Seventy three per cent of 1,048 respondents have chosen Saudi Arabia as the country they are most likely to position their digital marketing focus for 2010-2011 in a recent survey conducted by the International Quality and Productivity Centre.
In a country of almost 30 million where 40 per cent of the population are Arabic-speaking digital natives, there has been a rapid increase in global media and consultancies competing to do business with local companies and brands in their native language.
The acquisition of Maktoob by Yahoo in 2009 along with Google's recent announcement to launch its Buzz feature in Arabic predicts a robust and sustained future for the digital marketing industry in the region.
At the recent partnership launch between Facebook and Connect Ads it was revealed that 9.7 million people in the region are part of the social networking platform, providing a great opportunity for brands to actively engage directly with this as yet untapped consumer base.
Click 4.0, a digital marketing conference being held in Dubai from June 20 to 24, commissioned this survey to gauge what marketers across all industries in the region felt about critical subjects such as social media, integration of digital marketing into the traditional campaign mix and tackling transparency issues.
The survey aims to provide an accurate reflection of the most pressing issues marketers face in order to help the developers of Click 4.0 conference feature the strategies and solutions needed to tackle them.
Fifty one per cent of respondents also mentioned that their biggest dilemma in the region was marketing in Arabic, with one marketer wondering how to "create remarkable, relevant content which sticks or resonates" with the target market.
Abdulla Al Dabbagh, Marketing Manager of Yahoo Middle East, Lead Sponsor of Click 4.0, said: "The internet is a great tool for advertisers as it provides them with the tools to effectively engage with the region's online consumers through sophisticated targeting capabilities and engagement opportunities. There is a great potential in this market where the spending on online advertising is expected to grow by 35 to 40 per cent this year, according to Madar Research. Online is definitely the way forward and our region is on the right track."
Joining Yahoo Middle East as speakers are the region's digital leaders including Yousef Tuqan of Flip Media, Abdullatif Al Sayegh, former chief executive officer of Arab Media Group, Alex McNabb of Spot On PR, Kapil Bhatia of HSBC Middle East Limited, Islam Zween of Logta.com and Reem Bishara of Burger King.
International support for the major event has come from all aspects of the digital marketing industry, including Digital Buzz – the world's number one digital marketing blog – Communicate Magazine, Mashable, eConsultancy, Zawya and Visibility Magazine.
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