x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Advertising agency TBWA/RAAD to grow revenues through digital platforms

The company, which recently opened an office in Tunisia, has set up the Digital Arts Network (Dan) business division to cater specifically to the digital advertising needs of its clients, which include General Electric, Nissan and Infinity.

The use of mobiles influenced retail sales worth $159 billion in the region last year. Sarah Dea / The National
The use of mobiles influenced retail sales worth $159 billion in the region last year. Sarah Dea / The National

The advertising agency TBWA/RAAD expects to grow revenues by as much as 9 per cent this year as more companies opt for digital platforms.

The company, which recently opened an office in Tunisia, has set up the Digital Arts Network (Dan) business division to cater specifically to the digital advertising needs of its clients, which include General Electric, Nissan and Infinity.

"What we're seeing is strong momentum being built in the UAE versus last year," said Reda Raad, the chief operating officer for the Middle East and North Africa at TBWA/RAAD. "What is interesting to note is the huge increase in digital spend. We're seeing it grow 20 per cent year-on-year in terms of investment. That is fuelling one of the major increases to overall size of the market in the wider Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region."

The UAE was set to lead the sector in the region, having become the creative hub of the industry according to Mr Raad.

"Digital advertising made up about 3 to 4 per cent of the total advertising budget a few years ago. Nowadays it is 30 to 40 per cent," said Major Steadman, the head of TBWA/RAAD's Dan division.

"It is all about educating clients. Digital advertising is not just banner ads on websites and having a Facebook page. Brands need to tell a story - humans love stories and people like joining in a conversation."

The company announced its "mobile first" approach to advertising at the Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity yesterday.

"Dubai Lynx is the most important award show for the region. It is significant because it allows the region to showcase what it can do and is judged with the same rigour and quality as other international shows," said Mr Raad.

Globally there were 6 billion mobile phones last year, up from 5 billion in 2010. The smartphone penetration is 60 per cent in the UAE and 61 per cent in Saudi Arabia, making them the biggest markets in the region.

Last year US$159bn (Dh583.95bn) worth of retail sales in the region were influenced by mobile phones, according to Google. Almost 40 per cent of smartphone users in the UAE have made a retail purchase or query on their devices.Mobile visitors to the Dubizzle website have grown to 23 per cent.

"Mobile searches have increased 22 times in the past two years in the region," said Asli Gucuyener, the mobile solutions manager at Google. "Ninety-three per cent of smartphone users in the UAE have searched for local information using their smartphone - 92 per cent of these people have taken action."

 

thamid@thenational.ae