By Antoine Caironi, Head of Revenue Multi-Sectors at Twitter MENA
2020 and its lessons accelerated the digital transformation of most businesses as well as our mission for 2021. In such an important year, brands that stay connected to the cultural heartbeat and launch creatively by getting people to talk, will be the ones that win in the end.
Performance will play a bigger role across industries
Budgets aren’t expected to be on par with 2019’s but ambitions are back. Each dollar invested will need to yield a stronger ROI. Our roadmap helped us deliver better performance at greater scale through the rebuilding of our ad platform architecture, the launch of our Advanced Mobile Measurement (AMM) program, the improvement of our advertising algorithms and our prediction models, and the expansion of our ad formats’ capabilities. Late last year, we launched Carousel ads to help drive better performance by providing a more immersive experience for consumers.
The ads are horizontally swipeable images or videos that drive people to an app or website. This format includes third-party measurement reporting, new reporting features and breakdowns to measure indi- vidual Carousel performance. Our beta testing phase showed, on average, a 24% increase in installs per impression relative to single-asset formats.
We expect adoption to grow significantly in 2021, with many brands in the region already on board: @Expo2020Dubai to showcase Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion; @stc to demonstrate how 5G can be used for different purposes; @Nissansaudi to present its latest models in the Saudi market; or @BankAlJazira to introduce a new range of credit cards.
Cultural moments and the return of sports
In MENA, some of the biggest moments of the year on Twitter are Ramadan, major sports events, and national days. In a 2021 Twitter survey around Ramadan in MENA, 60% of respondents said that Twitter is their go-to platform to discover what’s happening during the holy month. Their favorite sources of video entertainment content include TV, social media, and online free streaming, and the most sought-after content on Twitter during Ramadan is entertainment, comedy, food, and health. We also found that during Ramadan, watching videos is within the top three activities on the platform, and that the spending habits of a majority of respondents are higher, with 62% revealing that they plan to make purchases influenced by promotions.
Brand safety is not a theoretical concept
Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation and we are committed to creating a healthy environment where everyone, including advertisers, can engage safely. We’ve selected DoubleVerify (DV) and Integral Ad Science (IAS) as our preferred partners for providing independent reporting on the context in which ads appear on the platform. This will give advertisers a better understanding of the types of content that appear adjacent to their ads. We intend to start testing solutions early this year.
Early research done by Twitter’s Data Science teams indicates that, on our platform, there was no evidence of any effect on brand favorability when ads were adjacent to divisive content, regardless of the distance of the adjacency. We are working on additional research to gain more insight around adjacency and brand favorability. We aim to incorporate these findings into our ongoing work with DV and IAS and use that to inform how we build and iterate on our advertising products.
Brands need to adjust how they (re) launch
Industries that have been impacted the most will regain momentum at some point. Those who anticipate a wide range of scenarios and adapt easily with a focus on phasing, strategies, creatives, and media will win. To be clear, agile businesses are the most likely to succeed in these re-launches, and Twitter will be there to help! Based on insights by Kantar Media in the region, 67% of people on Twitter are more likely to try and buy new products vs those who aren’t on the platform, and 66% see things they hadn’t seen before vs those who are off Twitter. Twitter is therefore the platform of choice for launches.
In fact, more people have been turning to Twitter to be part of what’s happening than ever before, with a +27% yoy increase in global monetizable daily active users in Q4 2020, reaching 192 million. The past few years revealed that defining predictions is a delicate balancing act. No matter how the year unfolds, agility, resilience, team expertise, and a proactive mindset are key to ensure success. The only prediction that might be true for 2021 is that we’ll have another unpredicted year ahead, albeit with opportunities to seize.
This article was published in Communicate’s Q1 edition. You can access the full magazine here.