Google team arrives to talk AdWords

Google launches regional team to drive online advertising in the region

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By  Matthew Wade Published  November 13, 2007

Google's newly formed Dubai team met with press and UAE companies today to outline its vision and explain the business benefits of the firm's AdWords internet advertising system.

Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which in Google terms is referred to as ‘region 4', is now firmly into the "S part" of "the hockey stick shaped technology adoption curve," according to Mohammad Gawdat, Google's managing director for emerging markets in these regions.

Broadband internet penetration is very much on the rise for example, he stated, and Google itself recorded a whopping increase in search queries of 77% between Q2 of 2006 and Q2 this year.

"It is just starting here, the awareness both of Google and the awareness of online," Gawdat explained today. "You have early adopters who are really doing well and understand the opportunities, but the majority today are not online - from a marketing point of view - and in the case of many small businesses here, not online at all. Internet take-up was slow here early on, but with government support and lots of changes over the past two or three years, you can now see the penetration numbers doubling and trebling. This is driving the next wave, which is utilising the internet for business."

In an effort to boost this trend and in the process its AdWords business in the region, Google's team spent several hours today detailing the firm's Google AdWords advertising system to staff from some of the UAE's largest firms, including Coca Cola and Emirates Airlines.

"We're talking about what's in it for a small or medium sized company, to be able to advertise on such a small budget to such a highly targeted customer base," Gawdat elaborated. "How for example we can help a travel company in Dubai to advertise better to customers in the UK."

The Google AdWords system allows businesses of any size to create contextual, text-based advertisements that then appear in the sponsored link sections of Google search result pages and, if required, also on Google's partner engines and content sites.

AdWords' Pay Per Click (PPC) model sees customers agree a PPC sum, which they pay when a web surfer ‘clicks' on one of their keyword-based adverts (driving the surfer to their own website). According to Gawdat, less than 1% of the ad spend today in the MEA region is spent online.

Google is initially basing three members of staff in Dubai. This team is in the process of setting up an office here, led by Gawdat, however he was quick to stress that this office isn't to be viewed as a ‘regional' headquarters in the traditional sense.

"We don't use the terminology of having a ‘headquarters' here. That's not how we work. We're based across the region, as there are also many people serving our Arabic technologies that aren't necessarily based here," he said.

Arabic language products and services are a key focus for Google, Gawdat added. "Arabic is definitely a focus for us; it's key in this region obviously, and Eric Schmidt himself (Google's chairman and CEO), has confirmed that it's a key area."

"There are 350 million people in the region we need to serve better," Gawdat continued. "We're not interested in hiring sales people; we're interested in helping the early customers that want to jump in. We'll have people on the ground to help those customers yes, but the main mission is to get it right. We want to make our products are even better, and with them serve more peoples' needs."

3558 days ago
Andrew

The whole process of change needs to be instigated in Dubai and other Middle East countries, as hardly anyone uses credit cards online, or has them at all. This will change, but advertisers will want to know that their bucks are being spent in the right medium. It will be a an easy choice for early adopters though as competition for keywords would be low Id guess.

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