Web Summit 2023 and MENA's InnovateXperience
Posted on 2024 Jan,08  | By Rizk Haddad, Walee MENA

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Rizk Haddad, Head of Monetization at Walee MENA, shares key learnings, trends and future directions from the company’s Lisbon Web Summit 2023 engagement driving the creator economy ecosystem way forward.

Portugal has positioned itself as a prominent hub in the global technology landscape, notably earning acclaim for hosting the esteemed Web Summit in Lisbon annually. This week-long event draws visionaries and tech enthusiasts worldwide, turning the city into a vibrant epicenter for cutting-edge discussions, entrepreneurial insights, and technological advancements.

The most recent installment, Web Summit 2023, saw a gathering of over 80,000 participants. Beyond passionate tech enthusiasts, the event attracted industry leaders and investors alike, converging for an extensive week devoted to exploring groundbreaking ideas and innovations.

Noteworthy this time was the surge in participation from the MENA region, highlighting a pronounced diversity of perspectives and substantial tech contributions, adding significant depth to the global discourse. Guided by their respective visions, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt recognized the summit's profound impact on shaping their technological destinies within the broader regional tech landscape.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, aiming for resonance, reaffirmed its commitment at the summit to driving the nation towards a diversified, knowledge-based economy, not only for national growth, but also to influence the regional tech narrative.

Concurrently, Qatar strategically positioned itself at the forefront of a tech-infused future, systematically diversifying its economy away from hydrocarbons — a commitment emphasized in Lisbon, setting a precedent for technological transformation in the Gulf region.

The UAE also restated its vision for more than just economic metamorphosis; it aspired to assume a global tech leadership role, influencing not only its own trajectory, but also contributing to the broader Middle East tech ecosystem. The collective impetus was not merely centered on individual advancements but was oriented towards collaborative efforts, with a keen focus on building an atmosphere conducive to knowledge exchange and innovative ideation.

We would like to leave you with key learnings and future directions from our 2023 web summit engagement driving the creator economy ecosystem way forward:


Walee’s Key Learnings from Web Summit 2023

1. Explosive Growth In Creator Economy - Doubling Total Addressable Market

The creator economy could approach half-a-trillion dollars by 2027, according to Goldman Sachs. As the ecosystem grows, the total addressable market of the creator economy could roughly double in size over the next five years to $480 billion by 2027 from $250 billion today.

2. Primary Growth Drivers of Creator Economy - Short Term Video Platforms

The insatiable demand for short-form video content is vividly illustrated by the projected ad spending in the Video Advertising market, according to Statista. Anticipated to skyrocket to US$88.1 billion in 2023, the sector is poised for substantial growth with an estimated annual rate of 10.61% from 2023 to 2028. By 2028, the market volume for ad spending on short-form videos is expected to reach an impressive US$145.8 billion.

These staggering figures highlight the escalating prominence of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, both instrumental in reshaping the digital landscape. Beyond their brevity, the allure of short-form videos lies in their remarkable ability to captivate and sustain audience attention—a quality that resonates particularly well with the relatively short attention spans of Gen Z. As this demographic continues to favor succinct and engaging content, the meteoric rise of short-form video platforms remains unparalleled.

3. AI Redefining Content Creation

Talks at the summit also centered around how AI is redefining the content creation process, with many creators already using these tools for improved efficiency and to aid creativity. This paradigm shift comes with several notable advantages.

  • Firstly, AI introduces unprecedented efficiency to the content creation process, streamlining tasks that were once time-consuming and labor-intensive. It empowers creators with innovative tools, enhancing their creative capabilities and expanding the boundaries of what's achievable. 
  • Secondly, AI-driven content creation offers scalability, enabling creators to produce high-quality content at a faster pace. 
  • Thirdly, the predictive and analytical capabilities it offers also contribute to personalized content, making it easier for creators to cater to diverse audience preferences. 

However, with these remarkable advancements come pressing considerations. The need for robust regulation becomes apparent to ensure ethical AI use and prevent misuse. Copyright concerns may also arise as AI-generated content blurs traditional ownership boundaries, necessitating updated legal frameworks.

4. Content Integration in Social/Live Commerce for Lower Funnel

Another key theme of the summit was the strategic integration of content into social and live commerce to effectively address the lower funnel. Social commerce refers to the integration of e-commerce functionalities into social media platforms. This means that users can browse, select, and purchase products without leaving the social media environment. It leverages social interactions, reviews, and recommendations to influence purchase decisions. Live commerce, on the other hand, involves real-time, interactive shopping experiences conducted through live streaming or live video sessions.


Trends Transforming Global Content - MENA's Lens on 2024

As we all look towards future trends and global impact into our MENA content space and market here are some key trends and dynamics that will evolve into our content transformation and journey in 2024:


Social Commerce:

  1. Short-Form Videos: Short-form video content will see a further rise, providing a dynamic and concise way for brands and influencers to showcase products. 
  2. User-Generated Content (UGC): UGC will remain popular and in demand for authenticity, building a sense of community around the brand. 
  3. Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with influencers will remain a potent strategy. Influencers, with their engaged audiences, authentic reviews, and product endorsements, will continue to see a rise. 
  4. Shoppable Posts and Stories: Social media platforms will continue to introduce more features for in-app shopping, allowing users to make purchases directly through posts and stories. 
  5. Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences: AR filters and features will allow users to virtually try products, enhancing the online shopping experience. 


Live Commerce:

  1. Interactive Q&A Sessions: Live hosts and real-time Q&A sessions 
  2. Limited-Time Offers and Flash Sales: Limited time discounts and exclusive deals 
  3. Behind-the-Scenes Content: Behind-the-scenes glimpses, more personalisation 
  4. Product Demonstrations and How-Tos: Live hosts showcasing products in action, demonstrations and tutorials to highlight features and usage. 
  5. Collaborative and Cross-Promotional Live Events: Brand x creator collaboration for joint live events, expanding reach and tapping into each other's audiences for mutual benefit. 


Looking ahead into 2024, Walee is poised to amplify its influence in the MENA influencer marketing and technology arena. Building on the insights and experiences gained from the Web Summit 2023, Walee is set to embrace a forward-thinking approach that anticipates and adapts to the evolving landscape of the creator economy.

With an unwavering commitment to innovation, Walee is exploring new dimensions in influencer marketing, keeping pace with emerging trends and technologies. The integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual experiences is on the horizon, offering an immersive and engaging layer to Walee's campaigns. As social media platforms continue to evolve, Walee recognizes the significance of staying agile and responsive, ensuring that its solutions remain at the forefront of industry developments.

Furthermore, Walee envisions a deeper integration of data analytics and artificial intelligence, not only for campaign optimization but also for predictive modeling that anticipates audience preferences and behavior. This forward-looking strategy positions Walee as a trailblazer, driving advancements that go beyond the present state of influencer marketing.

In the collaborative spirit forged at Web Summit 2023, Walee anticipates forging new partnerships and synergies with like-minded innovators. As it ventures into 2024, Walee remains dedicated to fostering creativity, leveraging technology to enhance human expression, and contributing to the dynamic evolution of the influencer and content marketing landscape in the MENA region and beyond.