UM MENA releases media trends report 2016

UM MENA has released a 2016 media trends report, NEXT THING NOW, for the region. Set to become an annual fixture, the report highlights yearly trends specific to the MENA region and UM’s view of where the market is heading towards on various themes in the industry. Written by UM MENA’s media specialists, the report also features input from professionals at Coca-Cola, Google, DMS and Yahoo! It will be distributed to UM MENA clients and publishing partners around the region and will also be available online through the agency’s website by Q2 of this year.

“The report echoes the views of our media experts at UM as well as the direction in which our company is heading in the coming years when it comes to media planning and marketing solutions for our clients,” says Chris Skinner, CEO, UM MENA. “There is a definite shift in the industry but by thinking forward and adapting our approach to the future trends we can achieve maximum impact and ROI. NEXT THING NOW will provide you with necessary insights and the way forward for you as a marketer and a media professional.”

Dubai Lynx names 2016 jury

 The Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity has named the 56 international jurors set to judge entries from across the Middle East and North Africa region at the 10th Dubai Lynx. The panel includes; Daniel Andrade, Group Creative Director, EMEA, The Zoo, Google, EMEA; Russel Place, Managing Director, UM, UK and Nick Emery, Global CEO, Mindshare, Global and will convene to appraise over 2,000 entries and determine winners of the coveted Lynx trophies, which will be presented at an awards ceremony on March 9, 2016.

More information and the full list of jurors can be found at

Google to be managed by Alphabet

Google has formed a new parent company, Alphabet, which will be operated by Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The newly developed business model will see Alphabet managing a number of companies including Google, Life Sciences and Calico, while Google will now be headed up by new CEO Sundar Pichai – formerly the company’s Vice President of Product Management.

Alphabet’s structure will also include X Lab, a venture incubating new efforts such as Wing and a drone delivery service, and Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity, meaning that all shares in Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares in Alphabet.

Google revamps DoubleClick

Google has undergone a complete revamp of its DoubleClick Verification to help marketers protect their brands, budgets and give advertisers more control over where their ads appear online. Originally launched by Google in 2012, DoubleClick Verification integrated into the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform as a natural extension of campaign workflow, protecting brands and giving advertisers more confidence with their digital investment.

In Google’s official blog post, a number of features have been added and updated to DoubleClick Verification, including –

  • Ad blocking: There are several features Google has been working on surrounding ad blocking. Advertisers can now add to the pre-built set of exclusion lists and create custom categories known as Custom classifiers. This goes beyond just giving insight into where your ads appear, but allows you to specify where you do or do not want them to be served.
  • Spam filtering: Google has revealed updated spam filtering and fraud protection, made possible in part by its acquisition of fraud monitoring and analysis firm earlier this year. Google has updated spam filtering with pre- and post-bid filtering capabilities, which aids in avoiding the purchase of fraudulent impressions and automatically purging fraudulent impressions from reporting and billing.
  • Targeting content with Digital Content Labels: As with movie ratings, Google is implementing a digital ratings classification according to the brand safety of the content across all Google advertising products; this includes DoubleClick, YouTube, GDN and AdMob. Advertisers can target inventory in DoubleClick Bid Manager with labels that range from ‘DL-G’ – content suitable for general audiences, to ‘DL-MA’ – content suitable for mature audiences.

The update of DoubleClick Verification has been implemented at a time in which the success of digital marketing is based heavily on messages reaching an audience as intended, and ensuring that advertisers’ strategies are executed in the way that they are planned and paid for.

Google tests ad-free subscriptions

Google has launched a new service, which allows users the option to pay to prevent advertisements appearing on sites. Known as the Google Contributor, it enables users to subscribe as little as one (US) dollar per month to avoid ads popping up whilst browsing online.

Users can choose to subscribe between $1 and $3 each month to remove all Google-served ads on participating websites, though any third-party advertising on select sites will remain. The ads are then replaced with a small message, which thanks the user for being a contributor, and the space is filled instead with a pixelated pattern. On mobile devices, there is an option to have them removed entirely.

The Google Contributor service is beginning with 10 publishing partners, including Imgur, WikiHow, Mashable and Science Daily.

Integral-OMG publishes paper on mobile devices

Integral-OMG, the research arm of Omnicom Media Group MENA, has partnered with specialist digital marketing agency Resolution and Google to produce a comprehensive mobile white paper, ‘Upward Mobility: Reflecting on the Growth of Mobile in MENA.’

Integral-OMG’s research shows that an average smartphone user in the region currently spends upwards of four hours per day on these devices. Google reports that consumers in the UAE have an average of three internet-enabled devices and that mobile devices account for 50 percent of YouTube viewership in Saudi Arabia. Advertisers are regarding it more and more as a valuable medium with plans for greater investments; by 2020, Omnicom Media Group estimates that 58 percent of all digital investments in the region will be on mobile.

