Helping Advertisers Retarget Effectively in MENA Region
Posted on April 30, 2016 | By Gareth Deere

One of the drivers of ROI for digital advertising compared to advertising on traditional media platforms is the ability to target customer segments in real time through programmatic advertising. To this end publishers such as Google and Facebook promise to deliver campaigns to certain demographic and behavourial segments based on data collected from a number of different sources. In part this data includes claimed data from consumers themselves, relating to details such as their date of birth, gender, marital status and occupation. Where applicable publishers will report back they have delivered advertising impressions, which may include this self-reported data to the designated target. This raises some questions: To what extent can we be sure this data is accurate and consumers are correctly declaring information about themselves? Consequently, to what extent can we be sure campaigns are delivered to the correct target?

How do I know my ad impression was delivered to the intended demographic segment?

In order to assess this further Ipsos conducted a survey across six MENA markets (UAE, Egypt, KSA, Morocco, Lebanon, Qatar) which was completed early in January 2016, with a sample size of 5,117 internet users as part of a wider study about premium content and OTT services such as Netflix launching in the region. In this study we asked some questions to understand the prevalence among Internet users to post fake information about themselves on their social media profiles.

 Overall we found the highest incidence of posting fake information was in UAE, with one in four internet users (25%) having posted fake information about themselves, followed by KSA (23%). The least likely were Lebanese (12%)

We went on to ask specifically what fake information they had posted about themselves (name/date of birth/gender etc.). The most frequently cited Fake PII was actually people’s names (68%) followed by date of birth (38%), occupation (23%) fake town where they live (22%), fake marital status (16%).

Fake gender was cited by just 12% of those that have ever posted fake information about themselves on their profile, or around 3% of internet user adults overall across these six markets. In KSA it was only slightly higher, with 4% of internet users in KSA having posted fake information about their gender. It was the same proportion for men or women. Notably in KSA women were more likely than men to post a fake marital status, although the absolute number is still low (4% of all women internet users in KSA).

The insight for advertisers based on this study: they can be reasonably confident with details such as marital status and gender overall, and less confident about age. Attention needs to be paid to propensity to self-report fake information by segment however.

To what extent are my customers reachable by online advertising? How many have turned off ads using ad blockers?

The study went on to cover a further topic, which is of great interest for advertisers looking to ascertain their likely campaign efficiencies during 2016. During the autumn of 2015 the launch of iOS9 brought the topic of ad blocking software to the fore. In our study we wanted to understand consumers’ awareness of ad blocking software across the MENA region, prevalence of usage and likelihood to use over the next 12 months. The direction of questioning included an understanding of what counter measures publishers could deploy.

The study found that on average across the six markets surveyed 56% of Internet users across the MENA region have heard of ad blocking software. Around one in five have ever used to date either on desktop or mobile. A further third consider they are very likely to use ad-blocking software over the next 12 months. However, the good news for publishers, 70% of Internet users in MENA would turn off ad blocking software on their devices if they were unable to access content from their favourite apps or sites as a result. Demonstrating how consumers will trade off advertising in return for compelling content in the MENA region.