Digital marketingOpinionsRamadan 2017

Making an impact; digital media strategies for Ramadan

Ramadan may be focused on virtuous acts and religious celebrations, but people are on their phones and devices more than ever. They’re also more engaged and excited to engage with brands that hold true to the themes and feelings of the holy month.

Facebook usage increases by 5%, while the average user viewing duration on YouTube increases by 11% and comments rise an impressive 57%. This is most likely due to the shorter work hours, as well as a need for distraction while fasting.

With online users are using social media to pass the time until Iftar, now is the time for digital marketers to reimagine their strategies to engage and interact with people in Ramadan.

Ramadan’s impact on Social Media

The holy month of Ramadan marks a shift in many of the personalities and activities of online users. Many online users suddenly shift online personalities, preferring to view more conservative and religious content, and become more engaged with brands that they view uphold their standards during the month. Consumers are also more demanding and judgmental towards brands that they view may not be focusing on Ramadan enough.

Ramadan also comes with an increase in spending and searches. According to Facebook’s 2017 report for Ramadan, 47% of the people surveyed in the UAE stated they began preparing and planning clothing purchases a month before. There is also an over 20% increase in shopping shares at the time between 12am and 5 am.  This coincides with the fact that most users become most active during these hours, usually the time many wake to eat their last meal before the day’s fasting begins.

According to Google, 2015’s Ramadan saw user searches increase almost double during the holy month. Searches included food recipes, perfumes, clothing, Ramadan offers, automobiles, religious content and hypermarket deals.

Both Google and Facebook agree that mobile device usage to surf the web increases, making it important to ensure all content is optimized for mobile viewing. In 2016’s Ramadan report, Google reported that “searches on mobile represented more than 60% of total queries. This is approximately 5% higher than the average mobile share in other months…”

How to create your impact during Ramadan?

1- Integrate and combine all strategies

For larger companies who are able to afford the increase in costs for TV and Radio ads during Ramadan, it is important to note that integrating an offline campaign and including digital elements has been known to improve campaign results almost ten-fold.

Engagement rises during the holy month exponentially, with a majority being organic. An online campaign during this time could be more cost-effective than in any other time. While TV spots increase in amount and cost, YouTube’s cost metrics “maintained the same cost-per-view and view-through rates on YouTube as they did in other months.” (Google)

Putting teasers or even the full ad on YouTube can help increase brand exposure and awareness due to a large increase in the social media platform’s usage during the month, viewers watching longer content and actively engaging more often. Facebook is also a popular location to post teasers and sponsored videos, with the social giant providing an 8% increase in reach for campaigns using both Facebook and TV.

2- Interact with Ramadan

Create Ramadan-specific content. Ramadan comes with its own themes and rules, and there is a reason why many companies do not deviate and walk away from them. During Ramadan, it is important to find at least one theme that can be associated with your brand. Whether it be charity, family, religion or appropriate entertainment, brands can increase their brand equity by simply focusing on one of themes.

It is also important to note that most brands turn towards a more conversational tone during this time. People love to engage with the people behind the brand, and personalizing communications during a month of increased engagement can boost brand equity and strength for the rest of the year.

3- Inspire

The holy month of Ramadan is known for its religious nature but also for its increased spending, charitable endeavors and family competition.

According to Facebook, 57% of UAE users surveyed stated that their families compete to show off their style during the month. This includes clothing, gifts given and festive feasts. Facebook and Google both also note that in the month before Ramadan, searches and planning of large purchases such as clothing, automobiles and jewelry increase, making it a great time to release online ads to engage consumers.

Conversations on mobile, through Facebook, happen 4.84 time mores than usual, 69% of people in the KSA surveyed by Facebook state they use Instagram to search for gift ideas and 70% of UAE surveyed stated Facebook.

Instagram’s inspiration factor jumps to peak levels during Ramadan, with people more likely to discuss topics on Instagram than Facebook; topics such as fashion (7x more likely) and recipe ideas (5x.) With consumers looking for extravagant gifts, luxury brands shine the most during the last few days of Ramadan.

With an increase in spending, and online usage to search for gift ideas for others and themselves, now is the right time to be inspiring users with your products or services. Search engine advertising and sponsored ads would provide brands with an increased brand reach and awareness, as well as increased possibility of sale during this time. The best time for these ads would be during the peak shopping and social media usage times of 12am and 5 am.

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