‘Upward Mobility’ provides further insights on consumer behavior around the device, the emergence of the second screen in television consumption and the rise of the mobile transactions in the region. While there is a lag, both globally and regionally, between users’ adoption of the medium and that of advertisers and publishers, this gap is being bridged over time. The paper outlines what changes need to take place for all parties to realise the full potential of this ubiquitous platform.

“Our latest white paper takes a closer look at the state of mobile in the region and analyses the implications on the communications industry,” says Ziad Skaff, Regional Executive Director – Research and Insights, Omnicom Media Group MENA. “It not only goes beyond the top-line penetration and usage figures, but also explores the behaviours of users, advertisers and publishers. Mobile devices will continue to transform the way we target and communicate with consumers. In order to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the media, the mindset of the industry has to similarly evolve.”

Wassim Kabbara, Head of E-commerce, Retail and Local at Google MENA adds, “The region has one of the highest number of smartphone users in the world. With more than half of search queries and YouTube views coming from mobile, and 90 percent of users who are online daily on their devices, the opportunities are endless. One of our top priorities in MENA is to help businesses become mobile leaders in their own right, offer best practices and help them innovate through this medium beyond just advertising.”

Google launches new tool for display ad targeting

Google has released custom affinity audiences – which aims to give advertisers more flexibility in targeting users based on their interests across the Google display network. This builds on from the affinity audience segments which Google launched in 2013, allowing advertisers to target users across 80 set interests and demographics reflected by the individual’s search and site behaviour. While the new Custom Affinity Audiences will still utilise Google’s interest data, advertisers will now be able to take control of their target advertising by creating their own segments, as opposed to selecting from a pre–defined set of audiences.

Additionally, until now advertisers have had to work directly with a Google rep to create a custom segment. With the release of this new tool, advertisers will be able to build custom affinity audiences themselves in AdWords. When setting up custom affinity audiences in AdWords, advertisers can mix interest segments with sites related to those interests, and Google will provide reach estimates broken down by demographics and top interests.

Mondelez International signs video deal with Google

Mondelēz International, the candy giant whose brands include Oreo, Trident, Nabisco and Cadbury, has signed a global partnership with Google focusing on online video. In the company’s largest social media deal to date, the agreement will include markets in North America, Europe and Eastern Europe, as well as Latin America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

The deal marks a shift in advertising strategy for Mondelēz International as it moves to digital – specifically to online video. In June of this year, the company announced that half of its $200 million a year global marketing budget would be going to digital by 2016, and has already committed 10 percent of its ad budget to online video as of this year.

“We believe video will be a key growth driver for our brands, and programmatic buying will play an important role in accelerating that growth,” says Bonin Bough, Vice President – Global Media and Consumer Engagement, Mondelēz International. “Today, 58 percent of consumers turn to digital platforms for their daily media consumption. Although we’ve adjusted our media spending to reflect that behaviour, there’s still a gap. The deal with Google will enable us to close that digital divide.”

Mondelēz International and Google are also set to partner on new content through YouTube’s Brand Partner Program. Mondelēz will introduce the approach by providing video content featuring Sour Patch Kids candy in the US, and is considering expanding the approach across other brands and locations if this proves successful.

Lucas Watson, Vice President of Global Brand Solutions at Google adds, “We’re inspired by the caliber of creative work that brands are creating on YouTube. This agreement represents a significant commitment for our companies to accelerate digital brand building, and we’re excited to partner with Mondelēz International on this work.”

YouTube to invest in top content creators

YouTube is to fund content from its most successful creators as part of a global campaign to promote creativity on the network. In a blog post published by the Google-owned platform, YouTube revealed that it will expand support of creative content like Bethany Mota and Epic Rap Battles of History with full-scale marketing and advertising campaigns.

“We’ve seen the fidelity of our videos evolve from the grainy footage of webcams to the crystal clear beauty of 4K,” says Alex Cross, Head of YouTube Originals. “We’ve seen teenagers who began by blogging in their bedrooms emerge as media heavyweights, with passionate followings and shows that draw more fans than similar shows on cable TV… As any creator will tell you, making compelling new content isn’t easy, and we expect to learn a lot through this process. We’ll get our hands dirty. We’ll make some mistakes. Together, we’ll hopefully create some fantastic new content on YouTube. But one thing is certain: there’s no one we’d rather go on this adventure with than our creators.”

YouTube has already increased production support for its top content creators with YouTube Spaces in L.A., Tokyo and London, offering free access to the latest equipment, sets and support, and will soon be launching an additional Space in New York.