Google event highlights online trends
Dubai, June 2, 2009
Google hosted a day for the top media agencies in UAE , in to help them understand consumer behaviour on the Internet and how they can make use of the tools the Web has to offer to reach new audiences.
The event consisted of a two day session, attended by Google’s AdWords team in UAE and over 100 digital media specialists representing the leading local and multinational advertising agencies.
The sessions focused on the importance of helping business get online through online advertising highlighting search engine optimization (SEO), the strength of keywords, how AdWords works, content-targeted advertising, campaign setups and visitors attraction.
“Our objective is to provide agencies with tips and advice to help them push their clients online in this financial crisis” said Husni Khuffash, Google’s business development manager in the UAE.
“Online means better and more relevant audience reach, lower costs and higher ROI. The region has much to learn when it comes to online marketing and we believe this is the perfect time to initiate the transition to the digital age,” he added.
In preparation for the Agency Day, Google surveyed 1,410 consumers in UAE about their purchasing behavior, and was able to build an accurate picture of online/offline research/purchase segmentation, use of search engines and attitudes to online shopping in UAE in 2009.
The data gathered from the survey was revealed to the agencies as part of the training, aiming to stress on the importance of getting online. The results reflected the increasing sophistication of consumers in purchasing behaviors and the need for businesses to update their online presence to capture this market.
The Internet enables companies to market themselves to their potential customers in a way that is flexible, targeted and cost-effective.
There is a lot of potential for the web in the region as the Middle East and North Africa saw the fastest growth in Internet users in the world between 2000 and 2007 – over 1000 per cent.
From 2007 to 2008 alone, the number of Internet users rose by 44 per cent.
The main highlights from the UAE report are:
• More than 69 per cent of respondents have bought something online.
• Amongst UAE residents, the Internet is the ‘information tool’ used most often when researching possible purchases across a range of categories including digital cameras/camcorders, mobile phones, cars as well as hotel reservations.
• Search engines are the most used source of online research information (81 per cent of respondents). Manufacturer websites (49 per cent), Directories and local listings (27 per cent), retailer websites (26 per cent), and online auction websites (25 per cent) are also very popular.
• Search engines are used most for research in relation to technology (67 per cent) and travel (48 per cent) products.
• Google is the preferred search engine in the UAE with (58 per cent preferring google.com and 38 per cent preferring google.ae)
• In general, as a mean average across the 20 products listed in the survey, 11 per cent of all product purchases were researched and purchased online; 28 per cent were researched online but purchased offline; 5 per cent were researched offline but purchased online; and 56 per cent were researched and purchased offline.
• Credit/debit cards (64 per cent of respondents) are the most common payment method when making online purchases
• 74 per cent of the UAE online users notice sponsored links, and of those who do notice them 7 per cent almost always, 6 per cent regularly, 45 per cent sometimes and 22 per cent seldom click on them.
• While one third of UAE respondents say the current economic crisis has not changed their shopping habits, an almost equal proportion say the recent financial turmoil has led to less of their shopping being done online. This may be related to the