Brief Background on The Holy Month Ramadan
Ramadan is both the holiest, and trendiest month on the Muslim calendar. Ramadan is the month that takes place during the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims refrain from various forms of physical intake during daylight hours throughout the month. This not only includes eating but drinking and smoking too. Families get together each evening when the sun sets to break the fast together and they often stay up to the early hours of the morning enjoying time with family and friends. Right around the world, millions of Muslims observe Ramadan, a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. Ramadan 2020 will take place starting April 23 in the evening and end May 23 in the evening. The Eid Al-Fitr will take place after this period.
Faith & Charity during Ramadan
One of the pillars of faith is Charity, Muslims are instructed to give 2.5% of their wealth a year, many choose to do this act during Ramadan as it is believed that the reward for good deeds is significantly increased in this month. Companies such as Zakat Fund, Dar Al Ber Society and Beit Al Kheir Society and many others in the United Arab Emirates, are instrumental not only helping to increase our understanding in how to give charity but also encourage Muslims to give charity within the UAE. The month of Ramadan also sees a number of interfaith initiatives. If you visited in Dubai during Ramadan2019, the longest was a great initiative which held last year an open iftar. Ramadan 2020 is going to be no open iftar initiatives but meal boxes only due to stay at home call by UAE Government while taking precautionary measures against COVID-19.
Here are a couple of key Ramadan insights, advertising strategies and targeting to be aware of:
Consumer daily journey in Ramadan
With the breaks between meals and select days of celebration, there is clearly a cycle that your advertising campaign can follow to improve ad recall. For example, if you’re going to post about suhoor (the meal before just before sunrise), consider also posting about iftar (the meal after sunset). It’s no wonder, smartphones and mobile Ads do a wonderful job of distracting during the fasting time between sunrise and sunset as Muslims post on social media about Duaa of the day latest Iftar plans with friends and family, fasting experiences, new purchases, or recipes to enjoy when breaking fast.
Ramadan themed advertising campaign
With no doubt, Ramadan is a great time to not only for display Ads but generally for advertising just think about how specific advertising can be used during Ramadan to hit target audiences when they otherwise wouldn’t be paying as much attention. When it comes to Ramadan in particular, you can do great things with Ramadan advertising, especially when it comes to CSR, charity, fundraising, personal care and home-related products that can be consumed during traditional pre-and post-fast feasts. With so many brands muscling for consumer’s attention during this period it is easy to get lost in the noise, so creatives need to be better and Ad distribution needs to be smarter across channels. Uploads and conversations peak at both the beginning and end of Ramadan and advertisers can take part in the conversation.
Start and end of advertising campaign
Starting early advertising means that you show your Ad before your competition does and stop it after they do. Online shopping on both mobile and desktop picks up two weeks before Ramadan begins, with online shopping peaking throughout the holy month. Online shopping continues until two days before Eid Al-Fitr but the shopping doesn’t stop there, post Ramadan shopping also sees an upward trend. Apart from the Ramadan shopping list, Arabic expats in the UAE are buying gifts for their family, relatives and friends for their return home country as gifts to giveaway.
‘Family’ is a hot topic to consider
With a whopping 53% of Facebook chatter going towards family-focused conversations, keep your tone appropriate for all ages. With fasting and visiting relatives, both men and women are equally involved in the discussions of cooking and home care. Ramadan is both a spiritual and physical cleansing period for many Muslims, so it goes without saying, avoid any provocative or risqué imagery no matter who your brand audience is.
Get into the spirit of Ramadan
Now that you know ‘when’ to focus your campaign efforts, the next step is ‘what’ to focus on. Search interest in topics related to Ramadan inspired make-up, clothes and recipes surges during the holy month, and creating Ramadan themed content still related to your vertical will help organic searches and interest in your brand and products. This helps the marketing and re-marketing aspect of your campaign. You can also collaborate with relevant influences (ensure the person you reach out to compliments and aligns with your brand) to further your reach and create content that is authentic and memorable.
