UAE. A recent survey into the mobile internet habits of UAE consumers conducted by Omnia Connect, a leading interactive agency in Dubai, has identified the untapped potential of mobile marketing opportunities for brands in the UAE.
The survey, which targeted 100 male and 100 female UAE residents, has shown that the mobile platform has huge potential, especially in the UAE where mobile phone penetration is at its peak, with users waiting for more mobile content and services to be offered.
Omnia Connect CEO, Alexander Rauser, says that the research and its accompanying Special Report show an incredibly positive outlook for mobile marketing within the UAE.
“The results are in and what they show is really quite interesting,” he says. “We now know that the demand is there, people are using their internet browsing capabilities, but unfortunately for them the local content is just not available.
Global estimates indicate that the mobile ad spend is now where internet advertising spend was 10 years ago and by engaging in the mobile platform now, marketers can take advantage of the power of the early adaptations and win early entry levels in establishing their brand.”
In the UAE, mobile users are talking, texting, surfing, researching and social networking while on-the-go. This clearly demonstrates an obvious consumer reach for brand marketers.
“It should be noted though, that while SMS is by far the most commonly used mobile service, it is not a desirable platform for sweepstakes or games as 90% of users do not participate so it is important that marketers don’t fall into the trap of thinking mass text messaging based campaigns are an effective use of this technology,” Rauser says.
The survey showed that 27% of users are currently using their mobile phones to access transaction services, including phone banking or delivery services, while 47% of users have said they would be prepared to buy goods using their mobile phones if the service was made more convenient or available, which Rauser says is one of the most promising statistics to come out of the survey.
“Here is where the opportunities lie and it is up to marketers to take this information and implement it into a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy.”
Most of the participants demonstrated that they are actively using their mobile handsets to browse and surf the internet - 70% of those surveyed surfed the internet using their mobile phone, with 90 percent of those using their mobile to research online a least between once and twice a day.
However, the survey proved that both content and accessibility are major factors in internet and application usage on mobile devices throughout the UAE, with the lack of mobile-optimized websites from UAE brands and slow connections speeds having a negative impact.
“There is no denying that engagement with customers who are away from the computer and on their mobile handset has a desirable brand engagement advantage, but this opportunity needs to be utilised and appreciated by marketers to give both users and brands the full advantage of these capabilities,” says Rauser.
“The mobile platform is opening new channels of communication with customers by adding value with mobile application offerings; brands can provide these new services and enhance their brand engagement.”
Mobile-optimised websites from the top UAE brands are few, yet the marketing potential for the region’s top brands to reach and engage with mobile users is still underestimated. A mobile-accessible website, in a simplified version, can be enough to connect the mobile user while on-the-go.
But, research has also shown that brands shouldn’t expect mobile web-surfers to click on their banner advertisements. As accessibility goes, with slow internet speeds and long load times, users prefer to not click away from their preferred website destination.
"There is no doubt that we’ve found a great potential in mobile marketing and the development of branded applications,” says Rauser. “At Omnia Connect we’re working to leverage these mobile insights with our interactive development technologies to enhance mobile campaigns for brands that crave stronger engagement with customers and mobile users in the UAE.
While we’re always working to help drive brand engagement, we’re also exploring these new areas of distribution so we can continue to provide interactive solutions that connect with mobile users."
“Marketers that jump onto mobile right now can leverage from the early adoption and brands that think out of the box can take their business to mobile heights.”