Twitter is partnering with Festival of Media MENA to launch its Live Marketing Award in the region, following the successful roll-out of the category in Asia.
M&M Global spoke to Twitter’s head of brand strategy in MENA, Fahad Osman, about the rising trend for “live marketing”, and why engagement is what matters for advertisers.
M&M Global: Why is Twitter partnering with Festival of Media MENA to launch the Live Marketing Award in the region?
Osman: “There has been a massive global and local drive toward real time marketing and Twitter is one of the best platforms for real time content and information discovery in the world. The reason we co-created and sponsored this award is because we wanted to help marketers understand what great real time marketing in the Middle East looks like. And to reward those executions.
“While it’s all very well and good for marketers to take inspiration from the ‘Dunk in the Dark’ moments or the Pharrell spoofs of the world, live marketing goes beyond speed. It also needs to include relevancy. The more people are able to find reward and inspiration in great, local and live marketing examples the better for everyone. Better engagement for brands and more compelling content for the user.”
What trends is Twitter noticing in ‘live marketing’ in MENA?
“It’s funny how when you have just bought something, you see it everywhere. Similarly, my observations about trends tend to revolve around discussions I’ve been having.
“Clients and brands are starting to really grasp that the content calendar, as it is commonly understood today, isn’t the best planning tool if you want to succeed in the live marketing space. What I am seeing is brands and agencies coming together to create processes for live content, and leaving space for that content, once a week or fortnight, in their content calendars.
“Having the systems, templates and slots ready to receive real time content generally means better social comms all around. It also leads to an increase in average engagement and lower CPEs. As more brands and agencies realise that a little extra effort means a lot of extra benefit, the trend will see a marked upward trajectory in the next 18 months.”
How is the use of video advertising evolving in the region?
“Brands understand that video is a huge opportunity because users here, more so than nearly anywhere else in the world, are always on the lookout for great video content. Despite that there is still a marked lack of original branded content being produced and shipped.
“I’m not saying that every campaign needs to have a ‘made for the small screen’ video production. But we do need to realise, and quickly, that the second screen offers brands the ability to generate instant interaction beyond what their 30 second spot on TV can. Add a call to action, an annotation or a hashtag to every piece of content that you repurpose. At least.
“If you are feeling brave, put an easter egg or turn your videos into interactive pieces or questions through the Twitter custom tools. A little goes a long way here, because so little is happening.”
What consumer habits should brands and marketers in the region take into consideration?
“Time and buttons.
“We are a region that tends to consume content beyond office hours. This is something that the client/agency model needs to adapt to. Whether it’s by pre-preparing content and scheduling or by creating workflows that accommodate this. Time is a major factor of relevance and it needs to be addressed.
“‘Click nation’ is a term I have heard applied to many of our MENA markets. People love to click on buttons. Whether it’s to show support, cast an opinion or simply to participate in a campaign, we need to make sure, where it makes sense, that we are giving people things to interact with. Because engagement is the new black.”
What do you believe are the most important trends in media and marketing in MENA over the coming 12 months?
“More speed. More video content and more competition. The lines between creative, media and social agencies are blurring as online increasingly becomes a catchall for content, conversation, awareness and engagement based medias.
“GRPs are calculable on the small screen and attribution modelling, that apogee of marketing effectiveness is now becoming available to even the smallest of businesses. The competition will be less about where and how much and more about how and how quickly and relevantly you can communicate.”