Making friends with Facebook
Middle East brands are slowing starting to embrace the benefits of social media.
February 25, 2010 1:06 by Aarti Nagraj
Other brands in the region are also spooked away by the “uncensored and uncontrolled” nature of social media platforms, says Tuqan. “Living and working in a very sensitive part of the world, brands are very cautious about how they address these things,” he says. Many brands are also unwilling to accept negative reactions they may receive in these public spaces.
And while marketing through social media networks certainly builds brand awareness, its direct impact on sales is hard to measure. “It’s very easy to measure things from a brand engagement point of view. It’s very easy for a brand manager to say – ‘how many people clicked on this’, ‘how many people responded to this offer’, etc,” says Tuqan. “But it’s a bit more difficult to measure from a sales point of view. And that’s what many marketing managers are struggling with in the region,” he says.
All these reasons could probably explain why online advertising spend in the region amounts to only between 1 and 2 percent of the total advertising expenditure in the region.
But things will probably change in the future, says Metaxas. “I don’t believe that this [social media marketing] is the destiny of advertising. But I do think that what it will do is relegate advertisings’ importance somewhat than what it was historically. Advertising will still have a role and social media will now become an additional strategy that you see companies typically employ in a brand,” he says.
And as social media marketing becomes more popular, it will probably start getting more friends, and may soon start enjoying more financial benefits.