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Ramadan is the busiest advertising season of the year and advertising platforms, as well as brand marketing teams, know that high quality content, that really engages, can influence buying decisions for the rest of the year. Ipsos MENA research in 2017 showed that the average cost per television ad spot rose by 180% during Ramadan in the MENA region, YouTube viewership rises and during the weeks that follow users frequently click onto YouTube with the specific intention of watching Ramadan ads. In fact, the evidence shows that viewers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt prefer watching YouTube adverts to TV.
Ramadan may be a lucrative time for marketing; however, launching a marketing campaign during Ramadan can also be more expensive than at other times of year, particularly for brands that use conventional advertising streams such as TV. With Ramadan just over a month away, it’s time to start putting plans in place for your marketing campaign.
The key to a successful Ramadan marketing campaign needs more than just creating a standout television or YouTube advertisement. It is in the creation of a comprehensive, well-rounded strategy informed by genuine consumer data and enhanced with creative ideas. Moreover, a comprehensive campaign must be applicable across a range of platforms; from the conventional advertising spaces to Facebook and Instagram. It’s vital to incorporate the newer features of social media marketing — such as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories.
With that done, a brand must put effective systems in place to assess the success of their campaign. Because no matter what happens this year, you can learn from what works — and what doesn’t — to ensure that your next Ramadan campaign is even better.
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Who is Your Audience?
The knowledge that beauty industry consumers are more likely to watch adverts on YouTube during and after Ramadan is not enough. You need to know what they most like to watch. Data mining and Google insight generation suggest that cooking videos on YouTube peak in the month before Ramadan, and searches for recipes are 50% higher than the annual average. Once Ramadan begins, video completion rates on YouTube increase — meaning that consumers watch to the end rather than stopping part way through a video. Moreover, after Ramadan, searches for hotels and air travel increase by around 25%.
But what does that mean for beauty brands? Marketing campaigns that pull on the specific increased interest in food and travel during and after Ramadan will have a heightened opportunity for success, along with campaigns that focus on the philosophies of Ramadan itself. In 2017, Pantene collaborated with Downy and Grey Group Indonesia to create a well-received Ramadan campaign focused on the notion of forgiveness.
However, brands must be careful to approach Ramadan campaigns with cultural awareness and sensitivity. In 2018, MAC Cosmetics was mocked for its inaccurate portrayal of Ramadan traditions during a makeup marketing campaign.
Embrace Creativity and Video Engagement
In the current consumer market, personal connections are incredibly important to the success of beauty brand marketing. Existing and potential clients want to feel involved with a brand; they want to believe in it, to see its authenticity and good intentions, and they want to put their money into a brand that makes them feel welcomed and important.
This is particularly important during Ramadan because consumers are more digitally tuned-in than at other times during the year. There are more YouTube views and more searches. So a brand can use creativity and the expression of authenticity — particularly on YouTube — to engage with this audience. MakeUp Forever, for example, used storytelling as an effective marketing tool in its all-star Ramadan YouTube series, connecting with the market through narrative and celebration.
Smartphone use increases significantly during Ramadan, with smartphone internet usage in the UAE rising to 94% and to 98% in Saudi Arabia. This means that making your brand’s marketing efforts seamless on smartphone devices as well as desktop, tablet and television, is paramount. We have mentioned YouTube a number of times already and, because it works across all of these devices as well as because it’s the largest ad-supported platform online, embracing the power and potential of YouTube for Ramadan marketing can have a huge impact on conversion rates.
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Analysis of the success of a video campaign on YouTube can be measured easily using the key metrics in the WAVE structure:
- Watchtime. YouTube viewership rises during Ramadan in contrast with TV overall, which drops viewership.
- Audibility. Video ads require a blend of audio and visual — because without audio, the strength of the message is weakened. 95% of YouTube adverts are audible.
- Viewability. Of course, video ads do not work if they are not viewed. YouTube ads beat industry averages for viewability.
- Engagement. For impact, video ads have to be delivered to users at opportune moments: when they are paying attention, and when the message in the ad is relevant to the user at that point in time.
YouTube covers all the bases for an effective Ramadan video marketing strategy. The opportunities for connection extend beyond the end of the ad too, as users are far more likely to engage actively in video comment sections than they are to publicly discuss a conventional television ad.
Focused And Sensitive
Winning marketing campaigns are rooted in winning products. Beauty brands must remain aware of the cultural and religious importance of this time and take steps to ensure that they do not alienate consumers through their Ramadan campaigns. Sabiha Ansari, co-founder of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, praises cosmetics company, Inglot, for its nail polish; developed to be breathable and water-permeable and abiding by the protocol that prevents Muslim women from adorning their hands during prayer.
With focus, cultural sensitivity and effective strategy, beauty brands can enhance their sales and increase their loyal consumer base by making the most of this rich marketing period each year.