12 May 2018

Marketing bonanza during Ramadhan: Google

According to Think With Google, Ramadhan is a very special month for marketers in MENA. Consumer spend increases 53% during the month of Ramadhan (May 17 to June 14 2018), especially on regular household items - this rise was recorded in KSA and the UAE among other countries.

Broadcast content on YouTube peaks for the year during Ramadhan, Google said. Marketers also have up to two weeks post-Ramadan to engage with their audiences as people catch up with their favourite shows on their own time.

There are typically shorter working hours and more free time, which is reflected in online spending habits. According to the Think With Google Ramadan 2018 guide:

A month before Ramadhan, cooking videos on YouTube become popular. Watch times peaks at almost 30% higher than average in the first week of Ramadhan, Think with Google said. Searches for recipes are also 50% higher than the annual average, especially at the start of the month.

During Ramadhan, people are more willing to watch videos in longer formats - there is a 60% year-on-year increase. Audiences also spend more time on mobile, and organic viewership of advertising increases.

Source: Think with Google report. Overall engagement with YouTube videos increases during Ramadhan.
Source: Think with Google report. Overall engagement with YouTube videos increases during Ramadhan.

The changes in behaviour continue for two weeks post-Ramadhan, so marketers can capitalise on engagement at this time. Searches for air travel and hotels go up 20 to 25% around Eid, too.

YouTube is more popular than TV, AThink with Google said. With TV ads set at a 100 baseline, YouTube ads were scored at 150 by KSA respondents, according to the Ipsos MENA 2017 Ramadan Insights report.

Google also runs the Lantern Award, which celebrates MENAs most engaging and creative Ramadhan and Eid al Fitr YouTube campaigns. Last year’s Lantern Award winner, from VIVA Kuwait, described how frustrated women can get when their Tupperware is forgotten at guests’ homes, in a humorous manner.  

To master content during Ramadhan, Think with Google suggests:

- Use storytelling, and use multiple stories instead of repeating content

- The idea of giving back to society is a favourite for audiences during Ramadhan

- Be authentic, addressing real user needs, passions and relevant real-life issues

- Get reliable consumer insights

- Leverage on the increased interest in travel, beauty and fashion during Eid

Think With Google has also shared Ramadhan advertising figures for 2017 in a blog post.
According to the Google division, 23% of ad spend was dedicated to Ramadhan in MENA, quoting to Ipsos 2017 research. In contrast, Ramadhan viewership on YouTube over the last three years has increased threefold compared to TV, whose viewership remained flat. 


Download the Ramadan 2018 guide from Think with Google (PDF)

Entries for the 2018 Lantern Award close 24 June.

View the 2017 Lantern Award winner and finalists (generally in Arabic. Some have English subtitles)