Online advertising to witness 40% growth this year in UAE

29.Dec.09. mediaME

Q1. Introduce yourselves, your industry experience and tell us about out-n-out online xperts (OOX)

Out-n-out Online Xperts in short OOX is a new concept company that is in the business of promoting and developing online advertising in the region by providing intelligence, knowledge and education with the objective of increasing the awareness and adoption of this digital medium among Advertisers, Publishers and Advertising Agencies in the GCC and the Middle-East.

OOX are known to be the parents of OOXmonitor, the first Competitive Online Advertising Monitoring and Creative Ad Bank service in the Middle-East with data that runs back to October 2007 and a database that exceeds 5,000 online advertising campaigns.

Q2. Discuss your online media monitoring service; how it works, and what kind of information it delivers.

In simple terms OOXmonitor records online advertising campaigns targeting UAE internet users across more than 75 Websites, Newsletters and Mailing Lists. Information such as Brand, Category, Campaign, Website, Ad Format, Location, Language, Duration, Landing Page and Creative is collected, sorted and deployed to our Members via our proprietary web application www.ooxmonitor.com

Companies that advertise online or their agencies need to use the information in order to learn about their competitors: What is my competition doing online? What websites are they using? How often do they advertise? Which audience are they addressing? What advertising formats are they using? What message are they disseminating? etc…

This information makes advertisers and their agencies more informed and in turn give them a competitive advantage, the knowledge advantage. This knowledge can be used to develop smarter media plans.

To give a practical example, let us say I am a Media Agency and my Client is a Mobile Phone brand with a small market share and consequently a small budget. I am therefore up against the big muscle the likes of Nokia, Blackberry and iPhone. Without competitive intelligence I could launch my campaign at a time when the high market share big budget competitors are running their campaigns, which ends up diluting the effect of my own campaign. However data from OOXmonitor can allow me to (1) learn if any of my competitors are already active or not, (2) Historical data can help me understand possible competitive seasonality which will in turn help me identify periods of low competitive activity for my brand to stand-out despite my smaller budget.

Digital Publishers also use online advertising intelligence to reconstruct Brand Strategies so they can formulate relevant and effective sales recommendations to Agencies and Advertisers. For example if I have a Women website or channel I can learn from OOXmonitor which brands or categories are already active on this segment and formulate the right and appropriate recommendation.

Q3. How has the response been to this service? Does it appeal more to media owners or to advertising agencies?

The response has been very positive by most of the industry, after all who likes to be in the dark? The service has been available in the market for a little bit more than a year and our Members portfolio has gradually grown to comprise big names like OMD Digital, Universal Media, Mindshare, Mediacom, Choueiri Group, BBC World, Jeeran, Dubizzle, Maktoob, Initiative, Magna and Ikoo and a number of Advertisers. It is worth noting that despite the novelty of the service and the dire economic situation, 2009 has been a very good year for OOXmonitor!

The service naturally appeals to all players that are currently investing or considering to invest in online advertising whether they’re Media Agencies, Creative Agencies, Publishers or Advertisers. Our Members list suggests that there is no preference by one industry arm or another – after all information and intelligence can be priceless in the Marketing/Advertising business. However we believe that publishers and advertisers are bound to skew the balance in the long run due to their sheer number as opposed to digital media agencies that are a just handful.

Q4. Tell us about the growth that you have witnessed in online media expenditure in the UAE, following several years of monitoring. What’s your prediction for 2010?

The online advertising activities are expected to witness more than 40% growth by the end of 2009 versus 2008 in the UAE, the largest online market. The trend is expected to continue in 2010 with more budgets invested online and an increasing number of new players.

Q5. OOX also offers training and consulting services. Tell us more about that.

It is common knowledge that online advertising requires a set of skills that cannot just be copied from off-line media. To illustrate you buy a 30 seconds spot on Television, a 35x5 in the newspaper and a Full Page in the Magazine. On the other hand you buy Impressions Online, you might want to pay on a CPM, CPC or CPL basis. You use an Ad Server to traffic the campaign, you keep an eye on the CTR per banner and reallocate impressions to most efficient ones… You get the message!

In short, we spread the know-how through tailor-made workshops and online media expertise.

It is worth noting that we are conducting our first Online Media Workshop for Advertisers in February 2010. It is open to all Advertisers to sign-up, seats are limited and the price is really affordable!

Q6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

It was a bit disappointing for us to realize that some media agencies have decided not to invest in such a small ticket yet extremely rich online intelligence tool and rely instead on primitive methods of collecting competitive data: some by contacting the media suppliers on an ad hoc basis and some by diagonally scanning a handful of websites in the morning.

Such an approach saves an agency a few dollars however it puts the client’s media plan at risk of wasting thousands.

But on the other hand we are very happy with the number of companies who have already subscribed to OOXmonitor. Their investment is in-line with the growth trend that our industry is witnessing online.

Moreover, 2010 is going to be a very exciting year for OOX and our Members as we will be adding Saudi Arabia to our monitoring portfolio in addition to more innovative services which will be announced in due time!

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