Scheduled to take place between November 11 and 13, ArabNet Riyadh 2014 will bring together digital professionals, marketers and agencies in the Kingdom and outside it. Key speakers include Twitter’s Parry Singh, Facebook’s Jonathan Labin and Will Platt-Higgins as well as regional advertising experts like FP7’s CEO Tarek Miknas.
Data-driven and performance driven advertising amounted to 65 percent of total online advertising budgets in 2013 and it shows no signs of slowing down. Arab markets are ripe for digital advertising, especially Saudi Arabia where the reach of online media has increased by 44 percent in 2013, and media consumption through mobile has gone up 78 percent. Bearing in mind this growth, big brands and advertisers are investing in digital and data-driven advertising to keep up with an increasingly connected audience.
The growth of programmatic media – the value of which is expected to hit $32 billion globally by 2017 – has led to two of this year’s major panels to focus on Programmatic Buying and Performance Advertising.
Big data is bringing a higher degree of customization to the messaging and targeting of online ads. Retargeting technologies allow advertisers to reach the visitors to their site even after they have left and are visiting other sites on the internet. It even allows them to create ads that showcase products that the customer had visited before.
Piet Hein van Dam, CEO of Wakoopa, a behavioral data agency, points to the importance of “meeting people where they are” and measuring every customer interaction to optimize campaigns in real-time. Van Dam notes that advertising agencies and marketers will all be hiring more data analysts in the future to keep up with these trends.
Mobile is another area of great innovation for advertisers, especially in the Kingdom where smartphone penetration is over 75 percent. Globally, mobile advertising spend is expected to hit $18 billion this year and more than double to $40 billion by 2017. Dirk Henke, managing director for Eastern Europe & MEA at Criteo, says: “I think that one of the biggest trends that we already see today, and [which] will massively change the whole digital marketing environment in the next few years, is mobile advertising,” adding that it is time “to move as an advertising industry to reach the users at where they are”.