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Author: Aliya Zaidi
I work in the Research team for Econsultancy. We publish reports covering best practice, user experience benchmarking, market data, supplier selection, template files, trends and innovation aimed at internet professionals who want practical advice on all aspects of e-business.
I manage Econsultancy's Innovation Report, which features short case studies on innovative marketing tactics in the digital world. If you are interested in submitting examples of work for this report, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week, Econsultancy published an update to its PPC Bid Management Technology Buyer's Guide. The report estimates that the market for PPC bid management technology will grow by 17% in 2012, in line with the overall North American search sector, which is predicted to grow from a value of $22.9 billion, to $26.8 billion in 2013.
The report shows that many areas of digital are increasingly integrated, with the biggest opportunities for growth in this sector coming from mobile paid search, a focus on multichannel retailing and the continuing forward march of social media.
Focused on country-specific search engine marketing strategies, the report stresses the importance of understanding your audience and producing locally relevant content for both the English and Arabic-speaking population.
This blog post touches on just some of the issues that marketers need to take into account when optimising web pages in the Middle East.
Econsultancy has just published an updated version of its Online Video Best Practice Guide. The latest report reflects the evolution of online video from simply a 'nice-to-have' to a strategic marketing tool.
We caught up with the report's author, Steffan Aquarone, to find out more about how the world of online video has changed since the last version of the guide, and what the future holds for this rapidly moving space.
In partnership with Responsys, Econsultancy has launched some new research for 2012, the Cross-Channel Marketing Survey, which looks at the cross-section of different online and offline channels, including integration with email, display advertising, mobile, plus much more.
The research aims to benchmark trends within the market, and the launch of this brand-new survey reflects the growing necessity for companies to take an integrated approach to marketing and remove the organisational barriers that are holding them back.
The Facebook campaign asked people to share their pictures if they are a celebrity look-alike.
More examples of innovative social media case studies are beginning to come to light in the Middle East, which is exciting for the digital industry in this region.
Sharing case studies and examples of best practice is hugely beneficial for digital as a whole, enabling companies to learn from their peers and better understand best practices and rules of engagement.
With that in mind, here we look at Beat FM's case study in more detail, as well as some of the other campaigns shortlisted in this category at ArabNet's summit.
The daily deals market has rapidly grown in the last three years, with market leader, Groupon, now present in 48 countries with an estimated 33m customers.
In late 2011, Groupon's IPO valuation was an estimated $12 billion. Despite this immense growth, the industry suffers from perception problems, with some even claiming the bubble has already burst.
However, the market is still relatively immature, and the industry faces many challenges before it establishes itself as a credible component of the marketing mix.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Groupon was told to clean up its advertising practices by the OFT.
In particular, the industry needs to address its cases of failure head on and work with merchants to optimise the effectiveness of daily deals and prevent high-profile disasters (particularly those involving cupcakes).
Overall, 58% of companies are planning to increase their digital marketing in 2012, and of these, 52% plan increases of at least 20%.
Despite the impressive growth rate, there's still a long way to go, as beyond restricted budgets, company culture, reliance on traditional marketing and the lack of skills are holding back marketers from making the most of the digital opportunities in the region.
In addition, the inability to measure return on investment is thought to be a barrier by 28% of marketers this year, up from 19% in the 2011 survey.
The research highlights that the rise of cross-channel marketing is helping to fuel growth in the email marketing industry. Rather than operating in its own silo, email is now seen as an essential component of a wider campaign. Thanks to the rise of mobile, email is now everywhere, accessible anywhere, at any time and at any location.
The digital divide and the lack of knowledge in the Middle East is a major barrier to investing in online marketing, according to Econsultancy research published in April this year.
In Econsultancy's State of Digital in MENA Report, some 20% of client-side companies and 42% of agencies said that a lack of understanding about online is preventing their organisation from investing more money in digital.
As further evidence, last year, Shaik Umar, Middle East Head for IDA Singapore, reported that the digital divide and lack of skilled talent are the main problems plaguing the Gulf's IT industry. Part of the reason for the lack of skills is the smaller population of the Gulf compared to other regions.
So, what can companies do to plug the gap and make the most of online marketing?
Econsultancy and LBi / bigmouthmedia have launched the 2011 State of Social Media survey, which aims to benchmark trends and levels of spending within the market.
As with similar studies published in 2009 and 2010, the research is based on a survey of client-side marketers and in-house PR professionals, as well as agencies, consultants and other specialists working in the social media arena.
More than 600 companies have already completed the survey since Friday, a great response which shows that interest in this topic shows no sign of abating.