Data-driven advertising key to reaching back-to-school shoppers in the UAE
Posted on 2023 Jul,27  | By Terry Kane

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Terry Kane, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at The Trade Desk, talks about the importance of data-driven advertising to reach back-to-school shoppers in the Middle East.

Almost half (47 percent) of UAE parents intend to spend more on back-to-school supplies and apparel compared to last year, according to recent research from advertising technology company The Trade Desk*.

While physical in-store shopping is still the preferred method, digital is gaining momentum in the UAE.  With almost one in three (29 percent) planning to shop for back-to-school items online, data-driven advertising will be key in reaching back-to-school shoppers in the Emirates this year.

The consumer research, conducted in the UAE in June, indicates that 39 percent of the back-to-school shoppers are 25-34 years old. This is a generation of Millennials and Gen Z which have grown up in an era with the proliferation of the internet and e-commerce. The research also shows that while two thirds (64 percent) of parents in the UAE are shopping for back-to-school items for children, one-in-five (20%) are also planning to purchase for themselves.

With parents considering back-to-school items as essential, items like clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as writing utensils, notebooks and electronics are poised to benefit from increased demand before school starts at the end of August. To reach consumers that are in the market for school supplies and apparel, it’s important for brands to maintain a strong presence across all marketing channels in order to strengthen brand recognition and impact back-to-school purchasing decisions.

According to the research, almost a quarter (23 percent) of parents of school-aged kids in the UAE tend to buy brands they have seen advertised. About one-in-five of those planning to do back-to-school shopping say that display ads, ads on video streaming services or out-of-home ads are important factors in influencing them to try a new brand. 22 percent of those planning to shop for back-to-school watch between four and 10 hours per week of ad supported streaming content and 46 percent say they prefer to see personalised ads on retailer websites.

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the effectiveness of advertising hinges on the ability to deliver personalised, relevant, and impactful messages to the right audience at the right time.

At the same time, the media consumption has become extremely fragmented for all of us. We listen to podcasts in the morning, see digital signage while commuting, look at websites during work and enjoy our favourite drama series on a connected TV in the evening, all while our smartphone is a constant companion.

Planning and executing advertising campaigns that tell a relevant story across all channels that the respective audience uses, requires creative intuition coupled with machine power to analyse millions of data points to decide, which ad to display where at which time.

As the world becomes increasingly data-driven, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital advertising technology has emerged as a game-changer. 

Programmatic advertising, the use of automated technology for media buying, holds the key to unlocking the true potential of the MENA advertising industry. By enabling precise targeting, personalisation, and real-time measurement, programmatic advertising can drastically improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, eliminating guesswork and delivering tangible results.

* Between 6 June – 19 June 2023, The Trade Desk commissioned a 15-minute online survey amongst 1,265 UAE residents (aged 18+) with YouGov in order to establish consumer trends in the UAE for back-to-school shopping.