seeking advertising dollar through this alliance. He said: "Facebook has more than 10 million users in the region and this number is growing fast. With our alliance with Connect Ads, we can offer this vast consumer base to clients, offering them tailored advertising solutions."
Facebook has more than 400 million users worldwide and is growing rapidly. In the region, government establishments such as the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai, along with various other commercial organisations, are affectively using the Facebook platform to communicate and interact with their consumer base. And Connect Ads intends to convert them into their advertising client base.
Talking to Emirates Business, Mehairy said: "The potential for advertising is vast and globally brands such as Coca-Cola and Adidas have already proved the effectiveness of Facebook. In the region, commercial establishments that are already cashing in on the reach of the platform are going to be our first target, and I am certain that they will see financial viability in investing commercially on the portal."
The contract is for a three-year period for the moment, with an option to extend later with mutual consent of both the establishments. Mehairy refrained from commenting on the financial arrangement and neither did Johnson say if the contractual obligation between the two is on a fixed-fee basis or revenue-sharing structure.
"Online advertising in the region is less than one per cent but we intend to work to improve this number with a strategic approach to local clients," said Mehairy.
Johnson said: "Advertising online in the UK is as high as 20 per cent of the entire advertising share. I am certain advertisers here will see the potential and realise the target-specific approach of Facebook and spend online."
The online ad spend in the region is to see the largest growth this year and will expand to as much as four per cent, according to the recently released Arab Media Outlook Forum report for 2009-2013.
According to recent statistics published by Business Monitor International, the UAE's internet penetration has reached 54.3 per cent with the total number of users expected to reach 3.77 million by 2013. Given that Facebook has achieved great exposure in the Arab region with 9.7 million subscribers, including about 1,205,700 users in the UAE and almost 2.4 million in Egypt, reflects the significance of this partnership.
Mehairy said: "This will facilitate the purchase of prime advertising solutions on one of the world's most popular websites, accessed by all demographics globally and especially the Middle East, which represents a strategic market."
"Mena is an important region for us. We chose to work with Connect Ads because of its strong track record in the region. Connect Ads has excellent experience in developing successful online campaigns. Their presence in the market means they can work directly with local companies to help them connect with their customers on Facebook," said Blake Chandlee, Facebook's Vice-President and Commercial Director for Emea region.
Connect Ads is the exclusive media agent for some of the region's successful and popular portals, namely MSN Arabia, MSN Maghreb, ArabFinance.com, Masrawy.com, Otlob.com, Yallabina.com, Mazika.com, CareerMidEast.com, YallaKora.com, Barca Arabia, El3ab.com and Shofha.com.
The company falls under the LINKdotNET umbrella, the largest Microsoft certified team, fully owned by Orascom Telecom Holding.
Karim Beshara, CEO of LINKdotNET, said: "This representation is aligned with our company's strategy to partner with the most visited portals globally, and to be responsible for all its digital advertising locally."
Six Years of Connections
"Today [yesterday] we're celebrating our sixth birthday, and this week there will be 400 million people on Facebook. Just one year ago we served less than half as many people, and thanks to you we've made great progress over the last year towards making the world more open and connected," said Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook.
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