With the success of video ads on Facebook, advertisers should consider more videos ads their campaigns across social media Ads. Furthermore, A brand’s televised ad campaign has the potential to cross over to Facebook, Instagram for non-TV-users, people who always use their mobile. According to Facebook insights, 74% of people chat online about video ad they saw. In the age of digital video, traditional advertising models won’t cut it. As viewership moves online, on YouTube in MENA growing by 60% year over year, people’s preferences, behaviors, and attitudes towards video are rapidly changing. According to Google, during the year 2019, we see many brands communicating on YouTube using their TVCs, but this is not necessarily the best thing to do, especially during Ramadan. In fact, we see a clear difference in performance and audience retention between a made for online video vs. a typical TVC. When an ad is contextualized and made for online, users skip less and watch more of your content. During the holy month brands have an opportunity to engage more with consumers, spend more time with them and share with them longer formats and stories. In short, all the elements that are typical of a made for online, digital first approach. When planning for their Ramadan campaign, brands should think and execute more like publishers than like advertisers. They have a whole month to talk to the consumers, and we are seeing some brands doing a very good job by creating multi-part stories that have better performances.
Multiscreen and cross-channel to stay in-front and get a boost from audiences
Mobile is indispensable, with 86% of Ramadan observers surveyed across key markets using mobile. Whether they are seeking entertainment before iftar or browsing shopping websites before Suhoor, Ramadan observers use mobile to stay connected and informed. Mobile is also the Ramadan shopping companion. In MENA, retail mobile commerce accounts for 62% of total retail ecommerce sales and has grown 25% year-on-year. Although mobile usage is dominant, Desktop remains an important part of the Ramadan 2020 during stay at home and work from home experience. Multiscreening is becoming more common, with 66% of Ramadan observers using mobile, watching TV while working in desktop. Pairing desktop ads and mobile ads allows brands to reach audiences who traditionally don’t watch TV. It can also lead to more effective results -based on meta-analysis in ME, there is a 6-point incremental sales lift when desktop ads are paired with mobile, compared to expected lift outcomes. Cross-channel to get a boost from your audiences, online social chatters during Ramadan in the UAE, also GCC region and Middle East more around all Arab countries in general rises to a rolling boil as practicing Muslims post 9.4 times more on social media Facebook and Instagram content during Ramadan day than during non-Ramadan periods according to Facebook research.
Speak to your audience to recall your Ad
During Ramadan, ad recall is everything. Offline life slows-down and customers may not be jumping up to buy your product and service. Rather than loading up on information and concepts into your campaigns, have an ongoing conversation with your audience using short, concise messages. By drafting your media brief and identifying your specific target audience(s) and generating key online behavioral insights we share in our guide, you are in a great position to build strong creatives and unlock an effective media plan we do for each advertising campaign. This will allow you to engage with your audience and drive return on investment.
Creating themed content for your Ad
Creating Ramadan themed ad content for your product or service may catch the eye of a possible lead because they’re currently searching online for their Ramadan shopping list. Since there is a seasonal need for food and gifts during Ramadan, their attention is easier to grab. Companies that are thinking of advertising need iconic symbols of Ramadan here you are the commonly Used symbols in advertisements during Ramadan The Crescent Moon, Dates and Kunafa, Musbaha, Prayer Rug or Prayer Mat, Nuts, Lanterns, Arab Tea Pots, Arabic Coffee Pots, Canons, Suhoor Drum
Keep your Storytelling ‘Localized’
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of community, self-reflection, and giving. During the month of Ramadan, all restaurants in Dubai, AbuDhabi and all the other Emirates in the UAE cover their windows to prevent temptation during the fasting period. It is important that while trying to create a catchy Ramadan campaign, marketers remain respectful of what this month is about. Try to incorporate themes of family and friends in your marketing campaign as they are effective in encouraging engagement with consumers over the years.
Recommended greeting to use in your Ad
Ramadan Kareem: Ramadan Kareem (Ramadan is Generous) is probably the most commonly used saying during Ramadan with its response Allah Akram (God is more generous). Most ads you will see during Ramadan have this saying somewhere on the ad. Some advertisers try to use the saying to convey that Ramadan is a time you should be generous to yourself with a new car, clothes, or some other product.
Happy Ramadan: In countries that are heavily influenced by the west you do see examples of the greeting Happy Ramadan but it is probably the least recommended or the least used saying we found in Ramadan ads.
