30 Seconds On The Business Of Mobile Advertising

Gulf Business speaks to Karim Khalifa, CEO of Digital Republic.



Mobile advertising in the Middle East is growing rapidly. Why?

Consumers across the world are increasingly ‘going mobile’ and this region is no exception; in fact our region is witnessing an incredible 45 per cent migration rate from ‘feature phones’ to smartphones.

The rich media capabilities, apps and targeting features – as well as location awareness coupled with social media that these phones offer – are making mobile advertising a valuable proposition for brands.

Which are the sectors that benefit most from mobile advertising?

All sectors can benefit. However the highly targeted, engaging, interactive and contextual nature of mobile can reap huge rewards particularly for the retail industry, FMCG, automotive and real estate verticals.

What are the characteristics of a good mobile ad?

It’s all about targeting, preference management and adding value. Consumers like to get what they want, when they want it.

Mobile needs to be used as part of a holistic experience offered by the brand.

It’s important to remember that our mobile devices occupy a very personal, almost emotional space in our lives, and brands must be very careful not to intrude into this personal space unless they have something really rewarding to say.

Finally, I would say: simple is the new “wow”, particularly when it comes to mobile.

Are regional advertising companies equipped to create the right mobile ads?

Although increasingly on agencies’ radars, generally speaking, they are a little behind the curve.

Mobile advertising requires a specific mind-set and particular process to deliver it effectively. This means it cannot be a mere line-item on the overall media plan, picking up scraps of the budget at the end of the planning process.

Where do you see the regional mobile advertising headed?

Mobile will be in all our lives when it comes to brands in our region.

Consumers will be able to choose what they get from brands – the tables will turn, and consumers will increasingly lead the relationship they have with brands on digital – meaning they will ‘target’ and filter what they want from brands through digital and mobile, rather than brands targeting the consumer based on the brands’ (sometimes perceived) criteria.