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Online ad spend set to grow by up to 35% in 2009

New Mideast study shows predicted shift to web advertising amid tightening of budgets.

Regional spending on online advertising is expected to grow by 25-35 percent as a result of the downturn, according to a study released on Thursday.

The region will witness a greater shift from print to online advertising as budgets are slashed, according to “Game Not Over”, a report by global management consultant firm, Booz & Company.

“Online advertising is cheaper compared to other mediums such as television and print and is far more targeted. It offers better investment and a better return,” Gabriel Chahine, a partner at Booz & Company told Arabian Business.

Online advertising spending in the GCC-Levant countries remains below 1 percent of the total globally, according to Madar Research.

According to the report, around 90 percent of marketers are focused on campaigns that are cross-platform and inclusive of digital media while 80 percent believe insights into consumer’s digital behaviour will become more important to their brands.

Growth of online advertising, however, is hampered in the Middle East, by a lack of supply of regional products, said Chahine.

“Popular online offerings [in the Middle East] are Google, Yahoo and Facebook which are still taking the top spots in terms of audience. We still do not have a compelling offering in the online space.

“We need the media players who are in traditional media to create new digital brands across key offerings such as sports, music and games,” he said.

Just 25 percent of marketers consider themselves savvy enough to capitalise on opportunities in online advertising, said the report.

Key concerns include the efficacy of digital metrics, the need for greater education and new models so they can build a more effective advertising presence online said the report.