Best-selling products in the UAE during Ramadan
The Holy Month of Ramadan is one of the most important periods of the year in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East markets. We could easily say ‘everything’ in this section because Ramadan involves the simple act of giving gifts. Currently due to the impact of covid19 on the malls and retailers each retail stores should have mobile application or online portal to keep selling to shoppers. Each year consumerism in Muslim markets in Arabic countries like the United Arab Emirates during Ramadan increases and as it increases, we see more marketing budget being allocated to Ramadan ads to take advantage of this growth. With that there are a few product categories that tend to perform the best during this season that we cover below, but this is by no means a comprehensive list. Regardless, there are particular products that people tend to look for during Ramadan.
– Food: Without having experienced Ramadan, one would assume food consumption would be down during the month of Ramadan since it is a month of fasting. Food consumption surges during the month as families feast in the evenings after many hours of not eating. It is common to see shortages of certain types of food during this season and in the UAE, GCC, ME and generally in all Arabic countries some consumers start stockpiling before Ramadan. Fast Food is a rapidly growing advertising segment during the season as families move from traditional meals to prepared meals that allow families that don’t have time to cook to order online food as well.
– Gifts: A traditional backgammon set, which is often played during Ramadan family gathering after Iftar time. Also, forever Roses which are a type of rose that is designed to live up to three years and are often given as gifts along with chocolates or dusted almonds. Arabian fragrances and candles in scents like black violet or saffron.
– Clothes: It isn’t uncommon to see all sorts of advertisements and promotions for Ramadan related clothes. For example, Abayas, a type of modest clothing that is often worn during Ramadan. Custom kanduras, which are a type of Muslim menswear that can be customized to be a special gift. Kafkans, a type of traditional modest clothing item worn by women. Comfortable and simple Arabian sandals, which are often worn by men during Ramadan. Moreover, clothing is very important in Muslim societies and Ramadan is a peak time for buying clothing. Ramadan 2020 apparel online-retailers expected to witness a growth during this period as the consumers are staying at home shopping online for new clothes for Eid.
– Home Décor: It is so popular between the Arabic families to start think about home decor in Ramadan. While everyone staying at home now the holy month of Ramadan 2020 will be a great source of inspiration for home to apply special Islamic style to apply some changes. Ramadan themed decor is the important aspect that represents & define the Arabic people’s culture. Ramadan also is a time where Arabic families tend to spend more on home décor and interiors. Arabic females think about Ramadan themed home decor before the month begins. They like to apply slight changes and buy selective pieces like wall hanging, led string light table, cushion cover pillow, table runner, photo frames.
– Jewelry: Jewelry is not only an accessory in many parts of the Muslim and Arab worlds but is also an investment. This makes it a popular gift choice for loved ones during the Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr season. As a result of this it is common to see special Ramadan promotions and discounts on jewelry during this season. It could be Allah pendants or Allah-themed jewelry.
– Electronics: Given the immense popularity and the status symbol that electronics like mobile phones and tablets have become in recent years throughout the Muslim world Ramadan is a common time for purchasing electronics. Electronics online-retailers are well known for offering some of the best deals on electronics during Ramadan. To add to this telecom providers often discount their rates or give additional perks like extra minutes during Ramadan which can lead many to invest in new devices.
Times to run your Advertising campaign during Ramadan
It is important that marketers understand that Muslims are fasting from consumables, not smoking and running low on sleep during the day because of nighttime Ramadan activities. Considering this, if your marketing activities can be set to certain times, daytime might be best avoided. Top Arabic drama series tend to run during Ramadan and ad space is at a premium. One study found that social media usage is highest during Ramadan during the late hours of 1-4 AM in countries like UAE. The best time to run video ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube during Ramadan is one hour before Iftar time and three hours Suhoor time. Marketers should see this late time as an opportunity to increase ad spends so they can reach the widest audience.
– Schedule your campaigns accordingly to make sure you reach the audience at the right time
– Be ready for the price increase – observe if your budgets do not limit the delivery
– Start advertising in advance to collect audience and utilize it in a later stage
– trying to get attention for your Eid sale campaign during Eid itself will be too late
Need help with your Ramadan Marketing Campaigns? Contact us to find out how we can help you.
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