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Digital Marketing Businesses in Arab World

posted on: Jul 14, 2020

By: Grace Friar / Arab America Contributing Writer

The Middle East is emerging as a top e-commerce market as more and more people have access to the internet through mobile 5G networks. The influx of online interaction has raised awareness of the lack of online content written in Arabic. Which poses a difficulty for businesses attempting to reach consumers in this new market. Digital marketing emerges as a top consulting opportunity as businesses look to dissolve this border to entry. And also proves a great opportunity for investors.

Internet Usage

The Middle East’s 5G network and internet culture is exploding as internet access becomes easily attainable with smartphones and other devices. There are about 120 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people. With an average of about 3.75GB per month being consumed by these subscribers. Access to and the use of the internet has created a huge boom in the e-commerce sector with a market value of $600 million and growing. This young and developing market holds vast amounts of high-quality data with little to no competitors. Which represents an incredibly smart move for potential investors.

Alone, Egypt makes up 20% of online Arabic users with Saudi Arabia (12%) and Morocco (11%) following closely behind. However, this usage is mainly mobile broadband. Fixed broadband services are very limited due to a low number of fixed phone lines throughout the region. As mobile internet access grows, policymakers are pushing for more fixed broadband access, as it will possibly raise GDP by around 1.4%. Expanding broadband has the potential to create jobs in digital servicing and outsourcing. Which then introduces an even higher demand for more Arabic interface.

The Middle East boasts an average of 67.2% (164 million) internet users in the region compared to the global average of 58.8%, despite being a relatively young market. This access has created fantastic opportunities to shop and interact online. However, most of this interface was created in English. Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world and fourth most used online, but only less than 1% of online content is written in Arabic.

Why Digital Marketing?

Acknowledging these numbers, many digital marketing companies have seen marketing success with consumer personalization, artificial intelligence, and voice search. It is estimated that about 88% of consumers prefer to purchase products online while using their native language, which is difficult in the Arab world considering the lack of an Arabic interface. Businesses operating at an international level want to be able to reach an audience in their native language, which opens opportunities for digital marketing businesses to consult in translation. Enter digital marketing businesses that seek to tap into a young market and create attractively. Relevant content that people would enjoy reading, interacting with, sharing on social media, linking to from their websites, or even writing about in other articles.

RBBi, the first user-centric, data-driven agency in the Arab world. Has conducted a study on the use of Arabic online to solve digital challenges presented by these language barriers. Regarding the use of Arabic online, RBBi conducted a study called “Investing in Arabic Digital Marketing” where they outlined a few issues associated with using Arabic online:

-Domain names, web server configurations, URL structure, page layout, and the translation of content by a native Arabic speaker need careful consideration when developing an Arabic version of a website. Never use auto-translation tools.

-Spaces need to be included between the coordination. And the word so that search engines consider this as a new word.

-As with any other language, it is important to watch out for words that carry the same meaning. In Arabic, this will influence the size of the audience you reach and ultimately the amount of traffic you receive to your website.

-Words with Hamza need to be carefully considered in paid campaigns. Arabic speakers do not include Hamza when searching online, highlighting the importance of the use of both variations.



RBBi answered these issues with successful campaigns using fully optimized Arabic websites, managed by native speakers. An online Arabic spoken language like Arabizi can be used when targeting a specific audience, especially youth. This new language allowed Arabic speakers to communicate at a time when their computers or phones did not support Arabic letters. By using Latin letters to form Arabic words that do not have counterparts in the Roman alphabet. Users started to use numbers instead. Targeting people using Arabizi can be an extremely smart strategy, as there is little to no competition in this area.

Using RBBi’s study, companies looking to break the barrier in the Arab tech market. And their need to have a solid language and cultural content digital marketing strategy. In efforts to reach the Arab audience, digital marketing will mainly see benefits from effective language translation. And optimization of outreach through the use of these correct translations. In this young and quickly developing market, companies will find a competitive edge in content personalized to the Arab consumer.





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