Is the Middle East the next great mobile ad frontier?

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So, you’re in the mobile advertising game, but things are starting to seem a bit crowded in the countries you operate in now. Where should you set your sights next?

As it turns out, the answer might be to head East young man (or woman), but not too far East.

The results of a new study by a mobile advertising network called Plus7 suggest that the Middle East may well be set for a mobile advertising boom.

The study is based on a survey the company conducted across seven countries in the region (UAE, Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Egypt) and analyses the average person’s mobile internet consumption habits and their attitude towards e-commerce in the region.

According to Ashwin Salian, Co-founder and Director of Plus7, “The study shows that consumers usually look for information on the mobile web via sites and applications before they make any product or service purchases. We believe that this is a key indicator of why consumer brands must reconsider the way they market their brands.”

The study also found that:

  • People are using the mobile internet to access news, information, social networks and email
  • More than half the respondents surveyed indicate that they access mobile sites and applications daily, with the frequency being higher amongst males
  • In the UAE, over 50% of respondents have downloaded over 10 applications with usage skewed towards males between 25-50 years.
  • In KSA, the preferred method of accessing mobile information and news is via mobile sites.
  • In the UAE, KSA and Egypt products purchased (or likely to be purchased) on the mobile are related to Entertainment, Technology and Travel
  • In terms of attitudes towards eCommerce, more than half the respondents preferred cash on delivery over credit cards when making purchases via their mobile phones.

That the middle-eastern mobile market looks so promising is less surprising when you take into account other statistic such as the fact that Arabic is the fastest growing language on Twitter.

Although mobile advertising is still in its infancy in the region Sagar Shetty, Co-founder and Director of Plus7 reckons that the “adoption of smartphones, 3G networks and data plans provides a ripe environment for advertisers looking to reach consumers through a variety of platforms including mobile browsers and apps. As usage increases, mobile advertising will play a key role in the development of the mobile ecosystem”.

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