Ramadan and connected screens

Its a well known fact of the advertising industry that revenues spike during Ramadan particularly from TV space sold, as many more people prefer to watch TV and stay inside with families.  21% of all TV space sold was during Ramadan in 2011.

Similarly, revenues for Cinemas drop around 60 – 70% due to the fact most people fasting will stay at home and post iftar will spend the time socialising and eating. 

Much TV is watched late at night and into the early hours of the morning, outside of the opening times of shops.  This suggests to me an ideal opportunity to look at multi screen media opportunities as well as facilitating ecommerce. 


As more advertising is executed, more commercial messages are delivered to the consumer.  The ability to use the tablet or mobile to continue that commercial discovery journey should be prioritised.  Google keyword searches during Ramadan, split by country, and industry vertical might yield some interesting results. In the absence of set top boxes to accurately measure what the population is watching, associated search terms might give some hint as to what is having impact. 

Additionally, a causational relationship may be revealed.  If there are many ads promoting airlines and holidays, one would expect associated searches for expedia / cleartrip / kayak and hotel stays.  If there are ads promoting the channels upcoming offerings, auto shows etc, one might see a spike in searches for car brands. 

Take the local (google.ae) search for car brand Cadillac: The ad for the local Cadillac site appears at the top, but the rest of the links of course are not locally relevant:

Supplementing the TV content with search engine friendly content gives the user extra opportunities to go down the “marketing funnel”.  This content should be supplied by the PR department, ensuring that locally relevant content – with the associated dealer offers appear. 

Obviously no one is going to buy a car online, so added content serves to enhance personalization and drive even further interaction.  As a UAE user, will i be more inclined to read about stuff on a Detroit news site or The National?

For FMCG companies however, this is a great time to dip into ecommerce. 

Say i’m promoting a new electrical item or perfume on the TV.  The viewer may then use his mobile to search for the product.  

Below is the Google result page for Elie Saab Perfume.  Note the ads on the right hand side showing local online retailers Cobone and JadoPado

Much of the TV advertising space is booked in advance.  Knowing this, gearing up for an associated online campaign should be easy.  The space is wide open at the moment for opportunists to take advantage of this, driving traffic to their own sites at the expense of the brand, simply by finding out who is advertising, and looking at the google searches.  Those like the above mentioned retailers stand to gain the most since they allow complete fulfilment and capitalise on the user intent, the user of course having been primed by the rest of the (expensive) ATL advertising that has been paid for by the brand. 

Currently with the Olympics co iniciding with Ramadan, there is a bit of debate as to if the advertisers are doing enough to take advantage of that.  Panasonic’s Middle East director of communications says:

“In Ramadan most of the sales are for the home appliances and Panasonic is not a home appliances sponsor,” he said.

“TV sales are also good during the initial part of it but towards the end of it it’s more of the home appliances, such as kitchen appliances and food processors.”

Whereas Samsung and Visa are actively involved in local promotions with road shows and activations in malls. 

For the appliances market, a brand push on TV can be supplemented with a great online campaign that could look like the below, since people are already using these sites regularly.  They are related to food, recipes, cooking and health. Some have seen over a 100% increase in audience numbers during Ramadan.

Excluding Souq (with 2 million uniques) these sites have over 1.5 million uniques in total and as you can see, have multiple channels for users to interact with their content, giving the brand lots of exposure. They also are bilingual.  Reaching even more people.  Ecommerce sites rank high on SERPS:

The top ad for the keyword “Braun Coffee Maker” for example is actually Mizado (comparable to Souq.com),  once you click you can buy it immediately

So in conclusion:

1) Review the google searches from the beginning of Ramadan until now to see what people are searching for and when across MENA

2) Compare that with the advertising slots taken for brands and verticals

3) Always on digital strategy means having built up authoritative local content that will appear when users search for a brand or keyword.  If your PR department starts now, content should rank highly when next Ramadan comes around

4) Food and food related appliances are highly in demand.  Brands must align themsleves with the sites mentioned above to deliver more content at a very efficient cost

4) Facilitate an actual sale.  If you have no own ecommerce platform, use Souq for example if dealing with FMCG products.  Sales are going up as a result  of normal advertising, they can be extended even further by allowing people to buy online. 

5) If the programming allows, one could apply the strategy in reverse, based on search terms and other consumer attributes, the ads shown on TV could be altered in real time, picked from a respository. 

Source: New feed
Ramadan and connected screens

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