A study carried on the habits of Middle Eastern smartphone users and the apps that they use found that there is a market that is waiting to be targeted with more localized mobile advertising. The study involved more than 4,000 smartphone users and it was conducted through their phones and it gave an insight into what they are accessing, the apps that they use and the content that they view.

One of the findings of the study showed that consumers are looking for the information they need by browsing mobile sites and apps prior to making any purchases of products or services. This is a sign that consumer brands have to think about their marketing strategy and the way in which their brand is perceived. Middle Easters consumers are looking at additional content on their smartphone and this is enabling them to make informed decisions while they are on the move – a benefit that they are taking full advantage of. The study also found that smartphone users are using mobile internet for a number of reasons such as reading the news, browsing social networks and accessing emails along with making purchases.


Users have the choice of browsing mobile apps or browsing websites on their phone and while many users in other countries prefer mobile sites, in Saudi Arabia and the Gufl GCC, it seems as though there is a balance between the two. This could be down to the fact that there is not a huge amount of Arabic content online and this does mean that there a lower number of apps available.

Many Middle Eastern smartphone users still do not have the confidence to make payments online as they often prefer to pay cash when the goods are delivered.

However, the percentage of smartphone users who are willing to make purchases online is still quite significant with 33% of users willing to part with their cash online. In Saudi Arabia, the products available are commonly put into three categories known as Entertainment, Travel and Technology.

Mobile advertising is still in the early stages in this region but the study has found that mobile internet and e-commerce is being embraced. The use of smartphones and improved mobile networks along with generous data plans makes it possible for advertisers to implement marketing strategies and reach out to consumers using a number of platforms such as apps and browsers.

The number of people using smartphones is going to increase and so mobile advertising is going to play a huge part in the way in which mobile marketing and online purchasing grows.

When it comes to advertising in the region, Arabic creatives are experiencing a higher click through rate and that is down

to the fact that many of the ads are not in Arabic and so they click the ad through curiosity.

Many apps will promote global ads which are not relevant and so the relevancy of the ad will improve response rates.

However, in Saudi Arabia, 90% of those involved in the study stated that they prefer Arabic ads.

Hassan Almodallala

Digital Consultant