Gareth Deere: Digital Audience in UAE – The Full Picture
The Device of Choice
The Emirate has one of the highest Internet penetrations in the world with 93% of adults (6.5 million) in the UAE using it an average of three hours per day. This has important implications for those working in marketing who want to communicate messages about brands, products and services. In other words, the smartphone is the device most likely used to reach more customers, which has the added benefit of being utilised in a contextual and real-time geo-location target environment.
When considering their digital budgets, advertisers typically study various options related to online video, social, display and search to optimise their ad spend across these digital platforms. In order to make informed decisions about how to divide their budgets, advertisers first try to understand how their customers behave on desktop and mobile. The advertisers then consider the best third party services being offered and partner with these to communicate their branded messages.
To better understand the ever-changing digital landscape, Ipsos embarked on a programme of building research panels on smartphones and desktops using dedicated measurement applications distributed to a representative sample of panelists who are rewarded with either cash or discount vouchers.
The insights collected have demonstrated some important differences between desktop and mobile usages. Search has by far the highest number of users on desktop, with Google being the search service of choice for 78% of respondents. Facebook has around 60% monthly reach compared to Youtube’s 52%. Mobile messaging dominates with 82% using Whatsapp at least once a month followed by Youtube (69%) and Facebook (69%). Important brand communication platforms such as Instagram (34%) and Twitter (15%) also feature in the top 20 mobile apps used. On the mobile browser, search dominates, with Google used by 79% of users. The browser is also where regional publishers and services achieve significant reach, including dubizzle (14%), souq.com (13%) and Gulfnews (8%). We see some important differences by demographics especially nationality, age and gender as we delve further into the data. Mobile App vs. Browser
One of the key questions for those embarking on a mobile strategy is how to reach customers via mobile applications, via the mobile browser or both. For advertisers, this detail impacts the choice of available ad units. For publishers, it impacts investment decisions in terms of optimising their website for mobile when building their own smartphone apps. We saw how local publishers use the mobile web to help them generate the highest reach. We also know that a significant proportion of time spent comes from using apps compared to the browser. Content Consumption
Going a step farther, Ipsos analysed the content consumed by Youtube users to find some interesting facts. We saw that those accessing the channel through their desktop are most interested in listening to music 36% compared to 22% on mobile. When it comes to using mobile, the people and blogs category featuring user generated content scored highest at 36%. We also noticed that afternoons and early evenings were primetime slots for mobile Youtube viewing. Mornings, lunchtime and mid evening slots peaked for desktops. That said, mobile generates the highest peak overall.
Finally, the smartphone device doesn’t need to be considered in isolation. It presents enormous opportunities for marketers to leverage cross media campaigns including TV and online with 80% of UAE adults using their smartphone while watching TV, compared to 31% for desktops.
The findings, are a clear indicator that smartphone use is still an under-utilised platform for brand communications in the UAE despite being the connected device of choice for local Internet users. And with innovations such as ‘buy buttons’ on Google, making a purchase directly from search ads has become increasingly easy for consumers. To date, data about how users spend time and engage with services on their smartphones, especially in app, has been hard to come by at a market level. Ipsos has plugged this gap and is delivering the data either as a stand-alone service or as part of our cross media fusion service alongside TV and online in Xplan for media planners.